(This blog was originally published on Dan Crain’s blog Love Neighbor as Yourself)
Having lived in black community for five years and becoming good friends with people who are black, my perspective has changed as to how I see the world and issues of racial profiling.
A few years ago I had an experience with a young black friend in which he was standing at a bus stop with his laptop looking very worried. I pulled up next to him in my car and asked him what was going on? He informed me that he had just missed the bus and needed to get his laptop to the shop to get it fixed before it closed in a few minutes.
In my white ignorance I said, “Why don’t you just run it down there?” He then looked at me and said, “Are you crazy? If I run down the street with a laptop I will get stopped by a cop who thought I stole it and who knows what will happen next?”
A paradigm shift happened with me that day and continues to happen for me with the reality that for young black men the narrative is different. Many times they are guilty until proven innocent. They are constantly looked at as being suspicious. This is why black moms have the conversation with their sons of what to do “when” a police officer pulls them over.
Not, “if”, but “when.”
Because of my privilege I have never had to face such suspicions. I can walk into a restaurant, coffee shop, or on a sidewalk with never worrying about what people are thinking of me or that I am up to no good.
In order for us to live out the New Humanity as a result of Christ reconciling the world to himself, we must be willing to recognize that life is really different for certain kinds of people.
This is why it’s so important to be intentional about getting to know people who have different experiences in our country based on their skin color. After building a trusting relationship, start to ask them their thoughts and experiences of what it’s like to be a minority.
Begin to read books like “Divided by Faith” or, “Why are all the Black Kids Sitting together in the Cafeteria?” Also, look into people like Bethaney Herrington’s blog, The Reconciler’s Coalition: http://www.bethaneybree.com/reconcilers-coalition/
Most importantly, pray that Christ will guide us all into the New Humanity.