#PsalmistPheatures · race relations · racial reconciliation · series

The Words on My Skin: Part 1.

“From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. “

James 3:10

“You’re not good enough!”

I’m sorry that we’re the standard of beauty.”

“I won’t apologize for my privilege.”

“White girls are better!”

“Your skin is dirt; it looks like dirt.”

“It’s too dark, I can’t see you, hahaha.”

“You don’t like dogs do you, Kayla?”

“I know y’all’s hair doesn’t grow.”

“He didn’t get that scholarship because he’s white.”

“Keep that hairstyle so we know who you are.”

“You couldn’t be mixed… mixed with what?”

“You can’t post that on your Facebook… well can’t you call it something else? “White privilege” just turns people off… You’re an ambassador of ____ and we don’t want to offend people.”

“Is that weave?”

“You’re so articulate, why couldn’t you have just said it like that before?”

“I’m a black woman on the inside.”

“People voted for Obama because he was black.”

“There are other things to focus on…”

“Intentionally controversial titles such as “The White Man’s Bible”… do nothing to improve race relations.”

“You can’t name your daughter that, that name’s too white.”

“White guys? Really???”

“You’re not as much of an oreo as ________. You’re maybe second or third on the list.

“Oh, so you’re the person I talked to on the phone?!”

“Don’t get pregnant.”

“He acts like such a wigger!”

“Why do y’all spend so much time and money on your hair? Beauty shops are so expensive.”

“Well you know black people are violent.”

“You need a real degree.”

“Kayla is ghetto!”

“Not to be racist, I just really don’t like black guys.”

“You’re not really black… I mean, you’re Kayla. You’re your own race.”

“Do me like this. Come up and grab me like she does!”

Sex trafficking is very real in America at the moment… more people enslaved by it. This is current. This is real and happening as we speak… I don’t believe that we can fix any other situations based on the fact that we keep looking into the past.”

If the words we spoke appeared on our skin, would we be careful with our tongues?

Friends. Teammates. Coaches. Pastors. Friends of friends. Parents of friends. Random Facebook friends. Mentors. People who work in the mission field.
A leader in the church, once said she refused to hire anyone with stereotypical ghetto names— she’d just throw out the application. Black spouse. Mixed race church. Racial profiling. Another leader in jest said that she almost couldn’t believe my writing was mine and joked that she thought it must be plagiarism.
Repentance matters, but it certainly doesn’t always remedy the damage instantly. And if we keep “repenting” and don’t change our hearts, what happens then?
My lips, my hair, my voice, my skintone, my talents— everything about me has been subject to scrutiny. My friend once sent me a meme with a woman wearing a bonnet… the caption was about how your husband couldn’t run his fingers through your hair at night. It’s funny because it’s true, my hair is too thick and curly for alladat. 😂
Anyway, a lot of these quotes have been spoken directly to me. Some of them have been spoken to my mom and sister and sometimes groups of people. Remember, words are just the tip of the iceberg— actions speak far louder and boy— do I have stories and stories to tell. My point here is not to victimize myself or to villainize others, but to expose a very real reality. Every quote above except three was said by either someone in church, in the mission field, or in church leadership and every last one of them was Caucasian. Maybe you don’t find some of these offensive and few of them were said in jest, but man… If I could provide total context. Don’t worry, this is just part one… 😉
I think that, without being honest and acknowledging a wound, there can be no healing. You cannot provide a solution to an unknown or ignored problem. First comes diagnosis, then comes the treatment and if I can pen my psalms, I can inspire someone else. I may talk about race relations a lot, but trust me, I don’t know how to go about it at all, here’s trying.

Prejudice and Double Standards.

Most of these things were said to me by people who couldn’t have identified a double standard if it introduced itself by name. The things that they could do were not suitable for me and the things I wasn’t doing were assumed of me, stereotyped, if you will. Of course the assumed things were bad things. All said to me by good ol’ church folk.

I can’t offer a solution for prejudice outside of the Gospel. I can’t sit here and pretend that I have all the answers. The thing I know most is the Gospel transforms hearts and if the Gospel hasn’t transformed you in years— maybe you need to question why.
They say young people are impressionable and for a while— these experiences were like tattoos on my skin.
I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know how people can hear God’s word and even preach of His love yet remain so devoid of it. This Good Word convicts.

The Effect.

