Racism: Understanding and A Different Perspective
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
My best friend and closest brother is a black man. We’ve been best friends for 10 years and share our deepest and sometimes darkest sins and confidences with one another. We pray together and sharpen each other. He grew up in inner city Cleveland and is the same age as my son. So here we are, a generation apart in age and yet he has taught me so much, especially about racism and more to the matter…acceptance. Acceptance of those who are not only of another skin color but of different nationalities, customs, and beliefs. As a Catholic kid growing up on the southside of Chicago in the 50’s and 60’s, I never really thought about racism and it didn’t really affect me until I was about 11. Our neighborhood which was all white began having black families move in. The people in our neighborhood didn’t accept them; rather, everyone (including my parents) put their homes up for sale and moved out. Just ran away. No acceptance. Why? They were black. The people in our neighborhood were Irish, Italian, Polish, Lithuanian and probably others however, they were all white.
My friend and I have talked about this and I came to realize that even though we are best friends there was a time in our friendship when I came to realize that deep down, I had certain preconceived notions and opinions about black people and quite frankly all others different than myself. I had to seek God’s forgiveness and as I learned more of my friend’s background, I came to realize that ignorance and fear shape our opinions and more importantly our perspectives.
So, what changed for me? Getting to know my brother, his wife, and his family better and spending more time with him. Breaking bread together, praying with him and drawing close to him. There is no one whose opinion I respect more than my friends.
Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly , but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
My friend took me to the hospital when dealing with a stroke, and he and his family stayed close when my son died and was there when we buried my son in DC. We are close to this day and often sit on our patios, cigars in hand discussing God and His plans for us and our families and how we put our faith into action.
Today’s Question: Ask yourself, “do my actions as a Kingdom Man reflect accepting and embracing my brother no matter what the color of his skin?
Am I taking the time to get to know my brother and thereby eliminating fear and ignorance about racism in my life?