Saturday, October 4, 2014

Colorblind Love

Love that is Colorblind is a wonderful gift. Before I go any further I need to make one thing perfectly clear. I grew up in a small town with no black people living within the city limits. The area south of Detroit was pretty segregated. Some people in my town were quite prejudice and stereotypes of non-whites flourished.

I didn't meet a young black person until I was a teenager swimming at one of the major metro parks in the area. The kid and I talked for some time and kept on swimming. Our meeting left no big impression on me, he was just a kid swimming in the pool, just like me.

The riots that swept through Detroit and many other major cities brought racial hatred and animus to the surface. As a kid I paid little attention to the civil rights movement and the federal desegregation programs. I do not remember the impression left upon me by the news reports that showed black students getting off buses at once all white schools. It was far away I didn't really care. Now, it was different. The riots were just a few miles away. Buildings were burning to the ground and people were being killed.

Disparaging remarks and ignorant slang were soon tossed around by our gang of friends. A mass tackle playing football took on disrespectful name. I am convinced this grew out of ignorance and the complete lack of understanding of what all people have in common. I can honestly say, I didn't hate black people, or any other ethnic group for that matter. I was a dumb white kid who didn't really pay much attention.

After my junior year in high school we moved from that small town to Northeast Michigan. Living in the north prejudice took on a different form. Ethnic prejudice among whites was focused on European origins. Jokes about Poles, Swedes, Irish, Hungarians and plain ole Southern Hillbillies flourished.

A transformative and defining moment came when I came to Christ. My life and views of life would undergo some massive changes. Two years of seminary near Wrigley Field helped in changing the way I looked at people. While there I was forced to confront some old stereotypes, like skid-row alcoholics, prostitutes and criminals. Conducting church services in the Cook County Jail will cause the blinders to come off most anyone.

I will continue this piece.

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