The Mere Hint of Support for Interracial Dating Got Me Sent to the Senior Pastor’s Office
“Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.” — John Lewis
My first full-time job was as a youth pastor right after finishing my Master’s Degree from Seminary. In retrospect, the all-white church in the suburbs of a large midwestern city was not a good fit for me. But only once did I get called into the senior pastor’s office and subtly reprimanded.
I haven’t thought of this story for years. That’s the advantage of being a white person. We can push issues of race aside and ignore them most of the time, only paying attention when forced to by a particularly persistent news cycle or personal connection.
Most of the white people I know wouldn’t consider themselves even a bit racist. Scratch the surface and the racism starts leaking out. Suggest their white kid might date a black kid and the vitriol could become a geyser.
I was reminded of this reading G Correia’s excellent story Not With My White Daughter, You’re Not. Correia relates his experiences as a Black teenager in a mostly white community being welcomed and seemingly even embraced by white parents until they thought he was interested in dating their daughter.
Go read his story. Talk to any Black person who grew up around a lot of white kids and you will hear the same kind of stories. If you are white and a parent ask yourself if it would bother you if your child dated a Black person. If the answer is yes, sit yourself down and do some serious honest soul searching about why.
I grew up as a white kid with white parents and white, Black and Asian siblings. I also spent my elementary school years in the Phillippines living as the only white kid in my neighborhood but going to school with mostly white Americans. I have lived racism adjacent but relatively protected my entire life. White skin will do that for you.
So despite the fact I have Black siblings and I’ve seen racism at play firsthand in the lives of those I love, I’m continually surprised by the sheer depth and pervasiveness of it in people I would have expected to be loving and…