“So DeAron why do black people (insert action)?” Before I attended college, I was never asked that question. My friends and classmates had labeled me a black apologist. I began to discover that my white friends had different filters for processing information. Our difference of filters caused many discussions. We need more discussions about how we process information in the church.
W.E.B. Du Bois in his book “The Souls of Black Folk”, introduces the concept of “double consciousness“. Double consciousness is having “warring ideals” within one’s soul. He likens it to having “two souls”, “two thoughts”, and “two unreconciled strivings”. The two warring ideals within black people are American ideals and African-American ideals. Schools and media teach us how to be good Americans. Our families and churches instruct us in the ways of the black community. We attempt to balance these opposing cultures without being an outcast or losing opportunities. We fear Americanization and ethnocentricism. Du Bois’s concept of double consciousness is accurate. I propose black believers have another dimension of consciousness, which is Christian consciousness.
The war between Americanism and African-Americanism is often tiring because they rarely agree. The Christain consciousness is another opponent for both. Our Americanism and blackness must submit to our Christian consciousness. Romans 14 is an example of how our culture can influence our Christianity. The Jews in the Roman church upheld holy days and did not eat meat because of their Jewish upbringing. Their Jewish culture and Christian freedom were at odds.
There have been times that I have discovered my thoughts are too ethnocentric or worldly. It is difficult because the Word of God has affected so much of my culture and this country. Our forefathers came to America for religious freedom. The Word of God gave black slaves the hope of freedom. The first book printed in America was the Bible and slaves had a yearning to read just to read it. Black believers have a triple consciousness that causes warring in our members.
Christians of color, our brothers need to hear our voices. They need to know why we are weeping and why we are mourning. They need to know we struggle with singing The Star Spangled Banner and supporting Black Lives Matter. Our brothers need to know we have wrestled with how to think and respond to racial issues. We have failed in responding without error, but we are trying. We must allow them to hear how we process information so they might develop compassion.
To our white brothers and sisters take the time to listen. Trust we have filtered our statements through history, society, and Christianity. We have wrestled before responding. Ask questions so you will comprehend our position(s). Listen before you identify us as heretics, race-baiters, or un-American.
I pray this helps us be slow to speak, quick to listen (James 1:19), speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) so that the body of Christ will be unified in thoughts, words, and deeds.