Color Brave not Blind

This week a friend shared a TED talk with me that captured my attention. Mellody Hobson raises the issue of race because as she looks around the boardrooms of corporate America she sees a glaring absence of minority representation. Consider this statement, “Of the Fortune 250, there are only seven CEOs that are minorities, and of the thousands of publicly traded companies today, thousands, only two are chaired by black women, and you’re looking at one of them.

This disparity prompted her to take the risk to use the forum of TED talks to discuss the state of race equality in the United States. She speaks to the business community and challenges them not to be complacent and to take whatever small steps they can to provide all people with the same opportunities in life.

Here is her presentation from March 2014.

I appreciate her use of the term “color brave”. It encapsulates several important ideas.

  1. Addressing racial issues still requires courage.
  2. The phrase promotes action. No bravery is required to say nothing.
  3. It challenges the common term, “color blind”.

I’m not going to regurgitate her excellent presentation, but I do believe churches need to adopt this attitude. I believe that color blindness is the predominant attitude toward racial integration in the majority of churches and it results in a lot of white folks standing around together, and a lot of black folks standing around together, and lot of Hispanic folks….

I was also blessed this week to attend a Gospel Meeting at a local black Church of Christ. The visiting speaker was Dr Carl Baccus from the Southside Church of Christ in Los Angeles. Dr Baccus has ministered with this church he planted for the past 58 years.

At one point during his sermon, Dr Baccus paused, looked around and said, “This church is too black.” That’s a “color brave” statement if ever I heard one!!! He then made the point that churches need to serve their communities and therefore look like their communities.

His own church was planted in a predominantly African-American neighbourhood not far from LAX. However, over the years this neigbourhood has transitioned and now is now predominantly Hispanic. Southside Church of Christ responded to this change by hiring a Hispanic minister. They offer a Spanish language worship service and Bible classes as well as bilingual portions of their services.

Dr Baccus also mentioned that more Koreans are moving into the neighbourhood now and the church is considering how this will impact their ministries.

When Dr Baccus said, “This church is too black” he spoke with considerable credibility as someone willing to change the culture of his church in order to reach the lost souls in his community. That’s being “Color Brave”.

What will it take for more church leaders to look their congregation in the eye and say, “We’re too monotone. Let’s do something about it!

  • I have previously written on the topic of racial colour blindness HERE.
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