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    I remember a junior high crush – who happened to be white. He was a cool dude and I never suspected an undercurrent of racism interacting with him. In fact, he liked me back and I was his girl for a couple of weeks. Little did I know, he had spoken to a friend of mine before we decided to “go together”. He told her he was nervous to date a black girl. When she asked him why,  what was his response?

    “I’m scared if we get in a fight I’ll call her a nigger.”

    Excuse me? The only way you’d call me a nigger is if it was already in you.

    “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

    No, that never happened but it stung to know that those beliefs were embedded within him. I know from that experience – and many others – people can still harbor prejudice despite their relationship with people of other races. In the past, I have been the black friend but yet, someone still used that hurtful word.

    Thus the “some of my best friends are black” holds no weight to prove someone isn’t a racist.

    So I wonder if Harley Barber believes she’s not a racist.

    University of Alabama student Harley Barber, a 19-year-old New Jersey native, has been suspended after her racist rant on Instagram. It’s ugly to hear – and even more ugly to see. Here’s a clip from Fox 4 news:

    Now she’s ‘sorry”.  According to the New York Post, she’s received threatening phone calls over her remarks and apologized. She says, “I feel horrible. I feel so, so bad and I am so sorry.”

    Some say perhaps it was drunkenness that gave her the liquid courage for her rant.

    But the elders in my life always said, “Drunk mind; sober tongue”. In other words, the liquor is like truth serum – revealing the unhinged you.

    Others blame the prodding of those around her.

    Side eye on that, too. If they tried to convince you to jump off a bridge would you do that, too?

    Her second video caught the attention Alabama running back Damien Harris. After seeing it, he tweeted that it disproved the claim that racism is dead. I agree.

    (And I bet she was cheering him and the other black players on during the game against Georgia.)

    In previous years, racism has been more covert. Can I keep it 100, though? It’s been overt as of the last election when racists were emboldened to let their ugly beliefs out in the open. Sadly enough, some of these people claim Christ as Lord but it’s an oxymoron; you can’t be a racist and be Christ-like.

    It’s sin.

    “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” 1 John 4:20

    For those of us on the receiving end of racial strife, we may be in the “amen” corner but you know what? We are obliged to forgive because unforgiveness is sin, too.

    “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:15

    I am not saying ignore racism. In the words of the late Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.” We must acknowledge when we’re dealing with racial bigotry. For me, there were relationships I had to cut off because my eyes were opened to who I was dealing with. No, I didn’t hold a grudge; I moved on. There were also salutations where I confronted racism head on – and it wasn’t always a way the Dr. King would’ve suggested if he were still here. None of us deserve to be mistreated because of the color of our skin. No, we don’t have to act a fool; we have the right to call out racism when we see it. But I believe the difference between confrontation and a rational conversation has to do with motive.

    Is the comment/action done from a place of pure ignorance? No, I don’t give out passes because someone allegedly doesn’t know better. But I believe when a racist action comes from a place of lack of exposure or education, it’s time to have a conversation. It may even involve brining a third party into the mix. Dialogue can make a difference and build a bridge; not a wall.

    However, racism –and any form of hatred– is a matter of the heart. We can’t change people’s hearts; only God can do that. What we can’t do is let hatred be our retribution. As Dr. King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” As Christians, we can be bold enough to address racism but must engulf ourselves in the love of God – for ourselves and others. When we walk in love, bitterness and anger won’t have any fertile ground to fester, thus giving the devil what he desires: a foothold (Ephesians 4:26-27) and division.

    “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”  1 Corinthians 1:10

    Back to Harley, though.

    Of course I don’t know the girl but I’ve known people like her. Prayerfully this is a teachable moment that goes beyond ,”I’m sorry.” NFL Giants Safety Landon Collins says he’d like to sit with and educate her.

    Give her insight but throw in a prayer–Harley needs a new heart and mindset.

    Fix it, Jesus.

    h

    (Photo: Instagram)