IVLI Week 2 Cont’d

Week 2 was intense to say the least. We spent three days talking about multi ethnicity and racial reconciliation. We started by revisiting the story of the tower of Babel in Genesis chapter 11. We talked about how God first introduced different languages and cultures to the world as a way to get them to spread out and multiply over the earth like He originally commanded them. We talked about the importance of different cultures, and we also talked about how white is a race and an ethnicity and how we are called to appreciate ALL of them, and not just one of them. We also talked about the brokenness that surrounds our ethnicity in terms of prejudice, colorblindness, and racism. Not so fun fact: did you know that Milwaukee is the most segregated city in all of the United States? (Results from 2010 census) We talked about the injustices that exist in our society by watching clips from the movie, Crash, being thrust into dramas of different families, the church, and our school systems that don’t serve as they out to each student, and reading through statistics. Afterwards we finished off by learning what we can do as Christians in response to racial justice. We talked about how it first starts with us looking into our own hearts and confronting the racial and cultural biases that exist there. We talked about recognizing the sin that exists within our own racism (it is in fact all sin), and inviting God into that area of our hearts so that He can transform it. We then talked about building intentional relationships with people that aren’t specifically of our own race. (After all, if we are serious about racial reconciliation, shouldn’t we branch out past our own ethnicity?) We talked about how change in our own hearts, in our own souls leads to social change-not necessarily the other way around. (I mean, yes it can work in reverse but if it doesn’t start in someone’s heart how is it going to start in a social construct?) This week was particularly hard for me because it made me really confront the pain that I’ve often pushed to the side and not really dealt with surrounding my ethnic identity. I’ve had people tell me from time to time that I’m not really Black. They had their reasons for the comments, and most times I believe they were joking, but their words stung me a lot. It left me hurt and thinking that I didn’t belong in the African American community. It made me think that I should have been born a different race, because my interests, the music I listened to, and many other things were not typical of African American people. I’ve realized that God doesn’t make mistakes for one, and for two I should not let comments like that get to me. This week challenged me to take on my ethnic identity as part of what makes me who I am and not just a thing that makes my skin darker and people to make jokes about me. While I’ve always been proud of the history of my people, it was always something that hung more in the back of my mind than anything else. And while I knew that racism was still a problem that we deal with in the United States, it again was something that sat more in the back of my mind. This week really shook me and showed me that this is not a subject that I can remain passive about. It also showed me that there are some cultural biases that I’ve held in my mindset, and I need to get rid of them. By the grace of God, I will. I’ve been thinking of ways in which I can invite God into this area of my life, so that I can go from soul change to social change, and well, I’ve entered into the first leg of this race. I’m looking forward to seeing how God continues to grow me in this part of my journey.

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