In places where I expected acceptance, I received rejection. In places where I needed encouragement and reassurance, I found criticism. Where I thought there’d be equality, I found myself being deemed “not good enough.” I share this for my own healing and because I know some other little brown children have faced similar experiences. Let’s create dialog. I want us to be able to openly talk about these things.
Now, have there been good times? Absolutely. But these bad times became a skeleton in the closet and it’s time to bring it to light. There were many good times, but I’ve never felt so unprotected in my life. Learning to love is hard as it goes against our (sin) nature, but we gotta remember— we’ve been given a new nature. More about that will be covered in the next installment.
I know this feels pretty gloomy right now, but… have you read David’s psalms? My mom says her favorite thing about my writing is that even in the midst of a deep uncomfortable story— I always have an edge of hope. I hope you find that while reading my posts too. Sometimes hope is extremely elusive and shrouded in doubt— that’s okay. The light of hope shines even in darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

“Okay… I’m racist and/or prejudice. What can I do to change?”

God longs for reconciliation and there’s someone who can explain this a lot better than I can…
Please welcome Passion’e Shantel of ‘Pride & Our Prejudice’! Here’s an excerpt from her blog post on how to take steps towards racial reconciliation. So, ladies and gents, grab a notebook and pen ’cause here we go!

HERES WHAT I KNOW
Pride keeps us from honestly seeing ourselves, from seeing our hearts and what’s hiding in it. Pride is immediately denying being prejudice or racism without thoughtfully considering it. It’s the immediate jump to protect ourselves from being labeled, but that doesn’t protect us, it blinds us. For the longest time anytime I spoke of white people my friend would say “Passion’e you don’t like white people.” I would laugh and say “No, I just don’t like racist white people.” but I never stopped to examine the words that would come out my mouth and the thoughts I would let linger too long. Of course, all white people aren’t racist, but my experiences and the experiences of black and brown have to lead me to believe most white people aren’t to be trusted. The problem with that ideology is that it keeps me from loving the way God has called us to love. We become merciless, void of grace and less compassionate when we find a way to “other” people because then we can separate their humanity from ours. So then instead of being used as an agent of healing in someone’s life, you serve as a provoker of pride, pain, and ignorance.

CONSIDER THE POSSIBILITY
that you might be prejudice and/or racist. Don’t run from it, humble yourself and let God search you. We are all human which means we are prone to sin. Sin includes being prejudice and racist. If we understand our need to go before God about our issues with lust, jealousy, and pride, etc. then we must realize that this is an area we have to go to God about.

Questions to ask God (this is not exclusive to race):
1. Is there a group of people I have become prejudice/ racist towards?
2. Why do I feel this way towards them?
3. How has this impacted my relationship with myself, You and others?
4. Have I harbored any feelings towards an entire group of people because of personal experiences?

Even if you think this doesn’t apply to you do it and see what God says. This may lead to you realizing you do struggle with racism and/ or being prejudice. You may need to forgive some people; you may need to repent to God and specific people for how you’ve treated as a result of your prejudice. Or form relationships with people you naturally overlook. God may unearth lies you believe about race ( anything really), yourself and even Him.
I BELIEVE
that God is in the business of healing people but to do that we have to be honest about what we believe. As believers, we must humble ourselves so that God can do what needs to be done. It’s time out for hiding, for festering in this sin, we are facilitators of healing, but we must first go on our own healing journey. This is not a one-time prayer, its something you have to walk out every single day because that is true repentance. We are being called to love; I hope you will answer it.
Love,
Passion’e.

Links for more goodies:
Passion’e’s blog.
Passion’e’s Instagram.

Further reading:
‘3 Days of God’s Justice’
‘Ignorance is Privilege.’
‘Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter.’
‘The Amos 524 Project.’

I’d love some feedback and if you have any questions, prayer requests or maybe have something to say— contact me here!

Also,

If you think you have something to contribute to this series then click that link above.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
Proverbs 18:21

SustainHeWhoIsWeary
This picture was made by the founder of ‘For the Praying Woman’, the lovely Christella. Check out her blog here!

I hope you enjoyed reading, but more than that I pray and hope that you have been touched. I’d be overjoyed to see you guys taking notes and writing down your answers to the questions presented. If you want me to see them— take a pic and tag me on Instagram. You can use my hashtag #ThePsalmistsPassion. Comment, let me know what you think and remember: “We can not pray in love and live in hate and still think we are worshipping the same God.” – A.W. Tozer. 1 John 4:20 said it first. 😉
Let’s make the world a little less broken, one post, one comment, one share at a time. They’ll know us by our love.<3<3<3

All the love xx

  • Kayla
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