I mentioned to you in my last letter, that you, a black man, could very well have some racism and prejudice in you. It is quite possible that you are a racist because you are a sinner like the rest of us.
Let me share a little story with you about how I became aware of some hidden racism and prejudice in my own heart. You might be asking, you, Daniel Whyte, a black man and a Christian? Yes, me, Daniel Whyte, a black man and a Christian—had to acknowledge some prejudice and racism in my own heart at one point in my life.
I was asked to speak in a meeting in southern California. It was a mixed audience—Whites, Blacks, and Latinos. A Latino was scheduled to speak before I was to speak. As this Latino brother rose to speak, this thought immediately crossed my wretched heart and mind: “What can this Latino, who probably got over here illegally, with his no alien card self and his broken English, tell us Blacks and Whites?” As soon as that thought finished its wicked course, God smote my heart and pointed out my own prejudice. You see, I did not have any prejudice toward the white folk who were there because they spoke proper English and because they had been here since the inception of America. My racism was toward those who were different then we were (“We”, meaning Black and White American-born, Englishspeaking people). It was against those who I somehow thought I had an advantage over, those who I pridefully thought I was better than, simply because I was born here and spoke the English language. You see, I didn’t really hate this Latino, I just thought I was better than him. And that is all racism is: thinking you are better than another, because you are in the majority or because you were here first, etc.
Could it be, dear young black man, that you have racism in your heart? No, you may not have this racist feeling toward whites, for some strange reason, but you have it toward Koreans, Indians or Latinos. That feeling of pride, that wicked feeling of superiority that you have regarding these other minority groups is the same feeling many Whites have about you. When you get up to speak, with no real effort of their own, many whites have the same thoughts that I had: “What can he tell us white people?” It is not really that they hate you, it is just that for whatever reason, they think that they are better than you; that they are superior to you.
To be looked upon that way is degrading, isn’t it? It makes you feel bad and frustrated, doesn’t it? It makes you feel as though you are always under the gun to do 200-percent better than your white counterpart, doesn’t it? Well, guess how that Latino or Korean feels when you do them the same way? Here are some things that you can do to overcome your own racism:
First, admit and confess your sin of pride and racism or prejudice and thinking yourself better than others.
Second, see and treat all men with dignity, love, respect and without partiality. Always remember, what you dole out comes back to you triple-fold.
Third, do not come down on those less fortunate than you because those more fortunate than you have come down upon you. In other words, just because one race treats you badly, you should not treat another race of people the same way.
You will find that understanding and dealing with your own racism and prejudice will help you deal with the racism of others.
One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings. – Franklin Thomas
Don’t hold to anger, hurt or pain. They steal your energy and keep you from love. – Selected
This chapter is an excerpt from my book, Mo’ Letters to Young Black Men: More Advice & Encouragement for a Difficult Journey. Click here to find out more or to purchase the book online.