Combat Hate With Love
As a black man, things are still different for me in America. At a young age, I was taught three simple phrases “Yes Sir”, “No Sir” and “Thank You” when talking to a police officer. In college, I had to use these tactics like a pro when my friends and I were pulled over for going 5 miles over the speed limit after coming back from a friend’s house in Colonial Heights, Va. Not only that but the officer was suspicious and told us to get out of the car because he thought that we were carrying drugs and started to search my car. I was 20 years old at the time and I didn’t think to say “I know my rights” but because of the reputation of Colonial Heights for racist encounters like this, I decided not to provoke or make it a big deal. I have forgiven the officer for this a long time ago but the memory of that night is still frustrating. In some weird way, that night was like a right of passage for me as a black man. To be pulled over for the color of my skin. I felt like I joined “secret club” and finally knew what it was like to be black in America. The imprint of that night in my mind still represents one of few I have encountered and that’s why I choose not to tell someone that the world is just, that black actors are being represented at the awards or that “Black Lives Matter” is just a trend…. it’s simply not true.
Racism and prejudice didn’t die in the 60’s when my grandparent’s generation marched for change. It’s still here and alive and sometimes blatantly in the open. It’s frustrating that in 2016, there has to be a protest in order to see more diversity at the Oscars or for the media to show a more positive representation of black life, colleges and people. With the presidential nominees racing to the be the next leader of the free world, I am always curious to see where black people fit into the agenda.
I’m not seeking for black people to be singled out from other minorities. That’s not my point. What I am advocating is for as a generation to fully act upon Dr. King’s dream. Where we as a nation can truly develop genuine friendships with all races and learn from one another and not see color but a human being.
Dr. King famously said that Sunday worship is the most segregated hour in America. For my wife and I, worshiping at a non-denominational church where there is a mixture of all nationalities has been the biggest change in our lives right before being baptised. I would have never thought in a million years that I would be best friends with white people! 🙂
When you worship together, you’re not thinking about yourself. Instead, you’re there to worship God and help each other to grow and love Christ. This is what makes black history month all the more important this year for me. That I am one of many who have decided to truly seek out not seeing color but instead seeing the beautiful person and God’s image on their face.