I need you to take a good look at the photograph featured. I need you to read the plaque, and understand the context. Envision the person. See her story come to life in your mind.
Now…I need you to imagine that this person was compared to Kamala Harris—the FIRST Black Woman Vice President in the history of theses United States of America—by a group of Christian believers. I need you to imagine that these believers thought this comparison was done in good taste and that it was actually quite humorous. I need you to sympathize with the fact that they were only joking, and that certain people shouldn’t be so sensitive.
Now…I need you to imagine how this rhetoric made their Black and Indian Christian brothers and sisters—in the same church body—feel. They…we…failed to see the humor. In fact, we collectively felt an overwhelming sense of anger; disappointment; rage. We thought the Christian body in 2021 was better than this. We believed that our white brothers and sisters in Christ actually know what’s in between the covers of the Bible. Apparently not.
Before sitting down to write this, I reached out to my pastor for counsel, to let him know what I was planning, and the reasoning behind it. He asked me a very direct question: he wanted to know if the source of my anger was political or racial. There was no hesitation on my part. This is purely a racial issue for me. You take the politics of the vice president’s position out of the equation, and what you’re left with is still simple.
One of my White Christian brothers was insensitive enough to share this photograph on social media. Whether in simple ignorance or something more sinister doesn’t even matter. The point is, in a split second he chose to do this with no thought of the repercussions, because in his world, it was harmless. Another Christian brother was quick-witted enough to comment, “Hey, isn’t that our vice-president?” No harm, no foul, because in his world, the joke was harmless. It was a coincidence the Indian Wolf Girl just so happen to share the name and partial heritage of the black woman sitting in the vice-president seat of the White House. And there were plenty of fellow Christians who agreed with the joke, and chimed in.
And this is why the church of Jesus Christ is so divided today. Rather, this is just one of the reasons why we remain a divided body. I can’t really imagine the Apostle Paul looking at a monkey and saying, “Hey, there goes Simon of Cyrene!” encouraging laugher and jeers from the other Jewish Apostles and Disciples. Sounds completely ridiculous, right? Yet, that’s exactly what we’re doing today. We’re tearing each other down with insensitive comments in the name of humor. In today’s culture, race is a huge hot-button topic and—as the body of Christ—we need to do a better job of being sensitive to what God’s inspired Word has to say about the subject.
Now there have been “Christians” who have said things like:
- I don’t see color; I only see you.
- Jesus doesn’t care about color; he only cares about souls.
- God doesn’t care about racism, so we should spend less time talking about it, and more time talking about the Holy Spirit.
- You’re so articulate for…well…you know.
That last one, by the way, never gets old. I would argue that these well-meaning folks either don’t know what’s really in the Bible, or are misinterpreting what the Word says. Contrary to these comments, God actually does care about my blackness. He does care about the fact that racial slurs and comments—whether spoken in malice or in ignorance—do affect my heart. He does care about injustice even among His own people. It took 400 years, but He vindicated His chosen people, freeing them from Egyptian-slavery, as promised. And, I’m pretty sure that God is the author of diversity. Christianity was never meant to be painted with a Caucasian brush. The brush was meant to have multi-colored bristles. So racial jokes are never okay within the body of Christ.
There will be Christians who will read this article, and immediately go on the defensive.
- Dude, chill out. It was supposed to be funny. Why do you have to make it about race?
- I’m sorry if I offended anyone. That wasn’t my intent at all. It was just a cool photo.
- Guy, don’t be so sensitive. It was coincidence the wolf girl had the same name as that lady.
These defensive rebuttals only prove my point. We have to do a better job, within the body of Christ, of recognizing what might hurt one another, instead of heal. If my brother hurts, I’m supposed to bare that burden with him, not kick him and laugh at his plight. Brothers and sisters in Christ, we absolutely do have to be intentional and sensitive to each other’s soft spots. For the Black community, some of you might not recognize it, but we’re really going through some rough times right now. The church is the only safe-haven for a lot of us; it keeps the anger suppressed and the sorrow at bay. That is, until we find out that the church body doesn’t even know (let alone care) about our concerns and struggles.
One of my young black brothers said something to me this morning that was pretty profound. He said, “It’s like we’re considered to be one family, but a separate body; a body whose opinions are seldom considered.” Man that was a bitter pill to swallow. In diverse churches, are we really diverse? Are we being fair? Are we treating each other with decency and respect? Or…are we simply tolerating one another, in the name of Jesus? These are hard questions, I know; questions some might not be ready to address; questions some might even find offensive. But this is where we are today, as the church body.
Before I close, I want to go back to the beginning. Back to where this article was planted. Kamala the Indian Wolf Girl bares no likeness to Kamala Harris, Vice-President of the United States of America. Whether you want to see it or not, the comments and the post itself invited racism into the Christian circle. Sorry if this offends, but that is what it is. That type of “humor” has no place within the body of Christ. We need to do better, and to accomplish that, we need to behave like Christians at all times. What does that look like? Work out your own salvation with the Lord. Draw closer to Him, and He’ll let you know whether your actions represent Him or the enemy. Of course, if you’re not spending any real time with Him, you won’t hear His voice whispering the difference between right and wrong.
To CaVar, Kofi, LaDon, Ricky, Nehemiah, Zechariah, Isaiah, Nakita, Tanesha, Malinda, Jewel, Jada (just to name a few) and all the black brothers and sisters of our church body, I’m sorry this happened…again. It gets old; it gets tiring; it gets frustrating when people don’t see “us” for who we really are. I wrote this tonight to bring it to the attention of our church family, and to all church families claiming to be diversity-minded. This type of rhetoric hurts us; your black church family. See us for who we are: an intricate part of your body. We—the church—have to confront racism in all its forms, and we have to do it boldly together. Otherwise…we fail Jesus. It’s that simple.
I will no longer be silent.