Thursday, July 21, 2011

When Being Colorblind Is Not A Good Thing

Photo Credit: stopthegears
Some insightful thoughts from Chris Lahr on the topic of colorblindness:
"Recently I visited an overwhelmingly white campus and struck up a conversation with one of the few African American students about her time at the university. She told me that overall it was a good experience as long as she assimilated into the white culture! In other words as long as she ‘acted white,” tolerated white music (Lord help her), and didn’t talk about issues of race she was fine.

I find it interesting in the Church that it is mostly white folks that talk about the need for a multicultural (or multi-ethnic) church. I do not know a lot of African American preachers trying to recruit white folks to their congregations so that they can reflect the multi-ethnic worship experience we find in Revelations 7. Why is that? After some reflection I think it comes back to the colorblind problem.

Multi-ethnic churches started by white people are often very white in their power structure (white folks calling the shots), in the way they worship, etc. Being a diverse church or university does not mean that you simply add people of color into the mix, but that you carve out a space for them, in all of their gifts and inadequacies so that they can truly be a part of the larger community.

Too often white folks are in a rush to “use their gifts” which often translates into being in charge. If you truly desire being a part of a multicultural church attend a predominantly African American or Hispanic congregation and just show up. Do not worry about using your gifts, but rather show up and just be. Learn the songs, get to know the people, and most importantly… eat the food. As you build relationships and earn the right to be heard allow them to invite you to use your gifts. This will take longer but taking the role of a learner and taking the time to really grow roots will set the stage for real reconciliation."
To read Lahr's complete post please click here.

To check out a post that I wrote several years ago on this same topic entitled "The Myth of Being Colorblind", please click here.

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