by: Caroline Binkley
Being a person of color in the United States has been an experience fraught with limitations that White counterparts do not have to face…
… Growing up in an almost all-White community, I received the same education and resources as other kids at my school. I never went without anything I needed and was blessed to have the security my parents were able to provide. Still, the reality is that not everyone has everything they need. In school, people often assumed my family did not have money because of what they’ve heard about the black community. While Black people statistically face an economic disadvantage, I have never lived in a predominantly Black area or been affected by this statistic. Assuming that someone of color is deserving of pity feeds the stereotypes. I was often left out of “girly” activities because my hair could not be braided or styled like my friend’s could. When I straightened my hair on occasion, I was told that I looked extra pretty that day; that I looked so much more mature, and that my new style looked so much better – every single time. I would turn heads and get twice as much attention from classmates and teachers. Straight hair like my friend’s helped me blend in, but I’ve never wanted to. As a young girl, I only wanted to be accepted for how God made me. I could not choose to fit in because I was different, and while I’m grateful for the struggle, it’s not one that all Brown girls should have to face.
We need to redefine beauty in our country and it starts with making friends that look different than us. Telling a Black girl that you love her hair will likely be the best thing she’s heard all day. Those few simple words can melt away feelings of not being the “ideal image of beauty” rooted so deeply in her. We all say things that are insensitive to other races and ethnicities, so being aware of word choices and how we use our voices can create a safer world for our brothers and sisters. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Do the right thing, even when no one is watching?” This saying means a lot for Christians because God is always with us. We do not experience a direct award system for our good behavior by adults or those responsible for us, but our actions are always seen by the Lord. Our awards are more subtle gifts from God, from being alive each day to admittance into heaven.
If you see someone who needs sticking up for, stick up for them. If you see someone stirring gossip, change the conversation or confront the person talking. Do what is right for yourself and others. Sometimes doing what’s right looks like stepping out and doing more than usual. In Jesus’s parable of the sheep and the goats, the people did not go to hell for the evil they did; rather, for the good they did not do. This is why it’s not good enough just not to be racist; we must be actively anti-racist. Having a Black or Brown friend or family member does not mean a person is not a racist, and it certainly does not mean they are anti-racist. If you are not already a part, you can be an ally to this community by understanding this quote, “White supremacy won’t die until White people see it as a White issue they need to solve rather than a Black issue to empathize with.” We are all under attack until none of us are. God is here to help us make the right decisions and has given us the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (it spells BIBLE, see what I did there?!) to guide us through our time on earth.
Proverbs 31 discusses a woman who cares for others and plans for the future rather than waiting for the future to happen to her. She is an advocate for others. How can you use the qualities of this woman in your own life? God does not wake us to be bystanders in seasons of change; we are awakened to move the mountains that need moving with the power of the Lord behind us. Proudly wear your armor of God and know that you are called to be an instrument of change.
This blog is part of an article Caroline wrote in the latest issue of Pure Design Magazine… to read the rest of her thoughts, grab a copy on our website at: www.puredesigngirl.com/shop.
Caroline is a sophomore at Baldwin Wallace University studying Business Administration. She is passionate about giving a voice to the voiceless through involvement in nonprofit organizations. Caroline spends her time participating in her campus’s gospel choir, composing music on piano, shopping at small businesses and exploring the world of fashion. Her hope is that others will see the Lord’s light inside her and feel compelled to know God more.