I was once told by an African-American friend that I was naive. We were having a conversation of the racism that still exists and how I seemed completely ignorant to its modern day occurrence. That conversation was about 10 years ago and I am realizing how true his description of me was. However, fortunately (or possibly unfortunately), my naivety is growing less and less by the day.
I was born and raised in the north in Boston; from there I moved to Florida, which is only the South by geographical location. Now living in Thomasville, Alabama (say it with a southern drawl), I am well aware, often too aware, of the racial divide that still exists today. By no means am I saying this is the only place with a racial divide, but this is my only current point of reference. There are 2 funeral homes; one for the whites and one for the blacks. The churches are also divided by race. No, it is not to say that there is never any overlap considering Jake and I are members of a “white church”, but for the most part, races keep to themselves in this town.
When Jake started school, the kids teased him because they did not know what he was. Considering the kids are mostly either white or black, someone of Jake’s complexion was foreign to them. Jake was called Indian, Asian, even Mexican. He was quite frustrated at the beginning, but the teasing has since subsided…I hope.
It shocks and truly irritates me when someone is described by their race. Obviously, those are descriptive words and are often used only as descriptive words, but instead of the saying “the black women working in the nursery”, could it just be “the women or ladies working in the nursery”? Or the “white” male cop. We can describe people with something other than race. Why does it matter what their race is? I know it is insignificant to most people, but when I haven’t been exposed to such conversation, the constant use makes me…ok, I will say it, irate!
There are several things that are wonderful about Thomasville and, again, this is not the only town that has a racial divide. Yes, I am well aware of the soap box I am currently on and how I may seem like I am bashing Thomasville, which I am not. Jake and I have been blessed to be welcomed as we have been and have no doubt this is where the Lord has us for the time being. There are several people whose intentions are great and their hearts are even greater, and simply only lack exposure to other cultures.
As the town of Nineveh (in the Bible; Jonah) did not know they were doing wrong, neither do some of the people here. I am far from being a prophet of God or anything of the sort, but I pray as Jonah was used to bring the message of repentance to Nineveh, God would use me. Also I am praying bitterness and resentment does not fill my heart as it did in Jonah’s. After all, that would be me conforming instead of transforming.