I love the color of my children's skin. I love that their skin is different than mine and their daddy's. I cannot get over how smooth and rich and dark it is. I love the contrast between my hands and their hands.
I love how their hands and faces and bellies speak to their culture and their history. Their skin declares, "I am Ethiopian! I was born in Africa!" Their chocolate color speaks of a creative God with a colorful palette who wanted us to celebrate the uniqueness of our cultures, races, and countries of origin. Their color speaks of their identity and from where they were called.
Sometimes I just stare at my kids and feel almost worshipful at how gorgeous they are and how different we look from each other. That God would take such care and consideration in the formation of even our skin...WOW! That is one attentive Maker.
Some would say that they are color blind, that they don't see color of skin but only the heart of the person beneath the skin. Some inter-racial families would say that skin color or birth country doesn't matter because "my kids are my kids" and "I love them the same as if they shared my DNA".
But I think we miss so much of the person and the Creator when we disregard someone's skin color and make them just like everyone else. Being Ethiopian doesn't define my kids, but it is a meaningful and significant part of their identity. Being black isn't the summation of who they are but it is a piece of what makes them an individual connected to a people and a part of the world that's "beautifully and wonderfully made".
The truth is that color does matter in this world. It's a source of massive conflict, stereotypes, stigmas, bigotry in families and nations. Color may not matter to the majority race, but it matters to the minority. Color matters when you're the only one in the room who looks different from the others. It matters to the ones who have jokes made about them or suffocating stereotypes associated with them. It matters to a person who loves their heritage and celebrates their culture.
And I believe with my whole heart that it matters to a God who took pride in creating the spectrum of our skin colors. So instead of ignoring or minimizing each others color,
- what if we took time and care to get to know what that color represents and means to that person?
- and what if appreciating each others differences was an act of worship to God?
- and what if as we honor every part of each other we also help heal the world of some bigotry and hurtful stereotypes?