Hello my fact-truthers. As always when I greet you, I hope you’ve been studying the Word for yourselves and making your own conclusions as to what beliefs you should hold. Today I was browsing the news around the web, and stumbled upon a story about an article that’s garnered a lot of controversy. For those who haven’t read the article, here is the link to the original writing. I always think it’s important to look at something for yourself first, so that way you don’t have your thoughts influenced by what you’ve already heard other people say. Right now I’m about to go into detail about the article, the backlash and share my own thoughts. So if you haven’t already read it and choose to read further, your mind will be given perceptions that you’ll have to work to ignore when you try to read it for yourself and form your own conclusion.
With that all said, let’s dive into this controversy. The article is about a white mother (Gaye Clark) who discusses her surprise to find out the husband she prayed for her white daughter (Anna) turns out to be a black man (Glenn). She first begins by stating what her wish list had been for her daughter’s husband, and then being surprised that “God called her bluff” as she put it, and sent an African-American man to be her daughter’s husband. She states she could only smile and asked God for forgiveness for her presumptions of who he would be. Ms. Clark also states she never shared a prejudice against interracial marriage, but acknowledged that she never expected anything regarding interracial marriage to enter her life. She then proceeds to outline 8 things for white Christian parents who never envisioned their daughters being with someone of a different race to remember to help them in their reservations.
In the time that the article was published, there have been critics who’ve lashed out at Ms. Clark for not putting the focus on the problem being her own possible racism in thinking interracial marriage was something to have reservations about in 2016. Ms. Clark also surprisingly received backlash from white supremacists for accepting her daughter’s interracial marriage, and from the news articles I’ve read, she’s even received death threats unfortunately. As a result of the backlash, she asked for her article to be removed from the website it was posted, and stated in a twitter post that she was grieved and hurt that her post caused so much pain to others.
I had some initial thoughts before I read the article, and then some additional ones after I read them. My initial thought was that perhaps people might have been being too harsh on Ms. Clark. From the snippets of the writing posted in news articles, it seemed as if she was approaching her writing with good intentions of trying to share how she overcame her own personal surprise to her daughter marrying a black man. I thought that bashing her attempted openness and honesty as just simply racist was something that only makes it harder for other people to ever open up about their own potential hidden prejudices they’ve had, and being able to help those people overcome those prejudices.
After I read the article, I could understand why people may have gotten angry about the writing. As I scrolled through twitter, an initial thing I noted was that there was a good number of outrage coming from younger people. As a fellow millennial, I can understand people of my generation thinking someone having to learn to accept an interracial marriage would come across as extremely bewildering. Millennials have lived in a time where it’s generally been a normal acceptable thing, with occasional exceptions from some people who still make issues out of it. But lets think about the background of Ms. Clark. She may have grown up the majority of her life in a time where it was often perceived negatively and not normal for interracial marriages to occur, especially living in the south. And I’m not saying that as a bash to the south, because I am a fellow southerner myself too. But to continue with the point, I can empathize with the fact that because of her having grown up in the environment she may have grown up in, with that being the common thinking, that it could have possibly unconsciously rubbed off on her and thus would perhaps be something she needed to learn to adjust to once she was personally faced with the situation.
I do think one criticism I noted from the reactions is something that does need to be addressed if Ms. Clark chooses to write another article about this subject. The way that the article was framed might have made it seem as if Ms Clark was implying that the black man that the white daughter invites is the problem, when the article perhaps should have better framed the problem as a person needing to overcome one’s own prejudice. For example, number 4 on her list of 8 things was, “Remember to be patient with family members.” And in it, she states that calling Uncle Fred a bigot for not wanting your daughter to marry a black man dehumanizes him, and that the white parents should bear with others fears and objections, pray for them, and not cut them off if they aren’t undermining the marriage. Some could argue that’s letting Uncle Fred off the hook for not sternly pointing out that his own prejudice is a big problem. While Ms. Clark may have tried to promote empathy in the case of Uncle Fred, perhaps it needs to be recognized that sometimes caring for someone means being firm with them when they’re thinking is wrong, which that point may have missed the bar in doing that. After all, wouldn’t Uncle Fred’s thinking be dehumanizing to Glenn?
In all of my writings, I don’t believe I’ve ever revealed my race. I don’t reveal it because I really don’t think that’s important. The only important thing to me has always been whether one is living as a Christian according to God’s Word or not, which I think was subtly implied in Ms. Clark’s seventh point, “Remember heaven’s demographics.” I know it didn’t matter to me at all when my own sister got married to a man of another race, and I’m glad to see 5 or so years later they’re still happy together. So I applaud Ms. Clark for seeming to reach a point of acceptance in embracing Glenn and his family, because there are other people of all races that never do accept interracial marriages, let alone other people of other races within society in general. I also applaud the critics for voicing their criticism, so we can all better understand our grievances and try to fix them for the sake of making our diverse relations with one another better. So looking at things from both sides, I think it’s important to point out whatever problems there are in the way some may intentionally or unintentionally direct negative thoughts and feelings towards certain groups of people. It’s also important to be forgiving and understanding with those, like Ms. Clark, that while sometimes not speaking about things perfectly, are trying to be honestly open about their preconceptions, and trying to show their attempts at being more accepting in the way that we want to see all people be. We can offer at least a small olive branch of appreciation in seeing that that person is trying, albeit, with a few stumbles.
As always, any thoughts, comments, or questions, feel free to share them with me. If you found this post enlightening in any way, I would very much appreciate you sharing this within your social media circles. Peace to all those who are in Christ.