The Question That Compelled Us (Would We Have?)
Racism has never been an issue for me.
I grew up in a family where people were people, no matter their color or place of origin.
Racism was a thing I read about in history books. It was just a matter of time before we elected a black president.
Then my wife Teresa and I adopted Stephan and Rakiyah, and suddenly race became an issue for our family. It’s not that we have experienced racial hatred or blatant racism, but it’s become a topic we openly discuss in our home between our 8 year old children. We randomly get asked questions about racism and odd interactions. We get odd looks from parents in parking lots when our adopted children throw a tantrum. It just comes with the territory.
A few years back now, Teresa and I started reexamining our fundamentalist upbringing regarding LGBT issues. We had a number of honest conversations with loving friends who agreed that LGBT people have been mistreated and counted as ‘less-than’. Many of these friends landed on the “I’m not opposed to them being together. A civil union should be good enough for them”.
I know this was not a cynical answer for them.
But for my wife and I, one question compelled us to continue asking the hard questions of our selves:
“Had we been alive during the civil rights movement, would we have marched?” (tweet this)
It’s easy to look back on that now and say “Yes, of course I would have stood against racism and hatred!” But the way we saw it, and as we experienced in our own coming out as an LGBT Ally, the reality of standing up for unpopular justice can be a scary thing to do.
And now that race became such an intricate issue in our family, we didn’t quit. We asked the hard questions. And in the end, we realized that our hearts wanted to love unconditionally. That was who we are. But it was a deep fear of rejection by our friends and family that was ultimately the barricade for us.
So on this, the day after MLK, Jr. Day, I consider it an honor to stand as an ally for my LGBT friends.
I understand this fight for justice is vastly different in many ways from the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s, but there are many similarities.
To my friends who are questioning and searching for answers, I would say to you: keep pushing.
Keep asking yourself the hard questions.
Keep conversations going, based in love.
Stay humble and curious.
And at the end of the day, love like the rules we made up don’t matter!