My Family, In Black and White
If a person with negative prejudices is called to instead believe the best of those whom he encounters, the person who is misjudged can also act hopefully that his critic can change. In love, I can respond kindly and confidently to those who dislike my trans-racial family, praying that I might be an instrument in their change of heart. Perhaps my children will learn to do the same.
Maybe my kids won't encounter overt prejudice on their own. By the time they are climbing into the driver's seat and walking the aisles of Target by themselves, I hope this world has become a more grace-filled and less race-conscious place.
But the lessons themselves are not a waste. The plain truth is that there are only two kinds of people in this world, and the ones who follow Christ will always be a misjudged minority. I pray that my children will have their primary identity in that holy nation, which will inevitably make them strangers, sojourners, and exiles on the earth.
Modeling for my children how to be a minority has a bigger purpose than merely learning how to have dark skin in a white world. My lessons are about how to wear Christ's skin. How to conduct yourself among a majority people who are instinctively prejudiced against you for who you are, and for who you look like.
Here, too, I want my children to be unashamed—to be allied with gospel and clothed in the beauty of Christ—and to be optimistic that the "power of God for salvation" might persuade someone to change his mind.
A few weeks ago, a middle-aged black woman in our church invited my 7-year-old white son to go with her to the state fair. It wasn't until I was buckling him into her back seat that I realized it would cost her something. Mississippi fair-goers would certainly think this woman was a nanny. They might even suspect her of wrongdoing. But she drove away, head up and a smile on her face. She was confident and joyful, eager to be with her young friend at the fair, to share with him the joys of bumper cars and greasy fries, though strangers would certainly misunderstand.
This woman was exposing my son to how it feels to be a racial minority. She was also showing him how to be a Christian. I hope he was paying attention.
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