Should I say “Black”, “African American” or “Person of Color”?

I’m going to admit that I get uncomfortable talking about racism. I fear sounding racist in talking about it and fear even more the possibility of¬†being¬†racist without even realizing it.

So I’m still fumbling my way around understanding racism and what part I might can play in helping it go away. There’s no place for racism in a Christian’s life so I keep reading and asking questions. I listen deeply to Randy when he comes back from a group he’s a part of that consists of 6 black pastors and 6 white pastors. They meet to discuss racial reconciliation and it’s been very eye opening. They have read several books and they ask hard questions and tell extremely hard stories. Our children listen in on the replay of these meetings at our dinner table because we want them to know how horrible racism was and still is although not as bad.

I’ll never forget hearing about “The Talk” for the first time after one of these meetings. Immediately I thought, “Okay, is talking to our kids about sex really any different for black people than it is white people?” He went on to explain “The Talk” had nothing to do with sex but everything to do with what to do when being pulled over by a policeman. Every black person knows what this means. As a white person I don’t even understand this. But I’m understanding it more now. The amount of fear that is in many black people when being pulled over by an officer is astonishing to me. And after hearing many stories I can understand why there would be so much fear associated with it.

The video clip below is of three college students on a panel speaking about what it’s like to be a black student in a predominantly white Christian college as well as racism in general. They answer some hard questions with incredible grace and strength in my opinion. It was eye opening ways yet echoed many things I’m coming to understand through Randy’s group experience and conversations with some of my own black friends.

So the answer to the question, “Do I say Black or African American” is actually a question asked in this panel. I found the answer interesting. I’m so proud and thankful these students had to courage to do this.

There’s still so much I don’t understand and even this panel raised some questions for me but taking the time to listen to these student share their experience and thoughts was helpful to me. And maybe it would be for you too.

Let’s keep striving to live in unity for the purpose of advancing the Kingdom of God!