I remember seeing a car bumper sticker that read, “Eracism.” At first I didn’t get it, but then after some thought, I realized that the driver of the car was promoting the “erasing” or “eradication” of racism that is prevalent in America and across the world.
Racism is not just limited to the majority. There are people in the minority that have ill prejudices towards the majority as well.
When I read what happened with Michael Richards (the guy who played Kramer on Seinfeld), it made me think. I realized that no matter how much progress we have made in the area of tolerance and acceptance towards people of other ethnicities, there are still prejudices in all of us that are deeply rooted.
At the expense of offending some people, I will say that there are some people from the “lighter hue” who will NEVER fully understand what it feels like to be a minority in this world, especially in America. They do not fully understand the “white privilege” they daily experience… where they can walk into a store or a place and not be looked upon as being “different.” In these situations, it is very hard to really address or even discover if there is racism in our hearts.
The only way people from the “lighter hue” can experience what millions of minorities go through is by being placed in a situation where they are now the minority. There is something about placing ourselves in someone else’s shoes that will illuminate things in our hearts.
I put all this in context of our church.
The Caucasian people who are the “minority’ in our church are slowly beginning to understand what many of the minorities go through on a daily basis. It is not easy being part of the majority most of the time throughout the week and then come to several meetings within our church and feel like a minority. In fact, it takes really special people to be able to over look all their uncomfortability and insecurities and still commit to our church. I am wondering if the people of the majority need to experience situations like this to really see things for what they are.
I don’t even have time to address what the Latinos and African-American feel because they are the minority both in the world and in our church.
On the flip side, the Asians, who are the majority in our church, are left with the challenge. How will we respond? We know what it feels like to be in the minority position but now we are experiencing the “privileged” majority position. To those much is given, much is expected. Maybe this is why I demand more and expect more from the Asians in our church.
To the people of the lighter hue in our church, I just want to say that you encourage me. I pray that God will use you to be a bridge to many of the Caucasians in this world. Do be afraid to put your white friends in uncomfortable situations so that the real issues can come out.
To the people of the darker hue in our church (Latinos and African-Americans), I just want to say that you inspire me. I will never fully understand what it feels like to be the minority in both worlds. It must stink. Don’t give up… you guys are making the vision a reality.
To the people of the yellow hue, I just want to say that you and I have a great responsibility. For such a time as this, may we be the ones who will sacrifice and lay down our preferences and comfortableness to do what we know is right.
The saga to build a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural church continues…