I like how my pastor always says that the bible is full of stories of real people dealing with real life issues. One real life issue the bible deals with is racism and prejudice. Paul wrote more than once about it in his epistles, letters. to churches. In Colossians 3 he wrote:
Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
In the early church there tended to be divisions at times between Jew and Gentile. In the Jewish mind at that time, there were only two groups of people, Jews and Gentiles. Jews even the ones who had become Christians, tended to be prejudiced against the Gentiles.
Another division was between slave and free. Slavery was common among all the cultures back then. Slaves would be face being looked down on by the free people and treated as less than.
Paul addressed this issue and what he wrote was a revolutionary idea at the time that in the church there were no Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free. There is only one way to become a Christian and part of the church, which is to come to faith in Christ asking him for forgiveness of sins. We come to the cross realizing our great need to forgiveness. At the cross, we are all equally sinners. It is a humbling thing to realize.
Paul wrote of how we should treat each other in the church addressing inner attitudes. He sums it up with love saying love binds all of the virtues together. It is a thought Martin Luther King some 2,000 years later emphasized when he said:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”
Imagine the impact on the world if we who follow Jesus lived this out in the church and throughout our lives. We who follow Jesus should be to first to reject prejudice realizing prejudice and racism are sins against our fellow human beings and against God who created us. In our minds, there should only be two groups of people. those who know Jesus and those who out of love we want to see come to know Jesus.
‘“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” ‘ Ecclesiastes 1:2 NIV Tonbridge, UK. What a statement? Be angry but do not sin For sin leads to death This has never sounded so true in my heart until this week Can I tell I had a fab weekend I don’t do camping, so […]
The turmoil over racism has been so disheartening to me not just this past year. It has been since I was a child and wondered why anyone would want to harm one of my childhood heroes, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, when he was killed in April 1968.
Jesus is our creator. He created us with his artistic brush. When I think of the different cultures I interact with, I am reminded of flowers. Not all flowers look the same, but they are beautiful and is an expression of the artistry of God. The same is true of us people. We are an expression of not only the artistry of God, but of God himself.
So how does Jesus view us?
Jesus views all people as fitting into one of two groups, those who know him as their Savior and those who do not.
In John 3:17 and 18 Jesus said:
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
Jesus does NOT evaluate people based on race or ethnicity. He sees all of us as people who are in need of him our Savior. He loves all people equally.
That is how we should see everyone we meet. We should see every person as a person Jesus loves and died for.
I am so thankful that Temi has done this interview series with me. I admire her for how much she has overcome and accomplished.
This is part 4 of my interview with Temi of christianmommas.com. In Part 1 she shared about experiencing discrimination. In Part 2 she shared about hardships as an international student. In Part 3 she shared about what inspired her to write her wonderful book A Christian Mother’s Creed. Today she shares about intergenerational effect of slavery and racism.
Please explain generational effect of slavery and racism. Do you have concerns for your children?
There is a video below summarizing the content of this post. You may watch the video or simply read this post.
Do I have concerns for my children?
I do not have concerns about my children experiencing racism because I have handed this concern over to God and I make a conscious effort to meditate on the things that can go well with my children, not what can go wrong for them. Meditating on what can go wrong triggers fear.
I do not expect my children to feel the effects of slavery because my ancestors did not experience slavery. In fact, my grandfather was a prince. Humanly speaking, I am from a royal family. More importantly the Bible reminds me of my royalty as a child of God. This is what I am transmitting to my children. If Christian parents understand their royal identity, I believe they will also be empowered to help their children think and act like royalties.
Get Over It!
I will confess that I used to wonder why African-Americans cannot get over racism and slavery. I used to say things have changed and slavery is a thing of the past. I used to wonder why African-Americans could not stop worrying and expressing concerns about racism. I immigrated to the United States believing it is the land of opportunities especially for those who are citizens. It was irritating to find some citizens complaining. My American dream was to become an American citizen, I achieved it and started enjoying the benefits. So I expected African Americans to get over it, quit talking about slavery and racism as barriers.
