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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Make My Brown Eyes Blue

Please welcome guest blogger Kevin Robinson. The following article originally appeared on the Accord1 blog for the purpose of "Building The Bridge Together" over the ethnic/cultural divide. 

A beautiful senior with great wit and sensitivity seemed to be cloaked in a tinge of despair in her voice. She, by the occasion of her age, had been raised in a different era, and apparently had a dissimilar perception, worldview, and self-awareness.

As I looked into her eyes during the conversation, I couldn’t help but notice that they were the most beautiful shade of blue. I spoke up to compliment her concerning her eyes and she said something striking : “White people don’t think that any of us black folks can have blue eyes.”

This was one of those unspoken truths that articulated much more than the mere words themselves. I thought for a moment to myself as I, also African American, looked through my green eyes and realized what a larger truth that she addressed.

Ethnic bias, whether of one’s self or toward others, comes from many different sources. The sources are not the problem because they will always be there. The question is, how do we take the silent despair away from this beautiful senior woman and those caught in the trap of ethnic bias?

First of all, it comes down to education and learning about whom we really are, the human race. We are one large family. As in our natural extended family, some members have the long darker hair from dad’s side of the family because his grandmother was half Cherokee, while others have the freckles passed down from grandpa of the Irish decent. Since we all come from the same gene pool, we can expect in the human family that any characteristic can, and will, appear anywhere it pleases in the family.

A lot of the problem exists in our system of western-culture system values. Values are defined as: “what a given group ascribes to as beautiful, desirable, good, ugly, undesirable, bad…” If we mix a value system that says blue eyes are beautiful, desirable, and good with a value system that says people of color are ugly, undesirable, and bad then that offers us a paradox. 

Though the majority of people don’t think in such harsh terms as the aforementioned, the softer sentiment of ethnic bias does exist today that articulates a clandestine message of what was prevalent in the days of old; in a time when the beautiful senior woman was younger.

 The believer has the answer in the person of Jesus Christ:
“But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name –Who owe their birth neither to bloods nor to the will of the flesh [that of physical impulse] nor to the will of man [that of a natural father], but to God. [They are born of God!]” -John 1:12, 13 Amplified Bible (AMP)
The Word of God says that we are “received of God.” This acceptance is not based on physical impulse of the flesh (value system) or human nature but is from the will of God.

The unfortunate matter is the worldly value system, and the universal negative repercussions, are in the Church and have been for quite some time. The word universal is used to explain the total circumference of the problem all around the ethnic/cultural chasm, example given with what the senior woman thought and said.
As the Church, we must first be intentional in our efforts to bring down the wall of partition called ethnic bias from between us. We must readjust our thinking to be in line with the word of God as in the early church:

“For He is [Himself] our peace (our bond of unity and harmony). He has made us both [Jew and Gentile] one [body], and has broken down (destroyed, abolished) the hostile dividing wall between us,
By abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the enmity [caused by] the Law with its decrees and ordinances [which He annulled]; that He from the two might create in Himself one new man [one new quality of humanity out of the two], so making peace.” -Ephesians 2:14, 15 Amplified Bible (AMP)
In the so-called household of faith, we believers in Christ and His salvation must not only believe; but, we must live as the new man spoken of in the prior scripture as regenerate souls. In a day when the Church is focused on the “mote” of our societies’ downfall of morality and behaviors we neglect to observe that we have a “beam” of ethnic bias, distrust, and division in our own eye.

Many New Testament words describe the actions and events the testament believers are named for. However, the bible only speaks of one way that people will know that we are Christ’s disciples. That is not our religion, tradition, dogma, self-righteousness, or aloofness; but we are true followers of Jesus by our love for one another:
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another”. John 13:34-35 King James Version (KJV)

See Also:
Kanazawa's Ugly Lies about Beauty


  1. Let's be clear, the beauty of a given color of eyes is totally arbitrary, but in the USA euro-centric beauty standards are disproportionately lauded.  That this bias negatively affects our perception of ourselves and others is a travesty! 

    Give some love to your 'brown-eyed girls' today!

  2. Also on eye color today from @whattamisaid  : an important word on beauty standards and eye color. Stop "genuflecting to light-colored eyes" and don't "assume that I desire the same physical features [members of the dominant culture] prize." Right!!


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By Their Strange Fruit by Katelin H is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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