Racism is a Heart Problem, Not a Skin Problem

As one of the few white people in my community (I’m usually the only one) I’ve had lots of conversations with Vincentian friends about racism.

And had some fun experiences because of my whiteness as well

A few weeks after coming to Barrouallie I was walking down the road, and a man called me over. He smiled and said, “why is a white man walking up and down my street?” For the first few months the name “white man” stuck, not because they were being racist, but because they didn’t know my name. Today they all call me John.

Experiences have shown me that racism does indeed exist

But what some people call racism, isn’t racism.

Racism is an attitude that looks upon other people groups as less important than you, this is sin pure and simple. Yet, there is a growing belief that racism is something inherent that all white people are born with. Because we (white people) experience privileges other people groups may not experience, we are therefore racist.

Let me be very clear about this…..

Racism has to do with my heart, not my skin colour

Over the last six-years, the Lord has helped me live in unity with my Vincentian brothers and sisters. This has nothing to do with my being “anti-racist” or becoming more “inclusive”. I just treated them with respect and dignity as image-bearers, and they did the same for me.

It’s a joy to see how the people of Barrouallie “look out for me” because I “look out for them”

  1. Last year I suffered from a severe stomach virus so we couldn’t have church. The next day many people from the community asked what had happened.
  2. Another time I got sick, and had three separate friends to come by, and see how I was doing
  3. A few months ago my car hood wouldn’t latch properly. Three people came by to tell me it wasn’t closed, and then a neighbour helped me fix it
  4. Another day I left a car door open (still not sure how that happened). A friend came down, and told me it was open….nothing was taken
  5. And a few years ago I went home for Christmas and let a young man in the community drive my car while I was gone. The week after I got back a woman motioned me over and whispered “I saw somebody else driving your car!”

The point is it’s possible for people from other races to live in harmony

You just treat them with dignity and respect

And it helps if you’re part of the same family 🙂

There is no easy fix for racism friends, but I can tell you the starting point is your heart instead of your skin colour.

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