This message is about how racism has been an issue in my own life. Growing up in a town of 800 people in the middle of the US is enough to explain some. I remember the first time I saw a black person, I was probably 10 years old. I remember being excited, fascinated and was quickly told to ‘stop staring’, yet my innocence meant no harm, I was curious. I over heard different name calling as a child, crude jokes and this ‘difference’, and division started forming in my mind. There was not a black person in our community, until I moved to a larger Midwest community at age 12, and even then there may have been 3 families in a community of 6000 people. I believe fear didn’t come into play until I was a bit older, movies projected some, as well as news.
Being the rebel that I was as a teen, and a curious George type, I wanted to get to know the different culture for myself. I dove into a relationship in college with a black man. It was fun and different, we laughed a lot and the reality of how abnormal it was in the Midwest in the 90’s became very evident. The stares and comments not only from the whites but also the blacks was so uncomfortable. The comments and crude talk came from all angles, including both families. It was hard, and sad, and became too difficult for both of us, and then soon following that relationship the incident happened.
At 20 years old I was sexually assault by 2 black college athletes. And this, this is where fear came in. Every colored man became a threat to me, I was traumatized and I would say racism took a root. I never said much, in-fact not many ever knew, it was my secret and has been to this day. I went down a dark path filled with drugs and alcohol and anything that took me out of reality. For the next 20 years my life was lived out with a lot of fear. Thankfully the Lord delivered me and I began healing by the grace of God and came to peace with my abusers, the incident, and the life I lived at that time. Forgiveness of them, of God and of myself for the choices I made following the trauma was when true peace and healing happen. It took time, it took process and it took a miracle only God could pull off.
3 years ago I was called into the most strange of things, I never saw it coming… missions, in Africa, among a sea of black skin and I was the minority. God healed me there in so many ways. He took my rose colored glasses off and showed me what it is to see people for people, not living in fear because of color. I see hearts and beautiful souls. I see spirits of people and am no longer tainted with the veil of assumptions and fear.
Because of this recent uprise of exposing racism I wanted to share this small town white girl’s experience and let you know black lives DO matter. I don’t see black as a threat anymore and I’ve been working on changing some old ways of thinking and uprooting seeds that were planted long ago. I figure if I can make a change by talking and teaching my children how to love and embrace all colors and differences then maybe their generation will get it right, or more right than mine.
To the black community, I see you, each of you. My abusers could have been any one, any color and I will never hold what they did to me against anyone. You are loved and I pray this country will do better by you.
The thinking has to change, the old patterns have to die. I pray I can start the change in my own home.
May we all look inward and do the hard thing, forgive words and actions, renew our minds, and give our hardened hearts to God, so we can live in peace and true freedom. We can do better, we all can do better.
Peace and Blessings to you.