With all that‘s going on right now, I’ve been a little reluctant to pen my thoughts. That’s because each of us are in so many places and feeling so many different emotions that it difficult to find the words to say without offending someone who may be hurting.
This morning after being inspired by a conversation with a good friend who reminded me to “Love Above,” I felt led to share the following message:
When I go out and speak with schools about transforming culture, I first remind the participants that we each must recognize our individual culture. Each of us are born into families that teach us their beliefs, values, and customs which help to form our perceptions. I challenge each person to look within at their core beliefs and think about how their thinking behaviors may be impacting them from reaching their desired outcomes and how these behaviors can impact others.
The challenge with where we are right now is that we are not considering our personal culture. I’m not talking about a white culture or a black culture, but the culture of the human being that is reading this message. Even though I identify as a black female, I can’t speak from the experience of all black women. While there are so many things that are the same for us, there are just as many things that are different. My life and my perceptions are not the same as anyone else, this can be said about the same people we grew up with, we all see and experience the world differently.
I remember when I lived in Germany almost 25 years ago and I worked in a daycare where I was the only black caregiver and having my peers ask me to explain things about the little black children in our care. One question that stands out in particular that I was asked was “What did her mom put in her hair this morning?” My response: I don’t know, I didn’t wake up in their house. It’s easy for us to lump everyone together and this is part of the problem we see today, that’s why it’s not quick and easy to solve these problems which have manifested over 400 years. Whenever you use the term “ALL” in reference to a group of people, it’s already a false statement because none of us are the same – black, white, yellow, brown – we’re all different. We all have our individual culture.
Yesterday Kermit said something that really stood out to me. He said that Jesus had the same challenges of dealing with people who felt inferior as well as those who felt superior, but he was able to work through these challenges through love. If we take a good look at scripture pertaining to love, we have been given a roadmap when dealing with others who may not share our views. I believe the answer to the challenge we are faced with today is to first “love yourself” then “love others.”
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
The answer to this problem of racism or race relations does not lie on the outside of us, but on the inside. Each of us will need to travel within and take a good look at the things we’ve chosen to believe about ourselves, about others, and about this world.
No matter your race, the people within that race are different, it’s important to get to know individuals rather than trying to place people in groups to make your beliefs fit a diverse group of mindsets.
If we don’t have love and respect for ourselves, how can we show it to others? As my friend said to me this morning – we must Love Above. And this simply means that we cannot resolve this problem at the level it was created, each of us will need to do some self-reflection and practice a lot of self-love. That love that we have for our self will undoubtedly become contagious and spread to everyone that we meet. Love is the most powerful form of the human spirit.