Jennifer Z. Major
"Why is it always about race with you?"
That was the question spat at me one winter day a couple of years ago. I was speaking with someone closely acquainted with my career, about one of my books, and I was deeply offended.
Here's the thing, in any creative profession, there's always going to be someone who has power over your work. Whether it's a buyer, an observer, or a patron, there will always be those who can change the trajectory of your work because even though you may be, as this person said once, "so loved", you may also be a royal pain in the conscience.
If not the conscience, the business and marketing plan.
Now, my readers know that I rarely discuss people who are close to me. This is no one's blog but mine, thus, there are few words here but mine. That being said, I had a bit of an unusual upbringing and enjoyed the blessing of more than one culture growing up. I also attended an urban church in a huge city and knew people who'd come from all over the world.
I know what it means to encounter new experiences and be humble enough to learn from them.
I always thought the phrase "I don't see colour" was next-level stupid because how can a person ignore the vibrant beauty right there in front of them? How can someone ignore the vast wealth of wisdom and knowledge, held out like gifts, from other cultures?
People, no one grows by looking at the same thing everyday for their entire existence.
But before I go further?
Forgiveness does not equal absolution, nor does it equal accepting that which needs forgiving. It is a difficult experience but allows the person who was wronged to move forward and beyond the hurt caused by the person doing the offending.
And it is hard.
Yes, I've forgiven the person who asked that utterly reprehensible question that crossed sooooo many lines, the first being my personal life.
No, I have not, and never will, forget. Because to forget would open the door to trusting someone who knowingly hurt and disrespected another child of God solely on skin colour.
Professionally, I am VERY happy and thankful for where I am now, and for the people I work with.
Now, more on that rude and ignorant question.
Actually, I'll answer it with a question of my own.
First, I am fully aware that not everyone gets along for a multitude of reasons, and no one on Earth views everything in his or her sphere the exact same way, so let's get culture, nationality, politics, religion and behaviour out of the equation.
So, to that person, and millions of others who ask that question every single day?
Why does the colour of someone's skin determine their worth?
If you can't answer without getting angry, look up Micah 6:8.
Original painting by C.D. Inman.