On a nice hot sunny humid afternoon, a cold colorful lemonade down the thirsty throat would be a sell and perfect quench for a thirst. In my case, I was moved by the sight of two young kids, raising their hands and inviting people to buy lemonade from a small, colorful, happy decorated stand on their house driveway…however, it was scary for them!!
After a great Sunday service, I got into my car and set, ready to drive home feeling inspired and hopeful for the week. I checked the temperature since it felt like I was in a sauna in my own car. It was seventy-three degrees Fahrenheit. “What a glorious day” I said out loud as I rolled down my windows allowing a breeze through my windows, as the hot air rolled out of my car and the sweet wind of cold air took my breath away. I got onto the main road to drive home jamming to some Jamaican reggae tunes.
Nice music, dancing in my car, windows rolled and the sight of nice houses around a wealthy neighborhood is enough for my great Sunday afternoon drive. I had done this drive before, but this time round, something was different – a sight of two young kids selling lemonade. In such a neighborhood, the only buyers would be people driving. I have a very soft spot for kids, having worked in children ministry for five years. In what looked like an invitation from the kids, I turned my car around, got a twenty dollar bill and headed towards their stand.
“Two kids in the street on their driveway raising money is so adorable,” I thought to myself. I have spent most of my life raising money for mission trip, food, school, among many other projects and because of the boldness and the lessons involved in raising money, my heart for giving has even growing bigger. Therefore, as I grabbed the twenty dollar bill, I knew for sure that I was going to support the kids and not just buy the fifty cent lemonade expecting change. There I was. I parked my car, opened the door, took the first step, closed the door, and started walking towards the kids. It all seemed good until the kids saw me. At once, they moved back behind their table, the happy faces down as they started putting away items – beginning with their cash drawer, then the lemonade. In that moment, my heart sunk, I tried putting on a smile and held my dollar bill visible for them to see that my intention was to buy some lemonade.
Me: Good afternoon! I would like some lemonade. How much are you selling for?
Kids: Fifty cents a cup.
They said as I handed out my twenty dollar bill to them.
Kids: How many do you want with this amount?
Me: Just one cup and you guys can keep change.
At that moment, their demeanor changed and they brought out everything t that they had hidden – the cash drawer, the lemonade, and their smiles were back as well.
Me: Are you guys raising money for something?
Kids: No, we were bored and decided to make some money for our savings.
Me: That is so nice of you guys. Good job!
Kids: Here you go. Thank you so much and have a great day.
Me: Thank you for the drink. You guys rock!
I responded as I walked back to the car.
My mind could not reconcile what had just happened in the last five minutes. I cut them some slack because they were kids, but I had so many questions in my head. Is this what they call racism? Is this what black people go through? Was I that scary to the kids?
As I was processing this situation with my friends, we realized how the color issue is bigger than the seen reaction I got from the two kids. For a moment, I thought about blaming it on their parents for not exposing them to these kind of conversation, until a friend said it’s bigger than that. Chances are that these children’s worldview have been shaped by watching their parents, their families, their neighbors, society in general, from television, at school, etc.
In culture today, racism is always associated with the skin color. In fact, whenever one mentions the word race, the first thought that comes to mind is color of skin. This goes to show how deeply this is a sin issue and to address it, we ought to go deeper and further beyond conversations. The church here plays a huge role in helping us grow more to become like Christ.
Becoming more like Christ means a continuous pursuit for a relationship with Him that allows us to see more of who we are, sinful and in need of who He is, an all- powerful God, loving, full of grace and truth. The fruit this kind of relationship yields is love, peace, patience, kindness, and self-control. Therefore, without this process, we are unable to fully address the sin of racism, because we will end up for one, seeing the issue from a very shallow perspective of skin color. The problem with this view is that we will end up creating divides across, social, economic, political lines with the aim of always trying to see who is greater than the other. The other false view would be seeing this issue as not an issue, simply being ignorant, which is even worse because then we unconsciously through our thoughts and actions fall into the sin without even knowing.
The beauty about God’s creation is that it is diverse. We, humans, are also very diverse. God created us in His own image and gave us different gifts, abilities, and talents. In community and unity, we get to bring all these gifts together and worship Him through our diversity. The amazing part of being in a community is that others who walk with you and associate with you allows us to see introspect and we begin to see the blind spots in our life. There is something beautiful and powerful when people so different come together, live together, love one another and grow together. Therefore brethren’s, I am hopeful about my generation because I see them embracing one another despite their differences. I do acknowledge that this is because of a different generation that has prayed and fought hard to ensure a loving future for the next generation.