Another situation of mistreatment of African-Americans is shown on the news. The next day, I go to school, and I wonder what to say to my African-American friends, or if it would be better for me to say nothing. My soul longed to embrace my African-American friends in a hug, and I wanted to utter simple, yet powerful words, such as, “I love you, and I value you.”
Racial unity involves a recognition of all people as valuable beings. Racial unity involves fair treatment and equality for all, no matter their race. Racial unity involves loving your neighbor in a biblical way that glorifies God and promotes peace and unity in the body of Christ.
On a Christian campus such as Ouachita Baptist University, we can make progress toward celebrating unity amongst ethnic and racial differences. This occurs by recognizing that we are all imago dei, that is, made in the image of God. However, we each have different gifts, talents, personalities, backgrounds, and character qualities that make us unique. If we can learn to appreciate our differences, then we can celebrate one another for how God has uniquely created each of us in His image. We must be willing to learn about God’s desire for unity.
However, there are certain virtues and habits of mind that need to be developed within an individual in order to celebrate diversity. In a conversation on race by Dr. Danny Hays and Mrs. Trillia Newbell, Mrs. Newbell said, “We cannot mourn and weep with those who weep, if we do not understand why they weep.” To celebrate diversity and progress toward racial unity, we must develop virtues and habits of mind that seek to know the stories of our brothers and sisters– and not only that, but to love our brothers and sisters and their stories. Love is a virtue that will cover a multitude of sins, thus cultivating racial unity.
Yet some vices and negative attitudes often stand in the way of us practicing this kind of radical love and unity. Unfortunately, many individuals in our generation grew up with grandparents who might have opposed the idea of racial unity. As heartbreaking as that fact might be for many of us, this way of thinking impacts us negatively. We must break away from old patterns of negative thinking that might have been passed down through one’s family and friends, and we must seek to recognize the great need for racial unity.
Racial unity is needed now; our world is crying out for unity and equality, in times of great sorrow and in times of great celebration. At some point, the chain of separation, disunity, and lack of equality must be stopped – and we, in our generation, can be the people who decide to look at our brothers and sisters of various backgrounds and say, “I love you, and I value you.”
By Madison Burch, guest writer