“I just wish I could be like everyone else”
“Why do people stare at me when I walk into a store? I wish I could just fit in..”
“I hate my hair…it’s so different…why can’t it look like other kids?”
These are just a few comments I’ve heard from ethnic children growing up. In all honesty, I’ve asked these questions to myself, my parents, and to God many times growing up. My ethnicity for a long time was something that made me different from other people. It wasn’t until college that I realized that my perspective on my ethnicity was hurting me, not helping me. The reality was, my ethnicity was what made me unique. My ethnic story intertwined within an American cultural context made me so incredibly unique and provided an ability to develop a certain skill set that others may never have. Sadly, one of the realities of our society is that there are children today that are asking these questions and not seeing the immense blessing that their ethnicity is. Our perspective change in this particular matter is incredibly important. Not just for ourselves, but also for how we will parent our children. Especially, if you have biracial children like I have. My three handsome half Indian half caucasian boys typically comment on their skin color. The other night my oldest son Liam said, “Daddy, I’m brown like you AND White like mommy!”. I sat there amazed and so proud of my son. I love that he doesn’t despise his ethnicity but takes pride in it and sees how it is a reflection of his parents.
Despising Your Ethnicity Causes Problem
Putting it very simply, wishing you were something or someone else than who God created you to be will only cause problems, hurt, and heart break. The same energy that you put into creating doubt and insecurity in your life could be spent identifying and growing in the skill’s that God has given you. The problems that are associated with despising your ethnicity are not only vast, but can cause serious life altering problem.
It can create a low self-esteem
It can warp what your reality is
It will steal time and effort that can be better utilized in developing the skills God has given you
It will distract you from who you are in Christ
Your Ethnicity is A Gift
While we live in a world that is filled with racial tension, it is more important today to see the gift that our ethnicity is. Our ethnicity allows us to reflect Christ as an ambassador of the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). Christ, who was fully divine humbled himself to become human and live alongside us to bring us rescue. I love that Hebrews describes him as our great high priest who can empathize and relate to us because he walked, lived, loved, and died on this very same earth only to conquer sin and death to return to His rightful place next to the Father. In the same way that Christ can relate, our ethnicity provides us a unique opportunity to relate and minister to people around us. Growing up my group of friends were hispanic, asian, african american, and caucasian. We learned very quickly the similarities of our families which served as a bridge for me to relate to their lives. This bridge is a gift that God have us to engage our community with the goodness of the Gospel!
Learn Your Ethnic History
Our ethnic story serves as a means of motivation. As I learned about the British missionaries that came to India to share the gospel with my grandparents I was filled with a mix of emotions. If it wasn’t for this missionary couple, the Slaters, who came to villages surrounding Hyderabad, India to share Jesus to children, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I am amazed that such a huge part of my ethnic story involves a Caucasian missionary couple who not only lived in India but retired and died in the same village that they served the Lord for decades. Our ethnic story is important. For some of us it gives us a clearer picture of our own trajectory and journey. For others, it points to the saving grace of God. Who steps in, intervenes, and rescues us from a path of destruction and places us on a journey to His Kingdom (Col 1:13). Learn your ethnic story, and rejoice in the God who saves.