My mom is 100% Lumbee Indian. My dad is 100% white. So as a kid, I got to choose whichever race I wanted. It was a very easy decision for me. I can remember as a small child proudly telling people, "I'm Indian". I loved bow and arrows, horses, trees, running around in the woods barefooted, and anything else that made me feel like an Indian.
I think that virtually every group of people on the planet takes some degree of pride in their race. Mexicans have viva la raza! (Long live the race!), African-Americans have the godfather of soul James Brown with Say it loud...I'm black and proud! And rightly so! I think we should be proud of our heritage. By pride, I don't mean I think I'm better than you. I just mean I'm very glad that I'm me.
But this morning I was thinking, I don't know if I've ever heard anyone say "I'm proud to be white." I'm sure white people are proud of their race, after all, they've made tremendous contributions to society throughout history. But why aren't they allowed to say it? Why, even to this day, am I more proud of my Native American 50% than my white 50%? In our efforts to overcome racism and bigotry in this country, is it possible that we've just created a different form of racism? I personally think a lot of our efforts against racism tend to use negative, rather than positive, reinforcement. In other words, we use negativity to try to bring about something positive. From my perspective, I don't think it's worked out so well. There are so many positive things we could emphasize and encourage that I think would nurture more unity in our society. Maybe we're heading in that direction. I sure hope so.
I guess all of this is coming to the surface for me, because we're adopting an Ethiopian child. So then, our family will be 33.3333% African-American. I'm very proud of that. We plan to make every effort to keep Ethiopia a huge part of his life and ours. I know we'll have to deal with some racism as he grows up, but with God's help, we will teach him to honor and respect all people...even those that are different from him.