Once upon a time, I was surrounded by a loving supportive (mostly white) Christian community. But I did a terrible thing. I committed the unforgivable sin. I am black and I willfully, intentionally, sinfully chose to stay black in spite of their best efforts to fix me.
Oh, it was all happy times in the beginning. They could pity my poor inner-city upbringing and lack. It helped them feel better about themselves and assured them, they were living white~err~ I mean, right. They were very generous and supportive, reaching out to my family with blessings and gifts. They were happy to share the white~err~right way of living.
These are good people. I have no issues with who they are and what they do. White people do white very well. I accepted them without judgment or expectation. Not so, the other way around.
Our problems began when I didn’t allow overstepping of my personal boundaries. It caused a great deal of confusion. How dare I not submit to my betters? How dare I not bow to supremacy disguised as God’s will? Clearly, I defied the system and acted as if I could think for myself. I was a heretic; a white-privilege heretic. I shamelessly used words like no and stop… It made them want to pray for me.
They patiently tried to teach me what to think and what to do and what to say, and how to respond, and how to behave and, and, and… I didn’t listen. They wanted me to be silent and agreeable (especially the silent part). They said and did things to me that were wrong, but I was supposed to accept it because…well, just because. They pushed their agendas and when I pushed back, they determined the problem was me. The truth is, I saw things from a different perspective. The non-privileged, not their way, not allowed perspective (It wasn’t of God).
This good Christian community didn’t know what to do with me. I was behaving in a manner inconsistent with the White-Way Handbook. The possibility of my pigmentation playing a part in our differing opinions was not considered. Instead, they concluded, it was because I was rebellious, argumentative, problematic, oppressed, in need of a deliverance, and too attached to my roots. In other words –not servile enough.
To be fair, there were a handful of people who loved me exactly as I am. Sadly, they couldn’t escape unbreakable rule #52. Rule 52 says: If you can’t say something white~err~I mean nice, serve coffee cake and pretend nothing is wrong. Because, if you can’t eat coffee cake while pretending nothing is wrong, the problem is you.
The ones who were full of…coffee cake, went on to attack my husband for not disciplining me properly (They wanted this century’s equivalent of the whip implemented). He’s white. He should have known better. They couldn’t say it’s his fault I was out of control (according to the handbook, you can’t blame a white person). It was decided, I somehow forced my husband to rebel (bewitched, henpecked, tied him up in the basement…). That he could think for himself and had worked through the racial issues they were facing was never a consideration.
They had to take drastic measures. They issued me ultimatums. ‘Do things the white-way or else…’
My inner-city upbringing left me underwhelmed with their scare-tactics. We chose, or else.
So that good Christian community had to give up and admit defeat. I was going to stay black, after all.
I love happy endings.