8 Comments

  1. Tony Aja

    In an ethno-relative society and church, the qualitative dimensions of those who are different must be explored and affirmed, not just tolerated. I call this a “color sighted” methodology and church life over merely a “color blind” concept where the goal is to see everyone the same and usually from the perspective of those in power. This, in my opinion, negates God’s plan of creating a diverse world where everyone’s particular traits and characteristics are celebrated.

    Reply
    1. Marcia

      Thank you, Tony. Your insights are very helpful. You are correct, usually when we create a generic “every person” it is in the image of the those with the most social power. Ironically, in an effort to be equitable, the colorblind strategy actually erases a person’s humanity more because it denies the truth of their particular experience. And in American culture, there are many, many things that continue to be profoundly affected by race–from economics and housing to health and life-expectancy. Your “color sighted” approach is an important step to not only celebrating differences, but also toward acknowledging the powerful legacy of slavery in this country. Thanks again for reading and commenting. Your words deepen the discussion.
      Peace,
      Marcia

      Reply

  2. Marcia, this wonderfully written piece brings to mind a moment in my parenting that has always caused me to pause. My 3 year old daughter (now almost 20), came home from preschool one September day and attempted to relay a story to me. The story included a discussion of one of her teachers of which there were three. One was Asian, one Caucasian and one was African American. I asked in several ways, without supplying labels, for her description of the teacher because she could not at this early stage of the year remember all their names. I struggled with the effort. I wanted to choose physical features, and my darling daughter was using phrases like, “She wears bright colors.” Or, “She gives me a hug every day.” I was incredibly proud of her that she was not using skin color as her basis for description, but I finally had to say, “Is her skin pale like me, or is it darker?” thereby narrowing it down to two women who gave her hugs every day. I, by asking that question, forced her in a way to say, “Her skin is more brown.” Ugh! How do we as sensitive people in a world of differences leave behind that sensitivity and handle this piece of conversation? I am totally on board with not being “color blind” as the article suggests, but I am still not sure how to be “color sighted” without bringing to it all the hate that has surrounded this issue even now as an adult. As I sponsor women of all backgrounds into my business , I want to be the best mentor I can be for each of them and respect their heritage and uniqueness. This does require a familiarization with culture that has roots in race. Thank you for making me think today!

    Reply
    1. Marcia

      Thank you, Lindy. Your story is a good illustration of some of the dis-ease and confusion we white folks feel around how to navigate race in a respectful, life-giving way. One point Tim Wise makes in his book (which you would appreciate I know) is that studies show that white parents “sparing” their kids conversation about race does not help their children escape the biases in our culture about race. The best thing we can do is to have honest discussions about the history of racism in our culture, including how white people have benefitted from it. Being anti-racist doesn’t happen by accident or by avoidance, it happens when we are intentional and engaged in substantive conversations and relationships. It sounds like that is exactly what you are doing in your business. I’d say continuing to unearth and wonder about your own assumptions and biases in the midst of the stories of others you are hearing and learning from is the best thing you and any of us can do for the world today.
      Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Your honesty enriches the conversation.
      Peace,
      Marcia

      Reply
  3. marie-claude provencher

    Thank you Marcia for this timely piece. I, too, draw from Doctor King’s life. My biggest source of inspiration and energy comes from his letter from the Birmingham jail in which he says: ” I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice”. I am holding this goal of not being a stumbling block.

    Colorblindness makes us blind to understanding different realities. My favorite saying these days comes from the France national football (as in soccer here) team: “Nos différences nous unissent” which translates as “our differences unite us”. That to me is a more inclusive and richer way of living. It is a motto I use while raising my mixed-race family.

    Love and miss you,

    Marie-Claude

    Reply
    1. Marcia

      Thank you, Marie-Claude, your wisdom, experience, and commitment bring a lot to this conversation. You and your family are a source of inspiration for any who seek to be anti-racist! I, too, appreciate the words from Dr. King’s letter. And it so clearly points to where the conversation is today in this country about race. It is not the extreme bigotry that poses us the greatest challenge. Most people see/hear that and recoil and reject it. It is the quiet, stealth ways that racism inhabits the status quo. It takes intentionality not to be a “stumbling block” because there is so much that is really beneath our awareness when we don’t make it our business to excavate.
      Thank you for the ways you help me and so many other keep digging and taking a closer look.
      We miss you all! Je t’aime!
      Peace,
      Marcia

      Reply
  4. Nana Morelli

    Marcia, thank you. Being “brown” and biracial is part of the beautiful fabric of who I am. A friend once assured me she didn’t see color and I told her “but I want you to, I just don’t want you to use it to judge me.” My curly hair, my brown eyes, my brown skin, being female, my age, my tattoo, my piercings are all part of who I am. All or part may be used to describe me, to identify me in a crowd and frankly I love this. Hugs, Nana

    Reply
    1. Marcia

      Dear Nana,
      Thank you for reading and for commenting. You put it so beautifully! Each person’s uniqueness requires us to be attentive to all these aspects of our identity. To try and regard each person as a “generic” individual in order to create a groundwork or framework for honoring them as a full human being seems counter intuitive to me in my own experience. Thank you for adding your testimony to the conversation. It is a blessing!
      Peace,
      Marcia

      Reply

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *