Let’s Call It What It Is….

No, this isn’t some band wagon I’m jumping on.  This is basically the culmination of a lifetime of awareness and concern mingled with many years of up close and personal experiences.  I do not write this post lightly.  I’ve cried tears as I typed and it has taken me several days to pray about it, think through thoroughly, word it just right only to go back and delete paragraphs of it, pray more and re-write it all again.

I invite you to read with an open heart.  These are my very personal thoughts and I know they are from God’s heart to each of us.


Almost two years ago I shared about the only doll I had growing up.  She was a little African baby whom I lovingly named Bonnie-doll {after my mom}.  And yes, I still call her “Bonnie-doll”.

As a little girl, most people who knew my mom, would laugh when I told them her name.  It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I came to understand why they thought her name was so funny.  I loved my mom and I loved my doll.  It just made sense to my little girl heart.  I never saw Bonnie-doll as black.  She looked like me to me.

My sweet grandma had given Bonnie-doll to me on my 2nd birthday and she was my only dolly I ever had. Of course, I was completely smitten with Bonnie-doll!  She was my BFF, whom I took wherever I went and played with pretty much day and night until I was a teenager.

When I would go out I swaddled her in a pretty blanket.  Secretly I longed for everyone to think she was my real baby and I really, really was her mommy.  For real.  I was probably 10ish  before I realized that no one would really think she was real or that I was her mom.  I remember being completely devastated.

My Bonnie-doll

Bonnie-doll was a true friend, staying awake on many a sleepless, scary abuse-ridden nights.  She kept my wide-awake self company and never murmured a word of the secrets I told her.  A true friend.

I am convinced that Almighty God prompted my 
Grandma to buy a black baby doll for me, instilling 
in me an insatiable desire for children of other races.

The summer I was eight years old, living in Buffalo, New York our city was struck with horrible riots because of racism.  I remember being terrified of the rioting going on not far from our home and fearful for the lives of the Black Americans living in Buffalo.  When I heard grown-ups {not my parents} speaking of Black people unkindly I couldn’t understand why.  It just didn’t make sense to my little eight year old heart.

The riots were not far from where we lived and after they ended we got in our family car and drove along the city streets that once thrived and found them now completely boarded up.  I shuddered as I held Bonnie-doll tightly against my chest.

That same year, just before my ninth birthday, in November of 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King came to our city.  Two and a half thousand people crowded into Kleinhan’s Music Hall.  Dr. King delivered a speech and one of the lines from that speech has been quoted often:

“We are moving toward the day when we will 
judge a man by his character and
ability instead of by the color of his skin.”

I remember plainly the day I heard that Dr. King had been murdered.  I cried and cried.  I felt like the world had been thrown off its axel.

So to say that I was quite aware of race and prejudice while growing up is true.

But somehow as I grew older I thought that racial prejudice was being overcome.  That life had become kinder and gentler.  That Dr. King’s words from that speech in Buffalo were now coming to pass.

How dead wrong I was!!

We took our first pastorate in the rural south and found that racial prejudice was still rampant.  Dw and I immediately heard things and were sick to our stomachs and dumbfounded.   Like completely and totally aghast!!!

What the heck??

About that time we heard that the Ku Klux Klan was still operating in our area.  We thought we must have gone into a time-warp.  Could there really be such hateful people still alive??  People who sat in our pews? Seriously?

Over the years of pastoring in the Southeast we found ourselves standing up against racism, racial jokes, racial slurs and prejudice.  We were sickened and oh how God’s heart was grieved!!

Twenty years ago, at our second church we senior pastored in Charlotte, North Carolina we had a marquis out front.   The road it was on was a busy one.  Dw changed the sign often and one day put this on the sign:

It’s not a skin-thing.
It’s a sin-thing.

The next morning we found a huge black swastika painted across both sides of it.   The news station came out and did a piece about it.  Apparently we had touched something in the community.

As we planted our third church, this time in Virginia,  Dw invited his closest friend, a Black pastor in the area, to bring his congregation and other black congregations to share a joint service with our congregation.  We went on and did this more than once.

At that first service together, Dw got down on his knees with a pan of warm water and humbly asked his pastor-friend and those Black church members to forgive Whites who had sinned against Blacks and caused heartache and horrific pain with our sinful prejudicial words, attitudes, jokes and actions. Dw then gently washed his friend’s feet.  It was a very emotional and symbolic time.   We prayed with fervor that there would be a breaking in the supernatural of hundreds of years of racial hatred.

During those years of pastoring in the Southeast I imagined that prejudice was more or less just something left over from the devastating days of slavery and limited mostly to the area.

Then we moved across the country and God threw open the door for some precious
African treasures to come home to us.

My Bonnie-doll now in the flesh!!  
I was elated!

And suddenly I had the wake-up call of my life when I found that prejudice wasn’t just in the Southeast!! And it wasn’t just against teenagers and adults.  I shake my head as I type.  I was in disgusting shock!

In our own home schooling group at the very church we senior pastored we had an incident from another child because of “the skin color” of our children…I was so angry I whispered through gritted teeth to “Grab your stuff” as my kids and I hastily left the park that day.  It’s a good thing my self-control was working well or that hateful prejudiced kid would have probably had a big ol’ hunk of hair out of their head. 

At the Mom’s Only meeting a few weeks later, after much prayer,  I decided I better address the park situation as I had lost my desire to be part of our own home school group at all.  I did not point fingers, name names or accuse anyone of anything.  I merely, through tears, asked that each mom talk to their kids about racial prejudice eluding to the fact that there had been some comments made that were absolutely inappropriate about the color of my children’s skin.  I added that the home school group needed to be a safe place for my children.

Shortly thereafter one mother came to me and angrily told me that I had no right to say anything about prejudice!   And yes, she was serious and boy-oh-boy was she ever livid.  I could only figure that she was defending her own prejudicial heart!!

Eventually we brought Ruby home and moved to Phoenix.  I wrote about the incidence at the community pool against my little treasure and asked here what you would have done.

And that’s just a snippet of the things in our few shorts years with my own little ones!!

Finn – my grandtreasure

Note:  I wrote most of the above yesterday.  After writing it Dw, Ruby and I went on a little date together.  We did a bit of Christmas shopping and ended up having lunch at a local place.  The young man {probably about 20 years old} behind the counter ringing up our food order happened to be a very kind-hearted {handsome too!} Black young man.  He was gentle, polite, smiling, very kind-hearted and easy to talk to.

Our conversation, as he rang up my order, went like this:

He:   How has your day been?

Me:  It’s been great.  How about yours?

He:  My days has been great!  Thank you for asking.

Me:  My husband, daughter and I were able to get some Christmas shopping done.

He {laughing}:  But they’re not with you now – what happened?

Me:  Oh!!  She fell asleep in the car and so he’s waiting while I grab some food.   She actually is a beautiful little girl – she has gorgeous skin like yours.  Your skin is gorgeous, you know that right?

He:  I guess it depends.

Me:  It depends?   I’m confused.

He:   It depends on your perspective.  Most think the landscape is prettier all white.

Me:  Are you kidding me?  I tell my kids all the time that I love their skin.  My white skin is so boring!

He:  {His expression changed to one of sadness.} No, most people like all white landscape.

I was so taken back by the conversation that I was left speechless.   

My eyes filled with tears as I walked away.  

Here was a kind-hearted, gentle, easily smiling, hard working Black young man,
yet well aware that life was not the same for him.

What have we done friends??

That a kind-hearted, polite young man would think that the landscape would be nicer without him in it?

Are you kidding me??

My eyes have filled with tears as I recall his painful words.

Friends, we have to speak up!!  We cannot be silent any longer!

And if this post is getting under your skinand actually ticking you off…..lean in, listen up and listen good….

We must go to the only place that must be our final authority in all matters:  

The Bible

In Numbers 12 we find the story of Moses {Moses, the guy who God called to lead the entire Hebrew nation} who happen to marry a Cushite woman.  Go back and investigate all you want.  I’ve done that and guess what?  When Miriam {Moses’ sister} speaks out negatively about Moses’ wife Zipporah because of her black-African skin…God basically says, 

“Oh really?  
You like your White skin?  
Here – Let me make it even Whiter!!”  