Slavery and Racism are Traumatic Experiences
As a perinatal, infant, and early childhood mental health consultant, I constantly educate myself on things that can interfere with the development of a healthy parent-child relationship. Also, in the course of my doctoral studies, I became more aware of the intergenerational transfer of trauma. One day, it dawned on me that I never thought of slavery and racism as traumatic experiences. Trauma is the reason African-Americans cannot easily “just got over it!”
Just like child abuse, divorce, war, and other traumatic events can affect generations, slavery and racism can affect those who did not directly experience slavery.
According to the American Psychological Association, trauma is any experience that causes significant fear, helplessness, and confusion. They can have long lasting negative effects on attitude, behavior and functioning. (paraphrased)
Slavery is a helpless situation. The ancestors of many African-Americans were forced into slavery. They were helpless and hopeless. Being sold into slavery must have been confusing. Racism also causes confusion. How do you make sense of being treated less than human because of your race or skin color?
The sad thing is that these traumatic experiences can be transferred. Some studies show trauma transmission can go down three generations. While slavery and segregation ended years ago, the effects of these traumatic experiences are still being felt because parents pass trauma to their children. Racism has not ended, so the trauma is still being transmitted.
It was difficult to find several articles on the intergenerational transfer of trauma within the context of slavery and racism. However, I found several articles on the intergenerational transfer of trauma among holocaust survivors and it helped me better understand the intergenerational transfer of trauma.
If Holocaust survivors transmitted their traumatic experiences to their children and grandchildren. African-American slaves also subconsciously transmitted their traumatic experiences down their lineage.
Epigenetics and Psychological Transfer of Trauma
Studies show that trauma can be transmitted genetically. This reminds me of the saying that “it is in the blood”. While scientists are yet to completely figure out how this process occurs, they acknowledge that it exists. Even the Bible acknowledges this fact. The fall of humanity through the fall of Adam and the redemption of humanity through the blood of Jesus are perfect examples.
What about psychological transfer of trauma. As stated earlier traumatic experiences change human behavior, attitude and functioning. The way parents think about life reflects in their words and actions. Children naturally learn from parents as their first teachers. The trauma of racism and slavery can make one fearful and distrustful of those in authority.They can manifest in form of hate, resentment, feeling disadvantaged, feeling misunderstood, slavery mentality, heightened sense of racism and more.
The effects are endless and their manifestation often depend on how those who directly experienced these traumatic events dealt with their experience. Traumatic experiences impact how parents raise their children and many times, they teach their children to deal with life the same way they dealt with trauma.
So, I have presented some problems. I have provided evidences that racism and slavery have intergenerational effects parents need to be aware of.
As a perinatal, infant, and early childhood consultant, I am actively involved in breaking the cycle of intergenerational transfer of trauma. Whether it be slavery, racism, child abuse, divorce, etc. Through postpartum support, emotional and spiritual preparation for parenthood, my company helps parents reflect on things that can interfere with the parent-child relationship. We help them become aware of subconscious and inherited child rearing practices that can affect the healthy development of their children.
Please visit littleonespiecmh.com to learn how we can support your parenting journey and put an end to the intergenerational transfer of trauma.
Our children deserve the best of us. They deserve to live a trauma-free life. African-American parents deserve the opportunity to raise their children without fear of racism.
Thank you for your time.
John 8:36 (KJV)
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Lev–Wiesel, R. (2016;2007;). Intergenerational transmission of trauma across three generations: A preliminary study. Qualitative Social Work : QSW : Research and Practice, 6(1), 75-94. doi:10.1177/1473325007074167
Yehuda, R., & Lehrner, A. (2018). Intergenerational transmission of trauma effects: Putative role of epigenetic mechanisms. World Psychiatry, 17(3), 243-257. doi:10.1002/wps.20568
Denov, M., Fennig, M., Rabiau, M. A., & Shevell, M. C. (2019). Intergenerational resilience in families affected by war, displacement, and migration: “It runs in the family”. Journal of Family Social Work, 22(1), 17-45. doi:10.1080/10522158.2019.1546810
I am so thankful that my sweet daughter in Jesus-Temi- agreed to let me interview her for my Let Their Voices Be Heard series. Temi shared her story with us during a blogger chat and I was so impressed I told her that I wanted to adopt her. I won’t tell you her story. As she answers the questions-unedited- you will learn more about her.
