Thursday, January 12, 2017

white mama at the black barbershop...

 We were LONG overdue for a cut, y'all.

Like, I tend to push times in between cuts anyways, but this time we were WAAAY overdue.

That's partly because the woman who'd been cutting Jameson's hair suddenly and unexpectedly lost her husband (so, so sad- my heart goes out to her), so I've just been a little lost about getting into a new barber.

But it was time.  The hair was not getting any more manageable or detangling on its own...

 I expected the usual... he'd only comply if he sat in my lap to get the haircut.  He'd fuss and push the clippers away.

But no.

Not a whimper.

He sat in his chair and "took it like a man"- ha!

(Caroline and I were beaming with pride in the background, though alot more hair came off than I expected...eek!  That's okay, it's just hair.  Thankfully, his will grow back.)

I asked him later why he didn't fuss at the barbershop like he usually does.  "Mom, I like the boys there."

Well, okay.  A barbershop it is then.

Being a white mama in the black barbershop used to come with some discomfort.  I wasn't used to settings where I was the minority.  But now, this white mama doesn't feel so lily white, and I honestly cherish the moments when my son can be in the majority, as it gives me a small idea of what he experiences every day.

When your child is a different ethnicity from their family, you're (hopefully) looking for opportunities for them to connect with others that look like them.

Jameson knows he's got brown skin, and he notices when people or characters in books look like him. (which is sad how difficult that can be... )  I want him to know who he is and where he comes from.  I don't want my son to grow to be a white man in a black man's body.  I want him to know how to navigate both white and black culture when he's grown.  And since he's naturally going to have alot of white culture being in our family, I've got to be more intentional in bringing in the black culture.

I hear other parents touting themselves on the fact that their children "don't see color," and I wonder, what's so wrong with seeing color?

"Mom, I LOVE the barbershop."
Is there something inherently wrong or shameful about color that we wouldn't want our children to see it?

I want my kids to see color.  I want them to see and recognize and talk with me about the ways God created people in all different countries and cultures in His image.  It's good.  It's beautiful.

Every culture has negative aspects and false stereotypes.  Likewise, every culture displays beauty and God's glory as well.  How is my son's culture more often portrayed?

In my ignorance, I often wondered why there were black churches or black colleges or black barbershops or a black history month or black anything... and yet now, it's all so, so clear.

This mama's heart can only take so much, y'all.  There's so much I could say.  There's so much pain and so much that needs to change in regards to racial reconciliation.

Lord, change our hearts and bring reconciliation to our brokenness.  Help us to listen without getting defensive.  Help us to be patient with those who don't see what we see.  Help us to assess what is true, help us to admit our own fears and ignorance.  Help us to see our sin and our own contributions to racism, whether personally or systemically.  Help us to enter into real relationships with those who are different from us, not in order to rescue them, but in order to learn from them.  Give us a vision of your Kingdom... every tribe and every tongue praising their Creator together... and help us to love Your Kingdom more than our own culture or our own country.  Help us to care not only about what may benefit us, but what might bring shalom for those you loved... the poor, the needy, the broken, and the outcasts.  Amen.