And He allows Miriam to be instantly struck with Leprosy.   
White patches of horribly itchy skin all over her proud very light self.  

Lest you think God has changed His mind about how He feels on skin color, race and inter-marriage…read it again.  

God’s stamp of approval is on every skin color imaginable friends!

And by the way, it also means that His stamp of approval is also on every intermarriage imaginable.  Yes, it is.    Read it again.   God was not ticked at Moses for marrying a woman with Black skin at all!! He’s ticked at Miriam for disapproving and thinking herself to be better than Zipporah!!

Read it again and again and again if you disagree.   

Study it.  

Go back in the Hebrew and study it again.

Then repent!

Why is prejudice still alive?

Plain and simple:

It’s a heart issue and much of the church has
embraced racism, coddled prejudice and 
snuggled with hatred against blacks or others of
different skin color.

[Because as the church leads, so goes our nation.]

If the church {meaning you and me} had put our foot down years ago and spoken up loudly and said, “No more!  Not on my watch!” we would not see prejudice like it still is today.

And we wonder why there is looting and hatred and violence {none of which are okay} when decisions are handed down???  No doubt, because of the deep seated anger and frustration at how Blacks have been treated – going as far back as Moses’ wife in Numbers 12.

Liberty and Indie – another grandtreasure of mine

So what are we going to do?

*Repent– even if it’s just prejudice in your thoughts.

*Do not be silent anymore!! Speak up!!

*And honestly, I’m done being polite.  

*It’s time to call it what it is.

*Say it with me – It’s SIN!! 

*Talk to family, neighbors and friends.

*Don’t shrink back – Even if it means parting ways with racist family and friends!   {Good riddance!} It doesn’t matter if “that’s just the way our family has always been” it’s time to break the generational sin!!  

Moses’ sister Miriam wasn’t cured until there was some serious repenting!   And friends, across America and the world we have some serious repenting to do!

Share the story of Moses and Zipporah found in Numbers 12 and tell all you know what God thinks about prejudice, intermarriage and racism.

God didn’t ignore it and He definitely wasn’t kidding.  

And we can’t ignore it either.  

29 thoughts on “Let’s Call It What It Is….

  1. A beautiful post but just one teeny tiny note. Your white skin is NOT boring. While uplifting others, we don't need to bash ourselves. God gave us beautiful skin too. {Even if is does show more spider veins! hehehe!} Cue… Jesus loves the the little children…

    1. I appreciate what you are saying, but in my honest opinion, I think my skin color is boring compared to all the other gorgeous colors. But that's probably why I don't have white walls. I prefer COLOR!!

  2. Well, this comment may get long so settle in for a minute… I love this Linny! Like you I was naive to the prejudices still going on, like I thought it was back in the day and there were only a few people around really like that. It's funny how I came to that conclusion though, because I lived in Oregon and Idaho most of my life and there were very few people of other nationalities around. Still, they were my friends and I only saw them as people, never understood that there was still hatred towards them because of something they could never control.
    Fast forward to today where we live in the Bay Area (California) and there are many, many skin colors around. But predominantly still is white skin. My kids have not known anything different though and my twelve year old son has spent most of his life with his best friends being African American. His basketball team is also made up of all minorities, he being the only white kid on the team. The funny thing is He Doesn't Even Notice! What he did notice just last year, after playing in this league for 4 years, is that there is one team that is from a community not too far away that is all white. Another team, also from a community not far away that is all black. His mind just can't wrap around how this can be. Why only one skin color from these schools? What does it say about our communities still today?
    The riots have had him all upset too, but we've began to tackle it with prayer. I don't know if you know who Lecrae is but his Christian rapping voice has been a great influence in my son's life as well. He's been speaking out against the violence but he's also stated that years of hatred have been pent up and that we are naive to think that racism is dead. It's alive and well, hence the reason for all the violence.
    You're right, enough is enough! But how Linny? How do we speak out? Where? When? I'm with you. I would have said something to those parents at your church and I would have said something to that father who's little boy was clearly out of line with Elizabeth. I will speak up for my son's friends and as a family we will continue to teach our children that this is not okay. As a nation we should have grown past all this.