Temi’s blog is christianmommas.com. It is a wonderfull blog where she shares about being a mom, her faith and more. Temi is also an author of the book A Christian Mothers Creed.
Have you experienced discrimnation because you immigrated to the U.S.?
How did you deal with it?
I would like to thank papa Matt for the opportunity to share my story, journey, and experience with you all. If discrimination means being made to feel like an outsider, then yes I have and I still experience discrimination.
Sadly, my most recent experience with racial/immigration discrimination happened in my local church.
A guest minister called out people for prayer and I went just because my spouse asked me to. When the guest minister looked at me, he said “you are not from here”. I replied, “I live here”. He went on to ask where I lived before moving here, I said “Germany”. I had just moved back to the U.S. after living in Germany for four years. Military service took me to Germany.
The guest minister went on to ask where I lived before moving to Germany. I lived in Texas before moving to Germany but I did not tell him because it suddenly dawned on me that he wanted to know where I was born. So, I told him I was from Nigeria.
I thought there was going to be a correlation between my medical condition and his persistence about knowing where I was born. There was no correlation. I came for prayer only to be unnecessarily probed about where I immigrated from. Even worse, the minister did not address the medical condition I came to receive prayer for.
I was wearing an African print dress, so I was not ashamed to be associated with Africa. However, being told “you are not from here” was not necessary. Is it impossible to be African-German or simply be an American wearing an African print dress? In the world of that guest minister, maybe not.
Honestly, I was offended and wanted to quit attending my newly found church. However, I forgave the guest minister for my own sake. His action was rooted in ignorance and I realized the enemy was trying to hinder my prayers with the spirit of offense. I still attend my local church and I am glad I did not leave. God wanted my family to be established there, but the enemy did not want it to happen. The ability to analyze situations and human behavior from a spiritual perspective makes it easy to forgive.
Spiritually, discrimination is designed to sow seeds of bitterness, hate, unforgiveness, and rejection. When we allow these seeds to grow, we become victims of discrimination. When we see dont allow these seeds to grow, we defeat everything discrimination is truly designed to accomplish.
My prayer is that we will all be like Jesus, the one who is rich in love and mercy. He prayed for the forgiveness of those who mocked and crucified him (Luke 23:34). Some may say it was easy for Jesus to forgive because he was “Jesus”. In Acts 7:58-60, Stephen asked God to forgive those who were stoning him to death. The Holy Spirit in Stephen gave him the extraordinary ability to forgive. That same Spirit is ready to help us forgive, see through the eyes of love and compassion. We can forgive those who offend and hate us by asking God to help us.
First of all I want to thank Pastor Kevin Pringle for doing this 5 part interview with me. I respect him as a man of God, a godly husband and father. I admire his willingness to share his story with me and my readers.
If you missed the first four parts, Part 1 Kevin shared about experiencing racism as a child, Part 2 Kevin shared about facing racism in the church, Part 3 Kevin shared about what the church can do about racism, and Part 4 Kevin shared about what individual Christians can do.
This one is deeply personal for him as you will see in the question. I have shared all 5 parts unedited.
Again, THANK YOU KEVIN!!!
As a husband whose wife is white and a father with children who are ‘mixed’ what concerns do you have for your wife and for you children?
I intentionally reserved this question for last! The reason being, is centered around the uniqueness of our family dynamic and the pride I take in who we are now and who we are becoming. At the inception of my wife and I’s marriage I sincerely believed our children could experience the best of two worlds. My wife and I were intentional about ensuring our kids understood they have a white heritage as well as one that is black. We wanted them to know and understand they were equally white as they were black and race identity, in their case, was at the very least trivial.
I must admit, I was naive in my thinking… Unfortunately, the world around my kids does not see them as part black/part white. They only see them as black! As a result, my children identify as black. I’m not overly concerned they see themselves this way but I am concerned that the world does. My wife and I have two sons and two daughters. My concern for my sons comes naturally because statistically, it is far more dangerous raising a black male in our country than any other race (hence the reason we began this discussion 5 weeks ago).
There are realities I’ve had to teach my sons about being black in America that I likely would have been able to bypass had they been identified as white. When my oldest son was in high school he had to deal with racial discrimination from teachers and administrators. I don’t want to go into detail about those incidents but it was clear he was “profiled” because he was one of a few black students in a predominately white school!
