What Does it Mean to be “Skin Color Neutral”?

2 Jun

I recently asserted in my Sunday school class that those of my generation will probably never be “colorblind” to skin color but can and should become “color neutral.”


This discussion is based on the “one race” principle in God’s Word, but moves into practical application of that principle.


I pointed out that, as a woman who has often been the only woman in my work group, I totally understand the difference between “tolerating” someone’s presence and “welcoming” someone’s presence.  


“Tolerating” is a matter of obeying the letter of the law.  It can involve obedience that is done with a smile or obedience through gritted teeth. It doesn’t really matter.  It is mere obedience of the law.  


“Welcoming” comes when others realize that you have unique talents and contributions without which the group would be poorer.  “Welcoming” is when your fellow members of a group know that they would miss out if you were not there.  You belong as much as they do.  


A subtle way to make people feel excluded, and one which is very noticeable to minorities I have been told, is when everyone projects the unconscious thought that the majority race “owns” the table and gets to issue invitations to others to sit at it.  


Thankfully our younger people are moving away from this paradigm, but we still have to watch out for vestiges of it. A black person does not get to sit at a table due to the kindness of the white shareholders of that table.   A black person gets to sit at a table because of his or her unique gifts that would be missing from that table if he or she left! The same thing goes for a white woman or a Hispanic woman or  . . .


That, my friends, is color neutrality.  Making up the talent at a table based on choosing people with unique giftings, not people with any particular combination of skin colors or gender attributes.  


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