If you missed my previous post, Healing the Racial Divide in Jesus, you can read it here.
After reading the news yesterday, and scrolling through my social media feeds about the horrific event in Charlottesville, I really didn’t know what to say.
I am so sorry to the African-American people. I am so sorry to my friends, acquaintances, to those who are strangers, who are my fellow Americans. I am so sorry to those who were killed and injured and I am sorry to their families.
I don’t want to throw out a trite response to the overwhelming injustice that happened this past weekend. But as I was praying about it, I felt the gentle nudge from that Father to just share something from my tiny, Asian-American minority perspective.
I grew up in a very Caucasian area of Pennsylvania in the 80’s and 90’s. I went to a public school district where the majority of students were Caucasian, but there was a definite African-American and Latin-American presence (not a ton, but some…). I was 1 of 3 Asians in my entire class of about 250 students.
There was actually a KKK rally in my hometown when I was growing up. I stayed as far away as possible from the downtown area that day, but I don’t remember ever hearing outrage about it from anyone in my school leading up to that day or afterwards (not a peep from school administrators, teachers, students, or friends).
I got made fun of pretty often in my opinion for being Asian from K-12. Not every day, but usually a few times a month. I was never beat up or anything close, but just rude words were spoken as I would walk down the hallways sometimes. I would be called “chink” or I would be walking past someone and they would pull their eyes back with their fingers trying to make their eyes look “Asian” or I would walk and someone would make some offensive sounds (like they are trying to speak some Asian language).
These things really affected my self-esteem and made me pretty quiet in school, but I am so thankful for God healing me from this pain as I got older. (I do want to mention that I had some very dear friends in school too, and even though I am not in touch with any of them now, their friendship made a big difference in my life. 💕)
This morning, I was scrolling through Instagram and I saw a comment in response to a friend’s picture from Charlottesville. A Caucasian guy responded, “…I hate being white and I hate being American…” I felt so sad that this was his response to what happened this past weekend.
God made him white for a reason, just like He made me Asian for a reason, just like He made the heroic police officer in the (now-famous) picture my friend posted, African-American for a reason.
He made each of us beautiful and in His image. God does NOT make mistakes…EVER.
When I think back to my childhood and teenage years, I realize that the people who hurt me the most were NOT the students who called me “chink” or made chinky eyes or made ridiculous noises at me, I honestly do not even remember who they were.
The people that hurt me the most, were the people who were my “friends,” acquaintances, or classmates that also heard me get made fun of in the hallways or the school bus, but they never said anything. They never stood up for me, they never said sorry afterwards…nothing.
Those are the people that I still remember.
It hurt me because their lack of response always made me wonder,
“Do they think the same thing about me, but they just don’t say anything?”
“Would they also call me a chink behind my back?”
My guess now that I am an adult is NO.
Now that I have more maturity and perspective, I think a lot of those friends, acquaintances, and classmates just didn’t have the courage to say anything at the moment or afterwards.
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
I just want to encourage all of us who don’t know what to say to our grieving African-American friends, co-workers, classmates, etc. to just begin by offering a kind, loving word and give them a chance to share their pain…even if it makes you feel a little uncomfortable because you don’t know what to say in response.
Proverbs 16:24 says,
“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
And if you ever witness injustice happening, no matter how small, instead of bowing your head in shame, instead why don’t you look up and speak out.
Maybe you can sow money into ministries or organizations that are making a difference in racial reconciliation.
Or perhaps you can give money towards someone’s inter-racial adoption. (I know that there is debate among some people questioning whether inter-racial adoptions should even happen, but I strongly believe they should. My husband and I were in the adoption process (for 2 years) several years ago and we felt strongly convicted to open our home to a baby of any ethnicity. We stopped pursuing adoption when the adoption agency that we were using ended up closing down.) In heaven, God’s family is made up of EVERY race, so why can’t we start here on earth?
PLEASE, teach your kids to do these things, so that when they are on the playground or in school, they will have the courage to speak out and defend their classmate or acquaintance or friend.
God has an answer for all things. His answer for the deep racial problems in America cannot be for you to hate yourself, hate others, or to hate America.
His answer is to spread His message of love unto ALL THE WORLD.
Jesus is the foundation of every answer.