As Christians, it’s often easy to wax philosophically and religiously about any given topic under the sun that doesn’t personally touch our lives. Though this is a human characteristic, it is somehow amplified in Christian lives as if we are superhuman. This, in part, is our fault as we’ve traditionally portrayed ourselves as beyond reproach as we approach everyone else with fingers wagging and Bibles thumping except those under our own roofs. Yet, what happens when what’s in the world hits home?
My wife and I had a chance to meet an old frenemy a few weeks back: prejudice. As we approached the final week of school, our son received a less than glowing report consisting of a litany of offenses that completely caught us off guard. It’s not that we believe our son to be infallible. He has his fallibility just as much as the next little boy or girl. The thing that caught us off guard is that I’ve been a consistent presence in his class ALL year!
His teacher had weekly access to me to tell me anything she had observed him doing yet chose to bombard us at the end of an academically stellar year for our son. Though I was a weekly volunteer parent in her class, I never heard so much as a peep from her. Well… that’s not all the way true. On two separate occasions, she mentioned an incomplete assignment and login activity that both turned out to be false.
Our first reaction was one of trust. Though we trust our son, we chose to believe her account of his behavior in class because… why wouldn’t it be true?!! She stated that he had mocked her, been rude to a classmate, and either refused to do or complained out loud about class activities. After apologizing to her on his and our family’s behalf via email, we showed him the list of complaints to which he took a piece of paper and began writing out the full account of each story. Each account had a side that not only completed the picture but sounded like our son. The instances of him complaining out loud or allowing his body language to show his distaste for tasks lent room for us to have “the talk.”
We informed our son that the combination of the color of his skin when mixed with the typical reactions of his non-Black peers would be perceived differently. He was introduced to the concept of prejudice: a concept that I myself learned through an eerily similar encounter I had as a 3rd grader in a private Christian school. The only difference is that I remember telling my parents how my teacher was treating all SIX of the little Black boys and girls differently than our other friends when we tried participating in class. Our son broke out in tears as the weight of a biased world was felt for the first time upon his young shoulders. The weight that says, “You can’t react the same way as your peers react towards authority lest you find yourself singled out as a threat.”
Though the context of my experience lent itself to bias against his teacher, we showed him that despite the color of skin and/or swatch of faith that he wears on his sleeve, we cannot give in to our biases. The Christian shirts that our son chooses to wear to school (unlike his skin color which he CANNOT choose) reinforced the fact that we needed to pray for his teacher and the stronghold in which she may be unwittingly operating. The Word of God tells us that though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. The Word of God says that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness, principalities and the rulers of the darkness of this age.
That’s all good and fine until flesh and blood attacks our flesh and blood. Then what?!! What happened when we applied this knowledge to the parent-teacher conference to actually CONFRONT the issue?
Find out next month as Quiana weighs in with Mommy’s Reaction of OVERCOMING PREJUDICE: Black Boy Bias: PART II.
“Speaking LIFE to Unlock the POWER of GOD within YOU”
Reggie and Quiana Kee have known each other for over 20 years and were married in 2004. They were licensed to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in 2015 at the Kingdom Advancement Center in Elgin, Ill., where they currently reside. They have two children and are the co-founders of Ink Well Spoken and Manu Forti Ministries, which serve as the marketplace and faith-based programs for their motivational speaking initiatives.