Kevin Pringle is someone I admire and respect for his devotion to Jesus, his family, and to sharing the love of Jesus. He has been a pastor and currently has a ministry of traveling to proclaim the good news about Jesus. Kevin is available to speak in churches. Let me know in comments if interested.
I asked Kevin if I could interview him and he agreed. I am so thankful that he is doing this with me. We had a wonderful Zoom chat Wednesday night and discussed questions for our interview. I am sharing his answers unedited because I want you to hear HIS WORDS and HIS EXPERIENCE!!!
I will post the questions each Friday for the next several weeks. My hope is that by reading Kevin’s answers, it will help us to understand the experience of our Black neighbors, friends, and co-workers.
The first question Kevin answered is:
When were you first aware that you are black and how did it affect you?
I grew up in a small town of about 33,000 people, where over 90% of the population were white. My neighborhood was one of the poorest and most diverse. Seeing individuals of different shades really never came into question until, as a first grader, I was unknowingly insulted.
As I was walking to school I came to a crosswalk patrolled by two student crossing guards. I’m not certain how old they were but in order to be a patrol-boy you had to be in at least 5th grade. Both kids were white and myself, being very young naive I thought nothing of their color. I cordially said, hello to the one nearest me and quickly realized his disdain for me.
Instead of returning my greeting he turned up his lip as if to be disgusted. He then looked me up and down and said, “Why don’t you go home and wash your dirty skin!”
At that age I didn’t understand the nature of evil but I certainly felt it! His words were loud enough for the other guard to hear and garner a laugh from him. I didn’t fully understand his mocking or “suggestion” but I definitely felt the weightiness of the offense; only because it was provoked by the darkness in his eyes and deep, angry tone in his voice coupled by the laughter of the other kid!
I sat in school the entire day wondering if I washed long and hard enough if it would work… I recall getting home that afternoon and wanting to take a bath. It was the longest bath I had ever taken! So much so, it provoked my mom’s curiosity. As she inquired, I explained to her that I was trying to get the black off!!!
Deeply saddened by my reply she was forced to have a conversation with me that she hoped she could delay. A conversation neither of us were ready for.
I learned an extremely valuable lesson that day. My mom, bravely explained that there were certain things about me that would never change and I needed to be proud of who I was created to be. She also exclaimed that as a black person, I couldn’t be average. She admonished that in order for me to be accepted and to have success in our country I would have to strive for greatness!
Those words have never left me!!!
Thank you for reading. Look for part 2 next Friday. God Bless.