In the past few months it seems that my heart has been sensitive towards racism. At Gateway, the subject arises frequently. I had really been meditating about this subject and searching my own heart when we signed Dawson up to play basketball at a church in Elberton. At his first practice, we learned that Dawson was the only white kid on the team. Two of the kids on his team are good friends of his, so he didn’t feel out of place at all.
One evening, his friend’s mother called and asked if Dawson could come to her house after school on practice night so she could take the boys to practice, then bring Dawson home. With everything being so busy with three children, I greatfully accepted her offer. I mentioned how thankful I was for that mom’s offer to one of my family members, only to be hit right away with that spirit of racism. The family member quickly let it be known that there was no way that her child would be in a car with a black family going anywhere. She explained that her parents had taught her that she could love “them people” and talk to “them people” at school, but outside of school, she shouldn’t look their way or speak a word to them. In the same breath, she explained that her daddy loved all people and he wasn’t racist at all!! My initial thought was, “Seriously!!??”
To be honest, I did think about telling the teammate’s mom thanks for the offer but I can handle getting my son there and home, but then I realized she was the answer to my prayers of, “God I have too much on my plate and I seriously don’t know how I can juggle it all.” I decided I was NOT going to let that blessing go because of my own family member’s opinion about the situation. My family member didn’t even know how nice that lady was; they knew absolutely nothing about this lady or her family except for that they were African American. Stepping back and examining the situation, I decided that Dawson was my child and I was going to do what I wanted to do. We had the best basketball season yet – yes, with the black kids and their families. Dawson went to one of the kid’s birthday parties and yes, he was the only white kid there. When the team member asked if he could go and I said yes, they acted as if they were a little shocked. Turns out that those black women who welcomed Dawson and included him were frowned upon by other black people in their families the same way that we were frowned upon by other white people in our family.
Racism works both ways, and I have learned a valuable lesson from all of this. You must do what you know is right, no matter what others think about you. Barry and I are often frowned upon because of our parenting skills, and I admit we do make a lot of mistakes. However, out of all the mistakes that we have made, at least we can rest assured that we have taught our children one of the most important lessons in life: God created everyone in His image. Skin color is just a color, not a personality and certainly not the spirit. We are all created equally by our Heavenly Father, and at the end of the day, we all serve the same Lord!
~ Christi Duncan