Taught hate / Taught Love.
Growing up I hated my skin. Not because of the color. I think for a while I blissfully didn’t know I was colored. I had to be taught to hate it. I hated it because of what it made me to society. People were despicable.
My skin made me “Too Dark”. “Ugly”. “Ghetto”. “Undesirable”.
“You’d be prettier if you were lighter”, they’d say.
In sixth grade my crush told me he’d never date a girl who had skin the color of poop.
In eighth grade a stranger told me I needed to start bleaching my skin or else people would never like me.
I hated my skin. My skin made me a “thug”, and “uneducated”, and a “freeloader”, and a “monkey”. These are REAL THINGS people said to me and about me.
I had to be taught to Love my skin.
My parents taught me first. Told me there was nothing wrong with me and that my skin was beautiful. They taught me about Jesus. They taught me about His Love that transcends any color line. They taught me that I was made in His image, and that I, and all my blackness, am a reflection of his glory. They taught me that people, trapped by their own ignorance in the malicious hands of sin and hatred, had twisted His words to justify their injustices. And then my parents made sure to teach me about the FEARLESS activists who demanded, in the midst of bigotry and opposition, to be valued and dignified. Heroes like Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, Angela Davis, W.E.B Du Bois, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Stokley Carmichael, and the GREAT Martin Luther King Jr. I am thankful for the brave many who warred in a time of deep oppression to make America a place that truly offers Liberty and Justice For All.
Sadly, the war is not yet won.
People used the very same language I quoted to speak about minorities JUST LAST YEAR. Bigotry lives on. But we can be the generation to end it. We can end it by choosing to Love. Choosing Love over political opinions. Love in spite of physical differences. Love in place of anger. We have to be the generation that WILL NOT remain silent when the demonic voices of hatred are roaring for calamity. We have to stand FIRM when the enemy demands that we lay aside our compassion. The mandate to Love is not a Christian one, it’s a human one. But as Christians we are called to a greater love because we know THE GREATEST love. And this great love we know of loves us beyond anything we’ve said, done, attempted, or failed at.
We must be the leading force of love, it’s very breath, in our broken world.
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.