“If you have the same skin, you can play together but if you don’t have the same skin, you can’t play together.”
~”Kids On Race: The Hidden Picture” with Anderson Cooper
Anderson Cooper’s report serves as a reminder of the power of parenting and the need to teach our children about cultural differences in a manner that is informed by our Christian conviction to love as God loves– unconditionally. The need of children to be accepted and to receive the approval of their parents can have devastating effects when that approval is based on such harmful practices as racism and prejudice. It is my prayer that parents would not use their position as nurturer, their role as primary teacher to enforce old hatreds and unfounded traditions of prejudice and separatism.
Also, this discussion of race by these future adults and parents is an occasion for examination and reflection. How were you taught to relate to persons of other “races” as a child? Were persons of different cultures “allowed” in your home? How were good and bad people described or identified? Was the stranger/ foreigner/ alien/ outsider defined by the social coloring of skin? Did you feel that you would be punished or that your parent or guardian would be disappointed or upset if you chose to play with someone who was not a member of the same socially constructed race? How have these teachings, this racially informed upbringing determined your relationships as an adult?
How does it impact the practice of your faith today? For example, do you attend a church where most or all of the attendees are of the same culture or socially constructed race? Do you talk to your children about race and if so, how? Is your discussion of race informed by your Christian beliefs and if so, how?
We must be mindful of the lessons that we teach our children and I would encourage us to examine the ones that we have received from our parents. Be assured that it is the approval of our Divine Parent that matters most and God has no favorites (Romans 2.11).