Identity Thief

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On an average winter day, or so it may seem. A baby in an airliner of an average fight, or so it may the seem, is not afforded the freedom make a fuss, as toddlers often do. Two year old  Jonah Bennett was struck across the face and defamed by a racial slur by Joe Rickey Hundley a 60 year old executive and a member of the dominant culture. The baby was forced to pay the price for being a person of color. Henceforth the identity thief of colorism has both literally and figuratively struck again. Was Hundley a Lone Wolf or was he given permission of approval by the atmosphere of our present society?

The Identity thief waist no time to categorize, marginalize and dehumanize it’s victims. Whether we are speaking of the colonial times, reconstruction, the days of Jim Crow or the  tenuous times in which we live today, the identity thief frightens people to run far away from any identification with people of color or the stigma that goes along with it.

This sentiment can be no clearer than in the dark side of the present multiracial surge which began in the late 20th century. During a documentary in CNN’s Black in  American Series, there was a focus on some of the various struggles with racial identity  that young people deal with. One particular young lady was really torn about her African American heritage and whether she should identify with that part of herself.

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“I look at Nayo who is tortured and squirming in her chair about her identity. The question is: Is it you who decides you are black or society?”  “I have a similar background but my parents were clear and articulate. My experience was almost the opposite of hers. Growing up: we were black!
I’m grateful that my parents helped us form an identity – they gave it to us. They helped us to navigate society.
I never thought bi-racial was an identity. My identity is black. I thought (the fact that one parent was white and another was black) that it was a math equation of how I came to be.

Both girls (profiled in the documentary) would say I get to decide (what I am). But the fact is that the decision has been made for them.
Our documentary isn’t there to give you the answers. We want to raise the questions about how we value and judge each other on skin color. We’re not post-racial and there is a real penalty – the data shows – for skin color. Yet some people still don’t believe that.” “Who is black in America?Solidad  O’Brien

Colorism cuts so deeply into society that it has so many people second guessing themselves. From cotton fields to the kitchen, the color struck Harlem’s Cotton Club days to to the mythical Blue vein church of Appalachia, there remains the confusion of faces. This is not an  exclusively African American heritage issue. It is one of the many paradoxical phenomenons of the great American experiment.

This experiment  has developed into the most diverse nation the world has ever seen.
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We all remain in lack when we only see our world through a dominated cultural lens. For too many years the identity thief was hobbled the potential of this rich diversity to develop a genuine and lasting synergistic pattern. This pattern is one that all can have human identity that involves what is below our three layers of skin.

But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart  1 Samuel 16:7 The Message (MSG)

Christ’s followers are challenged to reintroduce this pattern which was established in Acts chapter two. Bridging the great cultural divide between all people groups (the tapestry of nations) in this country will bring about a new kind of unity, one of equality and not of arrogance. This is our foremost purpose for “This time”

Kevin Robinson Executive Director of Accord1

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