​Illustration by David Fast.

By Tonya Powell
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I am sick and tired of talking about racism when I serve a God who is love. Because lately all the race talks I have had reek of some underlying hatred with no one trying to understand anything. Don't get me wrong. It is almost unbelievable to have a job that does staff book studies and even host Beloved Community Council meetings where someone who looks like me can freely speak their mind. A job where DOOR city directors across the country bravely try to tear down the walls of racism and teach understanding through service work and reflections. I am tired of talking about racism, but there is so much hatred that I have to face.   

 

 

​This week we have over 40 DOOR Discover participants: We have had a fun week so far. Tonight I had the opportunity to drive one of our participants back to the church after we finished a service project. It was just she and I in the car. Our conversation was great. She has such a great spirit it was awesome just to have her positive energy around. Then her phone buzzed and I noticed her face dropped. I asked if she was ok. She told me she was but she was trying to make plans to meet her aunt and have dinner with her while she was in town. I told her I was happy that she was able to do that. She responded that she wasn't. She continued to tell me how her aunt was prejudice against people of color. How she knew the dinner would be hard because her aunt would probably say some offensive things about people of color during their dinner. She said she would not even allow her aunt to pick her up from the church because she was afraid of what her aunt may say to the people she saw there.

The more she talked the sadder I became. As I heard her say most of my family feels this way except for my mom. "My mom taught me to love everybody." She  said. I told her so did mine. I thought she was brave to share all that she had with me, but I wandered how many more of our participants had the same issues. Then I was reminded how important talking about the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King this week is. I am so sick of talking about racism, but tonight we both agreed with our mothers, God is love and we should love everyone!  

So to know that people who don't even know me hate me because of the color of my skin is my reality. However, this reality does not make me feel any less important. I love the color of my skin. I can't help that stereotypes help allow others to look down on me.  No, I am not the stereotype of the angry black woman, because I am naturally quiet but when I do speak, I speak my mind. That's not anger, that's confidence. I am not only confident, but I am strong. I have great reasons to be confident and strong. Not only am I the seed of Abraham, but I also am the seed of slaves who endured captivity,  a treacherous boat ride, ridicule and shame, yet my ancestors survived. I am the seed of a grandfather who although was hated in this country for being a person of color, still had enough dignity to go to another country who hated him even more and defend this country and its citizens of all races. I am so sick of talking about racism, but if I never talk about it how can I help others to better understand.

Originally published on DOOR's blog.

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​Tonya Powell is the Atlanta city director for DOOR.

 

 

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