Redeeming Differences

“Race is the child of racism, not the father.” -Ta-Nehisi Coates

I just started reading Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and this line has been the one that I’ve been mulling over most. (So far.) It has me thinking about life in a perfect world – where we wouldn’t see color, where “colorblindness” was truly a reality. But, we don’t and so we celebrate each difference and we do see skin and abilities and privilege.

Beyond skin color and racism, it has me thinking about the way we choose to see others in general. How we support and welcome refugees from one country but fight to keep out refugees from another. How we repost photos of and pray for special needs children but have no patience or desire for our own children to be in the same classes for fear of falling behind.

I wonder how we redeem these preconceived ideas and stereotypes? How do I raise my daughters to celebrate the differences of their peers without making the difference the point but the person.

So far this book has brought more questions than answers for how I raise my daughters, and shouldn’t it? It is a letter from a black man written to his son. I am a white mom raising daughters. And yet… I’m stopping and listening and trying to see the world from a different perspective.

What are you grappling with lately? What are your thoughts on raising kids to celebrate the diversity around them?

Linked with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing.

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8 thoughts on “Redeeming Differences

  1. Such insightful questions. I wonder about what I’ll teach my future children too. I might have to check out this book. Parked in the 9 spot this week.

    1. Thanks, Tara! I’ll say – whatever you decide to teach, it’s always a quandary….! You must check out this book! I’m only about halfway in, and am blown away by the insights.

  2. Interesting post, Annie. I can see how that book must be provoking a lot of thoughts! I still don’t have a great handle on encouraging our children to embrace the differences in others. We’re trying to teach them to look beyond the exterior of a person and into the essence of who they are. When they speak a judgmental statement (i.e that person’s a smoker), I try to encourage them to look at their words from a different perspective. I’ve tried to never talk with them about someone based on skin color (look at that black person, or look at that handicapped person). My hope is that they will not see the exterior only, but that they can learn to see a person’s qualities instead.

    1. I think that’s such an important response, Jeanne – to model how we see people. I try to remember that, even with behaviors. (We don’t do this thing, rather than we don’t act like this person…) So much thinking involved – as a parent, as a human, and as I try to fully live out being a Christ-follower…

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