I have a big name. Starlette. Just thinking about the meaning of my name gives me the motivation to get out of bed when I would rather hide under it, tired of being busy, tired of moving and being. It is inspirational and I feel that when my name is said, I am called to perform. One of the meanings of starlet is “brilliant performer.” I am not only called to act but to act exceptionally well. I must dazzle and shine. I don’t have to be good; I have to be really good. By the way, this name does not assist me in my recovery from people- pleasing but the show must go on and I digress.
The meanings that race has associated with me–despite my name–are to say the least inaccurate. The words cause me to shrink, to hide, to duck out of life and relationships, to not perform well because it has lowered the expectation and shortened the meaning of me. Race does not call me forth but puts its hands on my shoulders and asks me to quiet down, to scoot over, to bow out, to put my light under a bushel (Matthew 5.15).
God forbid. I would spontaneously combust.
No. Race’s presence in my life is an annoying interruption, a nagging, unwanted, unnecessary reminder that my life as a socially colored “black” person is limited, restricted, intentionally lacking, faithfully denied and condoned by God, justified because of my appearance.
Race doesn’t call my name but calls me a color. Black. I am a member of the racial rainbow but God’s promises, God’s covenant is not connected to it. It’s no divine sign.
So, how am I to perform that exactly? It’s not a big name. It doesn’t come with big shoes to fill.
I can see that this name, this category is not enough, that it does not fit me. I can tell by looking at it that the social construct of race is too tight and confining; yet, it is supposed to be one size fits all. But, it doesn’t.
Can’t you see it? It doesn’t make me look good. It doesn’t make me feel big, expansive, free. What do you think? You know my name. Does race make me look small?