    (Oops… my comment got too long… part 2 coming up!)

  3. (Here's the rest…)

    I read a book once that was a real eye opener. It was not Christian, but I believe God actually wanted me to read it because of what I learned. The man was white and decided one day to conquer some of his fears. He decided to hitchhike across America with no money relying only on the kindness of strangers to get him by. He learned a few things along the way. The biggest one being America is still very much prejudiced. Along the coastal states there is a greater tolerance for other nationalities than any other parts that he encountered, but even those are still shrouded with prejudices in pockets all over the place. Had he been a black man, he never would have seen his goal and may have even lost his life along the way.

    It's interesting too that black athletes are some of the best of our day. And yet, we here of incidences like Donald Sterling, where he owns an NBA team, with talented black athletes, and they bring him in thousands of dollars, and yet he wouldn't be caught in their presence! REALLY! Why own the team if you can't associate with its players?! I wonder how many more sports team owners are there still out there with slave-owning mentality like that. It's sad.

    My son's best friend comes from a rough background, and lives with his great-grandma. He spends a lot of time with us and never in my life have I had my eyes open to the tv and movies we watched until he came to visit (and no, he did nothing to point this out to me either). White people, white people everywhere! With quite often black rolls, when there are some, being secondary. Now don't get me wrong, we love movies like Remember the Titans and 41, but why so many predominantly white rolls other than we're really not over all of the prejudices much as I thought.

    The point of all this? I'm not really sure (and I'm quite sure I've rambled too, so for that I apologize). But yes, I stand behind you. It's time for change, the kind of change that I only assumed had already happened. The kind of change that will unite us, and not destroy us. The kind of change only love can bring.

    1. Great thoughts RaD. Obviously, the only way I know to speak up is to speak up. That's why I will use this platform, since the Lord clearly gave it to me!

      One thing I would love to see, is that if you were in our home school group at our former church, that you would rise to the defense of my treasures…not me having to and then being reprimanded for it!! Right?? Cause the way I was treated for just saying that this needed to be a safe place was ridiculous!! But if I'd had 'reinforcements" it would have maybe made a difference. Probably not, but I wouldn't have felt so terribly alone!

      It seems that so many people today live to "not offend" and I'm not one looking for a problem ever, but I'm done being polite about prejudice!! It's time!! And when I say "Call it what it is"…I mean, Calling it Sin!! Period. Bless you my friend…thank you for weighing in and thank you for standing up and being heard!


  4. Amen and amen! As a little girl, I once nearly made my proper Southern grandmother choke on her food by wondering aloud why we had no black relatives. To my eight year old mind it was a problem and the solution was simple: I would solve this deficiency by marrying a Black man! Oh the look of horror on her face. Other relatives were scandalized when my parents kept granting my yearly Christmas requests for Black, Asian and Hispanic baby dolls. I'm so grateful that my parents made a conscious choice to reject the racism they saw growing up in the 60's and 70's and raise my brother and I around a diverse community of people. It set the stage for me being willing to listen when people talk about continued prejudice today. I know I still have a lot of listening to do, but the recent coverage of shootings, protests and riots in the U.S. has been breaking my heart. Praying that these events will open people's hearts (including my own) to be more vigilant in seeking peace and reconciliation. How the heart of God must grieve when we scorn the Image of God in others just because they don't look like us.

    1. It's so true – God's word clearly states that we were made in HIS image!! Arrogance and pride distorts that truth and twists it to make one think that only THEY were. So very nauseating and disgusting!

