Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Today my son was called an 'African booty scratcher'...

And my first reaction was: "they're still using that one?" because I remember vividly the day a kid from my predominantly black neighborhood called me the same name. And back then as a middle schooler with only a couple of years in the US, I had no clue what it meant and I still don't. But I think the goal of the kid who called my son that name as was in my case was to demean and make us feel less than and in both cases they succeeded. Self hatred sets in and immediately you start questioning whether the skin that clothes what we call the self is not good enough, as my son blurts out "but mom I'm the darkest one in the family".

Moments like these always force me to ask myself what I truly believe about race, color, diversity and of course God's view in all of this color confusion. Let's face it; we in America have issues with race, color and diversity. Every single day I have to remind myself "you are perfect just the way you are". There are often times when I wonder if my reality, my view of self and others around me would be different if I were a few shades lighter. I've wondered if my Children would be liked just a little bit more if they had that "perfect" caramel complexion that Americans pay millions of dollars to achieve in tanning salons or bi-racial children seem to have naturally.

Let's admit it, tell the truth and shame the devil, we have racial preferences. As CNN revealed over and over again as they repeated a study conducted over fifty years ago, blacks and whites alike seem to favor the white and lighter complexion. Yes I know the study was done amongst children but let's do a study of the heart; right now, right where you're sitting answer this question for me, your answers are of course anonymous: which do you prefer if education, knowledge and skills were the same across the board: the white or black doll; the white or black supermodel; the white or black music video dancer; the white or black doctor; the white or black surgeon, the white or black pilot, the white or black president? The children on CNN were not lying were they?

You're not in this alone even the people sitting on the pews at church answered like the children on CNN; of course according to your anonymous answers.

There's a perfect solution to this: Repent! Yes, repent! I'm black and I had to repent. You see we were all created in the image of God and God called his image good! That's great news! My dark skin is good! My nappy hair is good! My Children's dark skin is good! My nephew's bi-racial skin is good! My co-workers white skin is all good! I love diversity because God loves diversity! We need to repent and agree with God and call the races and diversity Good!

Six years ago when I repented and claimed that God created me in his image and that my dark skin was good, I did something radical, I cut the perm off my hair and claimed my natural beauty. Today you can't tell me I'm an African booty scratcher' hoping for me to feel belittled...remember I repented and very often I hum the line in the voice of Tupac "the blacker the berry the sweeter the juice". As for my son, he will be ok; this is his painful journey and I don't want to rob him of the joy of coming on the other side victorious, realizing, as I have, that God loves his dark skin. Until then I’ll keep singing to him “the blacker the berry the sweeter the juice”.


  1. Mark7:37-He does All things well! Great job!

  2. Wow! thank you so much Dieula! this is very encouraging as it is challenging! May God bless you mightily and give your son the grace to come out victorious! Victor

  3. Thank you for sharing these challenges to our thinking and hearts. My heart goes out to Reynel. Yuck. Been there. I think hell is probably a big middle school.

    I am also thinking that just as rape isn't about sex but power and control, racial slurs are about power and control. To demean, to belittle, to marginalize. Even some people within my ethnic group - all of whom are about the same color - slander and belittle subgroups for the same reason.

    Words can and do hurt, but I guess the key is to not give other people that power over us. Easier said than done. This all leads me to one of my favorite quotes/scenes from the movie Grosse Pointe Blank:

    Martin Q. Blank: Do you *really* believe that there's some stored up conflict that exists between us? There *is* no us. *We* don't exist. So who do you wanna hit, man? It's not me. Now whaddya wanna do here, man?

  4. whether we are Black or Asians, we are wrongfully influenced by the media and society; thank you for reminding us that we are LOVED by God. I'm still learning and I have to if I want to teach my future children how beautiful they are. I would be angry as a mom but your approach was a positive parenting lesson. - Patty