Yesterday (05/06/2020), a new social media storm began to brew as social media everywhere (from Twitter to Facebook) erupted in outrage over the fact that the killers of Ahmaud Arbery still have not been arrested or charged since they killed him back in February of this year. The details resurfaced as new video evidence was leaked out into cyberspace and people were able to see with their own eyes what transpired.
I personally watched it, and I have to say, it was disturbing.
In fact, it was downright disgusting.
People are rightfully outraged.
Some are declaring that it was race driven violence. Others are suggesting there was no racial motivation, simply poor choices made by a well-seasoned former cop.
No matter how one looks at it, it has revealed, yet again, that racism is not dead in this country and that, while we have come a long way, we still have a long way yet to go.
And one of those areas we have a long way to go is the words we choose to use.
I have talked about this before, but I think it bears repeating, as I continue to see this comment come up from time to time from my fellow white brethren.
Let me be clear, I believe that those who say this statement are well-meaning people who are not attempting to be malicious with this statement. But, I don’t think they realize the gravity of what they are really saying.
Here is the statement: “God doesn’t see color.”
This is a patently false statement. God absolutely sees color. He invented color. He painted the world in brilliant colors from the sky, to the earth, to everything in between – including those of us called “humans”.
He created us with many shades of white, pink, brown, black, tan, yellow, and many many more colors to boot.
To say that “God doesn’t see color” is to suggest that He is colorblind to his own creation. It also suggests that people are not created uniquely and diminishes the beauty that is in the very makeup of our DNA that God himself put there.
This is confusing I know….because I realize that when statements like this are being made, the attempt by the speaker (or writer) is to suggest that God is not one to show favoritism to this group or another based on their skin color. Which is true, He doesn’t, but this isn’t the best way to communicate that sentiment.
And here is why: it needs to be understood that when people who are not white hear phrases like this, it communicates several unintended negative things:
- God doesn’t see them.
- They are not uniquely created
- The lack of color (or being white) is the standard by which God sees people…no other color.
I would dare say it communicates much more than this, but these three things alone should be enough to dissuade us from making this statement (or similar statements).
Again, I realize that this is usually said in a well-meaning way, but the phrase is actually quite hurtful to those who are not white. If you’re one who has been guilty of saying this (like I have been), you don’t even realize just how hurtful.
Thankfully, I had a caring brother kindly come to me and explain to me what this phrase communicates to him as a black male. I had never heard this before, or even considered that what I was saying could communicate such things. Yet, there I was, guilty of doing it. But in his grace and mercy with me as a friend, he came to me and helped me understand, and that’s what I’m hoping to do today as well.
So, just as I’ve said before, please be careful with your words…well-meaning or not…they can still hurt.