The fact is this: I am white.

The needs in Mexico are vast—so many people without homes or families or clothes or enough to eat. This is also true in the states, but the same reason I am forced to face it here it is much easier to be ignorant in the States. The fact is this: I am white. It comes down to the color of my skin and the way I dress in the midst of those I am surrounded by. For years we were taught not to segregate ourselves and that we were all equal. We were taught not to make racial stereotypes. Now that I think about it though, I only learned not to stereotype other races. I didn’t take the time to think about the stereotypes that the color of my own skin brought on me—Some accurate; Some not so; Some good; Some not so.

In Mexico, the white stereotype is fairly strong. We are all rich. One part of me would like to refute that, but the truth is most of us are. Its all a matter of perspective. Most of us have spare change. And the people here know that. The color of my skin attracts needs. And it breaks me for this place yet at the same time, it makes me fall in love with it even more. After all, that is why I am here.

In the last two weeks, three different people have asked me for homes. One of the ladies I work with needs blood for her 13 month son so he can have surgery. I am covering her shift tomorrow. Today a man told me about how he is trying to raise money for screws in his back after his daughter and wife died.

A little over a month ago, I met a man on a micro going into Ensenada who asked if we could build a house for him after seeing the back of Becky’s shirt. I didn’t think I did the right thing. I still don’t know that I did. But I asked his name and told him I would pray for him. Waiting on the side of the road today for a micro, up came the same man to ask if we remembered him. I did. Horatio. He reminded me of his wife’s name. Anita. And asked me to keep praying. He reminded me that the Lord hears every word and He is a powerful God and a God of provision. He neither asked for money nor asked again for a house but rather reminded us of who God is. So humbling yet so good.

When people approach to tell their stories and ask for money there is a part of me that wants to come up with an Americanized programmed excuse for why I shouldn’t give them money. I could ask What if all day. But God has blessed me graciously, and I can bless others in the same way—whether by listening, or praying, or giving. I don’t know what will happen, but I don’t want to miss out on the Horatio’s.

One response to “The fact is this: I am white.

  • Mom

    Thought of you so much when I read this one. As you were writing it your dad and I were downtown involved in an “intervention” with one of our beloved inner ctiy families. I was moved with incredible awe as God once again allowed an African-American grandma to look past the glaring white of my skin and share her deepest pain and honest anger. We talked with our dear teenage student who, like you mentioned, perceives that all is wonderful behind the doors of so many white, 2-parent, family-centered homes. He would give anything to have what he sees painted on t.v. – dinners around a table with plenty of food, transportation to where you need to be, 2 parents, not incarcerated, who love you with all their being ….

    For generation after generation we may continue to experience racial stereotyping, but I am so very, very grateful that our family continues to experience the power of the Creator all around the world, breaking through those boundaries.

    love you, Mom

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