This is an unusual moment for me. I don’t know what to say.
I’m rarely at a loss for words. I can usually think of something to fill the silence even if there’s nothing that needs to be said.
But I see and hear my fellow humans cry out for justice, for equality, for safety and security and I see and hear little positive productive response to their cries.
I’m not talking about petty desires. I’m not talking about lies and scams. I’m not talking about political correctness.
I’m talking about life.
How can anyone look at another human being and somehow believe he or she is not of equal value?
I understand it intellectually — it comes from beliefs about politics, economics, language, nationality, et cetera, etc., blah, blah.
But I don’t GET it.
How can you defend that kind of thinking and behavior, really?
One day when my sons were about 13 and 15, they began asking me some questions on issues they’d apparently discussed together.
After a few questions on what I thought they should do in some hypothetical situations, my younger son asked, “What would you do if one of us brought home a date and they had a different skin color?”
“What would I do?” I asked, unsure of what he was really asking.
“What would you say?”
I thought about it, wanting to seriously consider what he was asking and not just give an answer I hadn’t put thought into.
“I’d probably say, ‘Hello,’ and ask them to come in,” I answered.
I was serious.
“You wouldn’t be upset?” he asked.
“Why would I be upset?”
They could tell I was being honest in my answers, that the thought of my children dating someone from another culture or who had another skin tone was of no concern to me. Not negatively, anyway. Lots of positives can come from developing relationships with people who are not like you.
My only guideline for my children was that I wanted them to grow as followers of Jesus Christ, so I wanted them to date other believers, too.
If your spiritual beliefs are built on the same foundation, what does it matter what you look like?
If I’m going to be prejudiced against skin color, why not extend that to freckles and moles? Why not discriminate against hairstyles and colors? Should I prevent my children from interacting with people who prefer different clothing styles?
What if — God forbid — someone they’re interested in doesn’t like peanut butter but loves mayonnaise?
That might be a deal breaker.
My youngest son is the only one of my children who’s married. He married a beautiful Christian woman whose heritage is Mexican.
At one point while he was dating or engaged to his bride, he was working with an older family member he loved and respected. Out of the blue, the man asked my son, “Could you not find any white girls to date?”
My son looked at him, shocked, dropped his tools and walked out for the remainder of the day. He was hurt, angry and disappointed.
He should have been.
He returned that evening and didn’t say anything about it. The man didn’t say anything either.
But that comment — that thinking — was terrible. Wrong. So very wrong.
It shows the tip of an iceberg of prejudice, which in this case is just a nicer way to say distrust and hatred.
We aren’t born with those kinds of beliefs. We weren’t created that way. We learn that … junk.
Just when I am lulled into thinking that mankind might be getting better, less hateful, less self-centered, less sin-packed, something like the irresponsible, unconscionable death of George Floyd in Minneapolis or Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia happens and I am shaken and angered all over again.
For the sake of all that is good and right, stand up for others, not against them!
I fear for my fellow humans whose first “crime” is that their skin is darker. I guess white people with tans better start looking out.
I have hope — in Jesus — but not so much in my fellow man.
Brett Campbell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.