I have a friend who recently said, “I am so tired of hate.” His words are mine. I, too, am tired of hate. But you know what, the hate we are seeing isn’t about skin color like we believe. It’s about culture.
Middle-class Americans are racist. African Americans feel the world owes them. Hispanics are lazy. Jews will cheat you for a dime, given a chance. Christians are hypocrites and Muslims are out to oppress the world. This is how we see each other.
We identify culture by skin color and dress. Most middle class Americans are white and most African Americans are black. Most Hispanics have tan skin and dark hair. Ethnic Jews tend to have narrow faces and dark hair. Christians dress conservatively while Muslims shroud themselves.
We others as we have been trained; often without giving any thought to our actions. Or worse, we give thought and act poorly. What we need is cultural re-education.
Most white folks truly are seeking fairness, as are most others. Most blacks are hard-working and honest, as are most others. Most Jews are not rich at the expense of others; most Christians truly love the Lord; and most Muslims follow a doctrine of humility. We have to rethink our assumptions. We fear each other because we don’t understand.
I won’t understand, even though I try, what it is like to be oppressed, or homeless, or truly hungry. I won’t understand why others hate me because of my skin or eye color or where I live.
Similarly, others don’t understand why they are feared, or discriminated against, or hated. Some don’t understand why Americans oppose them for wanting to maintain their language and heritage in their new country.
I love my country and I love all it stands for. My father, my husband, and my son all served (or are serving) in military service to defend my right to believe what I want, go where I want, and say what I want. But this freedom without knowledge is harmful.
Let's each try this. Find a culture that you know little about and explore it. What could it be like to come from a different culture? Let's try walking in their shoes for a while, see things from their front window.
Let down the barriers and be willing to open yourself to discussion. Choose to love others and their cultures. Cultures change slowly, and I don’t expect to see huge waves of love and fellowship in my lifetime. But I hope for it for my children, and my grandchildren.
May you be blessed with the richness of God’s diversity this week.