My 2 daughters, unfortunately, faced abrasive and derogatory slurs from peers that left them defenseless. My opinion may be biased but I consider my daughters as two of the most beautiful women I know. However, they have been told they were pretty for “Black Girls”! Why does pretty have color as a disclaimer? Beauty is beauty regardless of color!
In regards to the concerns I have for my wife, there are few! I say this because Beth is one of the strongest people I know. She is clear and unwavering in her choice to love me!!! My concern for her rests in her concern for our children. She was never to tolerate anyone profiling or stereotyping her kids! My wife has a tenacity that is unmatched and offers me tremendous strength in my weaknesses. In many areas she is less naive than myself. She understood far better than myself that our children would be identified as black. She also knew she would suffer judgement when with me or when she was with our kids without me.
There was a time when our kids were small, she was out with the four of them without me. She was approached by an individual and they ignorantly assumed she was a single mother that had been abandoned by their black dad! It goes without saying this did not go well… I would love to share her response but it would need to be censored, LOL! Needless to say the individual was unlikely to make that mistake again!
As we close our discussion I want to thank all of those who have engaged in our conversation and shared their replies…Blessings to you all and I hope you’ve been encouraged!
Serving, teaching, helping people from so many different countries and cultures the past twenty years have given me a multitude of blessings. One of the big ones is appreciating how important it is to not judge by appearance and not buy into stereotypes. Getting to know a person for the individual they are is so important.
So what do we see when we see someone walking down the sidewalk who is different than we are?
What do we see when a young black man walks down the sidewalk? Do we see the person or do we see a stereotype?
Perhaps a person might assume a young black man listens to rap and hip hop music only. Yesterday I watched some videos on Youtube. Two blessed me so much. They are videos by young black men reacting to Opera. Yes- OPERA. I want to share their videos with you because they can help break stereotypes. Please watch these videos and be blessed. Please watch them and let stereotypes wash away.
I am so appreciative of Pastor Kevin Pringle taking time each week to answer one of the questions for this series.
If you missed the previous posts, Part 1 Kevin shared about experiencing racism as a child. Part 2 Kevin shared about experiencing racism in the church. Part 3 Kevin shared about what the church can do in regards to racism.
Today’s question deals with what individual Christians can do. It is my conviction that we as individuals have a biblical mandate to speak up for those under the viciousness of racism. I get that from Proverbs 31:
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy
What can individual Christians do to be allies for the Black Community?
This is such a vital question and I want to make sure l offer a thoughtful response and one that offers sensitivity as well. I find it interesting that for decades churches have invested greatly in foreign missions. Don’t get me wrong, I love the heart behind this sentiment. However, there is a mission field that has existed around us our entire lives!
Generally, Blacks have lived in the poorest communities in the major cities of our country. There are more Black men incarcerated than are in college and that number has grown exponentially since the Nixon administration. It became even more exacerbated under the Reagan and Clinton administrations.
Blacks in general make less income working the same jobs as whites. Even in sports where Blacks represent the majority of those that play, such as football and basketball, they are the least represented in front office positions.
I mention this only because many Christian brothers and sisters may misunderstand this reality. The aforementioned is meant to serve as a launching point for understanding. With that said, I want our Christian brothers and sisters to understand that the starting point for success is different culturally. Those of us that are black know the starting line is in a different position than those of our white counterparts. That’s not being mentioned as an excuse but simply as a hope for those wanting to help to gain empathy.
Back to the heart of this week’s question, I believe it is important for us to see each other as brothers and sisters regardless of race. If we can begin to gain this perspective it changes the narrative significantly!
As the youngest of six children I always knew I could count on my siblings whenever I faced trouble. If I got picked on or bullied from someone outside my family undoubtedly one of my brothers would come to my defense and rescue me. As Christian we need to realize there is a huge, ripe mission field in our backyards that has been significantly under served. It is time that we as the Body of Christ come to the defense and rescue our fellow brothers and sisters that represent that community that is Black!
Good Morning Gorgeous, It’s a brand new day. A fresh start. A new day to rise and take a serious inventory of the batons that we are passing onto the next generation. What are we handing off to our children? A few questions every person who is a parent or an influencer/mentor of a younger […]