Meditations on Race11:59 PM
And there I was. A white girl. In a Colombian restaurant. Surrounded by people of different ethnicities than me. I looked around the table and smiled.
Three black, five Hispanic, one Asian, three white. All happy, joking, laughing. Some people had known each other for many years, some for a few years and some I had just met moments before.
Racial unity is not silence. It's not about ignoring the obvious. Oh no, I heard more racial references that night then I've ever heard before.. "Dude, you were my first Asian friend!" "... Puerto Ricans!" "It's cuz I'm black, isn't it?!" Seeing who we are, noting it, liking it, even poking fun at it in a light-hearted manner... That's racial unity.
When I looked around that table, yes, I saw different ethnicities. But I saw them because each ethnicity is a part of each person's individual identity. Every varying tone of skin color, the neighborhood each person grew up in, their native tongue or accent or language differences, every country, every single thing about them that could possibly be related to race.... it all adds up to the person that they have become. Completely unique of another. You may partially "describe" someone according to their race, but you never fully define them until you have known them. In conversation. Noted their sense of humor, their deep convictions, their passions and greatest dreams. Sure, my first thought upon meeting someone might be "Hmmmm, that's one fine-looking Latino..." (I'm single, y'all, I can think that!! However, I am not shallow enough to pursue someone based on looks. I'm simply being observational.)
You may "describe" me by my race --- white.
You cannot "define" me by my race. There's so much more to me than meets the eye.
You see a white girl.
Could you know that I love Mexican food? That I'm overtly passionate about Pentecostal theology? That I play piano so hard my fingernails break? That my entire life, I've never seen my parents treat another person differently because of race? Could you know that I despise shallowness and modern art annoys me? Could you know that I cry when writing songs? That I adore meeting new people, but sometimes shyness tries to paralyze me?
And I just tried to think of stereotypical white things and totally blanked out. Haha! Whatever you think a white girl would be, I'm not so sure it's true. I am who I am. I am not a stereotype. Describe me as white, no problem. Just don't define me as white.
And I will do the same for you. It takes me about 30 seconds to go from noting that someone was Hispanic or black or whatever... to maybe thinking he had nice eyes or a firm handshake... another 5 minutes to note that he was rather intense or has a good sense of humor or that we disagree about key theological issues... and another 15 minutes to note how he interacts with other people.
(again, I'm an observer/discerner by nature + single & looking = this is what I do).
Back to that night at the restaurant... ya know the only time I felt slightly out-of-place? When the waitress started speaking Spanish to me and I didn't understand it...
And that was totally non-race-related. I was just jealous that I'm not bilingual!
* PS - my blog returns for some sporadic posting about personal/spiritual/random/non-business stuff.