Last week, my wife and I took our daughter, son-in-law and three grandkids to WaterColor, Florida for Fall Break at the beach. The gulf water was so blue, the beach so white and the sky so beautiful that it made me wonder who could look at such spectacular scenery and not thank God for His creativity? I also thank Him for the fun we had in the sun and surf—playing with grandkids that are almost 2, 5 and 8 years old keeps us young at heart but stiff in the joints! We swam, built and destroyed sand castles, battled the waves, rode bikes, canoed in a coastal lake and sampled as many Seaside restaurants as possible.
And that brings me to the point of this blog. We, as a family, were out in public for almost every daylight hour of the trip. We interacted with lots of people from all over the country, and not one of them commented on the fact that our nearly 5-year old grandson doesn’t look like the rest of us. You see, he was adopted from Ethiopia and my daughter and I have skin coloration similar to Casper the ghost. While the rest of the family tans well, our grandson definitely wins the game of “which one is not like the other ones.”
The fact that during a trip like this—and in daily life as well—no one gives us strange looks or says anything derogatory about our mixed pigmentation family gives me great hope for our country…
The fact that during a trip like this—and in daily life as well—no one gives us strange looks or says anything derogatory about our mixed pigmentation family gives me great hope for our country regarding how far we have come in our racial attitudes in a relatively short time. Slavery was formally ended in 1865, about 150 years ago. But equal rights were not assured under the law until 1964 when discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin was outlawed. So the law that ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools and the workplace is only a little over 50 years old—which is younger than me!
So in this short time frame, attitudes have changed from “don’t drink water from the same fountain” to the point where I get virtually no strange looks when I am out in public with my African grandson. In fact, the most common thing I hear are oohs and ahhs over how cute he is.
I know racism isn’t gone, and I’m not suggesting that we don’t need to continue to make progress in this area. But in today’s world of microaggressions, triggers, National Anthem protests, police bashing and other outrages, shouldn’t we occasionally pause for perspective on the vast changes that have been made to the mindsets of hundreds of millions of Americans in the last half century? I would say, we are making progress. We are getting closer to Dr. King’s dream for his four little children.
Remember, “Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin.” James 2:8–9 (NLT). As Christian’s, let’s keep putting this Scripture into practice and spreading the word—and maybe we can build on the progress made in the last 50 years and eliminate remaining racial divides even faster!