  5. My adopted daughter feelings were hurt very badly today by a group of girls. she was at a pool trying to practice for a life guard class she wants to take when they said some mean things to her.I dont know what was said because she was crying

    I breaks my heart that people can be so
    mean.God made our skin colors we don't get to choose. Love my multicolored family

  6. Amen! I agree 100% with you and have quoted that exact same portion of scripture to others to defend the truth many times. We have lost countless family members and friends in our lives for adopting the children God has called us to adopted as well. It makes me so sad because of what they are missing in their lives by not embracing and loving my wonderful children. But mostly that they are missing Jesus and don't know the Word of God and Gods heart. By the way, I had two dolls as a child and one was black. She was my favorite doll and I still have her today. I also believe God called me way back then to have a heart for the children I have in our family today. Praying for you and your family, Always, Blessings.

  7. My face is wet with tears. I'm a pasty white mom and three of our six children are beautiful shades of chocolate. Our seventh child waits in Africa for our government to approve his adoption. Racism has always broken my heart but now more than ever. It's wicked. My children believe their color is a gift. And it is. Oh how I wish we could protect them from the meanness they will eventually taste. We can only prepare them by teaching them they are HIS treasures- regardless of foolish and cruel people. Thank you for blogging this.

  8. The other night I was talking with my beautiful 7 year old Habesha daughter. She is stunningly beautiful with gorgeous brown skin. She was talking about babies and if babies are white from brown mommies, white mommies etc. I asked her if she wished she had white skin like mommy. She said Yes, she wished she had white skin like mommy because brown wasn't pretty but white was. It breaks my heart that she does not see her own beauty created by God for God, even at 7 the sin of this world has led her to believe Satan's lies. Her wounded little heart cannot see what God sees and what her Mommy and Daddy see. We pray for God's healing in her life and redemption for what has been taken from her! Thank you for this post, it spoke deeply to this momma's heart.

  9. Sadly, this issue is not confined to whites. I am in no way attempting to excuse or deflect attention from white perpetrators' despicable words and actions. That said, perhaps it would be accurate to rephrase your statement to read "It's a heart issue and much of the church has embraced racism, coddled prejudice and snuggled with MANKIND'S HATRED AGAINST OTHERS OF DIFFERENT SKIN COLORS (or different culture, customs, language, etc., etc.)

  10. Amen and thank you for your words of wisdom and your honesty over a sad situation. Many years ago, when people were not as smart or knowledgeable, it could be rationalized why discrimination against the black community existed. But now? It is just complete and utter ignorance that some cannot look past a skin color to really see a person for what they are. It is not just the black community that suffers….it is our world that suffers. We would be a much much happier and better place if people could embrace differences and love everyone, regardless of their skin color.

    1. We see this all to often. When I brought my son home and took him to church….wow I just wasn't expecting people to flat out ignore him. I remember leaving and the Lord spoke to me that that is why he was with me to break down walls. It still makes me sick and the comments as well. I could write a book. Like….oh I could never do that…uhh what adopt a precious baby and love him. Sheesh or hey my friend might adopt one of those WHAT???? Or the comments my kids have had from kids. One thing God made me aware of among many other things is people especially Christians will be all like yeah I am not prejudice and then then get neighbors of different race or as one man once said to me I guess I am okay with that but I wouldn't want my daughter dating one. Yeah that is when the truth hits the fan!!! Uggghhh.

  11. Bravo bravo, bravo, Linny! I too thought it was over, only to discover that it wasn't. Shocking and disgusting. And not too long ago, people were actually quoting the Bible in support of racism too. Wonderful to see you using your influence and speaking out like this. (By the way, I also had a beautiful black doll I loved. Her name was Sally. No idea why at this point!!)

  12. I was just like you… Begged my mom for the "beautiful" dark skinned dolls and didn't care about the "boring" white skinned dolls. I thought my super pale skin was just so plain so why would I want a doll that looked like me?? I always said I wanted a family that had every skin color possible because wouldn't that be so beautiful? If only everyone could adopt that wonderful childlike innocence about race… The world would be a better place!

  13. I appreciate this. My husband and I named our first born son after a Kenyan missionary. I hope that by seeing his video, knowing he's named after a man from a different culture/color/etc., we can just get past all that nasty color business and just see people. And we thought it was a sweet stake in the ground by naming our very white boy (seriously pale like his daddy ;)) after someone with extremely dark skin. I don't understand all the spiritual implications, but I know they are there. Upside down kingdom. Love it.

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