A Changing Mind by Bert Mitchell
Where I grew up cold wet weather and snow-closed roads were blessings. These conditions stiffened the spine and increased one’s determination to overcome adverse weather and all sorts of non-weather adversity. An argument prevailed that the experience of adversity enriched character and provided one an advantage over other people particularly dark and brown skin people who lived under easier conditions in a warm climate. Out of this environment, I grew to have good self-confidence and believed the color of my skin had nothing to do with skill or ability.
In my early days, the need to assist others to obtain food, clothing, and housing looked like a weakness in character. Those people were not trying hard enough. If they would only try a little harder, they would do better. Deficiencies in pre-natal nutrient would disappear, babies would learn from baby talk and hearing stories read, attend pre-kindergarten, learn a second language and numbers, experience the joy of learning. They would be accepted in class and observe relationships and how to create them. At this point, I see these deficiencies as systemic, perpetual, racist, and elements that help support white supremacy.
People of all skin colors are reproductively compatible. The DNA allows it. It is way God made us. The four amino acids in DNA hold the code of life. This is the God-given foundation of all humankind. It is the granite on which God chiseled, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’. It is the Christian thing to do. In today’s world, if you love your neighbor, wear a mask until you are vaccinated. It is the Christian thing to do.
At an earlier time, I participated in a Discussion Group. A neighbor invited me. I attended meetings with him and on my own. There were handouts mostly about apartheid in South Africa. The leaders emphasized how unfair was the loss of land and cattle to Dutch farmers. As the meetings progressed, it became clear the purpose of the discussion was to foster a similar class system in the US and I stopped attending. I am American now living in Florida under easier conditions in a warm climate and I am changing my mind about white privilege and racism.
What to do now? As a white man I should own my problem by admitting to racism, bias, and to having held a sense of superiority. When I have the opportunity with black, brown, native-American, and suppressed people, I should sincerely apologize for my racism, bias, and white privilege. I should offer reparation and ask forgiveness. The response could be, I forgive you. If so, the slate would be wiped clean, and we could start fresh.
You are invited to the Nehemiah Assembly – no attendance required – just sign into the Zoom Call and join 1,000 others as we quietly work for social justice for our community.
The Nehemiah Assembly Zoom Call Meeting is Monday, Mar 29, 2021 06:30 PM. Please register in advance for this meeting going to www.pineshorespres.org – look for the SURE box in Events and Ministries.
Scripture Reading: Romans 14:19
“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”
What do you believe will lead to peace among our differences?
How has your life experiences impacted your perspective on people who are different than you?
What do you think about reparations?
Prayer: Holy God, lead me toward your path of peace and let me celebrate our differences. Amen.
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