I’m a white, 30-year-old husband, dad of two, home owner, and business owner.
I grew up in a middle class bedroom town made up of 90% white people. When I was a junior in high school, someone asked my principal how many black people went to our school and she answered by naming them all.
There were 11.
Rebel flags, gay slurs, and the n-word were so common growing up that weren’t offensive to me. My parents even tell a story of how when I was two years old a black kid in my neighborhood knocked on our door and I ran to my parents saying, “Mommy! Daddy! There’s a little n——r boy at the door!”
I’d picked up the word from one of my dad’s coworkers.
I could continue telling you stories of where I grew up but I think you get the picture. It was the stereotypical small town in the south environment that is being touted at “Trump’s America” today. It’s a way of thinking that is both outdated and wrong.
But it’s where I grew up.
It’s what I knew.
A couple years ago I started going through a process of relearning everything I thought I knew. I took all my religious, political, and social views and put them on the table. The I asked, “Why do I believe this way?” It forced me to realize that many of the things I grew up knowing and understanding were wrong. And it led me to start trying to figure out what was right.
It changed my views on Jesus.
It changed my views on women.
It changed my views on minorities.
It changed my views on people of other religions.
It changed my views on the LGBT community.
It changed my views on almost everything.
It’s been a great process, but it’s a process that’s still happening today. It’s impossible to relearn 25+ years of things ingrained in you by the culture around you.
So here’s my ask of you:
Will you be patient with me?
Will you be there to answer my questions politely and respectfully instead of degrading me with taunts of white privilege, misogyny, or racism?
Will you help me see and understand your life experiences and how they were (and are) different than mine?
I promise you I’m on your side. A guiding princple that’s driven everything I’ve relearned is that all of us – black, white, brown, gay, straight, trans, man, woman – are uniquely and meticulously created in the image of our Creator. Our solutions to today’s issues may end up being different. We may debate ideas or policies. But at the end of the day, I’m for you. I’m for equality. I’m for acceptance.
I promise to love, respect, and accept you during this process, even in places we disagree.
I ask that you do the same with me.
Say your prayers and take your vitamins.
Have a nice day.