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When people say that only being “Christian” or “human” matters…

Everything

When people say that only being “Christian” or “human” matters…

Darren Calhoun

by Darren Calhoun

Christians who are white seem to often get into conversations about “Christian” being the only identity/label that matters. They wax poetic about how this is core to their faith and often weaponize this idea against people of color, and especially against LGBTQ people.

The problem I have with this is that it’s a narrative that only works for the dominant group in a society. Dominant or majority groups have the ease of society being mostly if not entirely centered on them. As such, they don’t have opinions or labels forced on them by an outside group because no one else has the power to do that effectively. Yes, people can call you names, but power is being able to create policy or economic disadvantage for a group that you don’t belong to.

I’m black and no matter how many times you talk about “color blindness” I don’t have the option of safely and freely existing in the world disregarding how I’ve been raced. I certainly don’t have the luxury of wanting to only be known as “Christian” since that won’t be the first thing a police officer sees when encountering me unarmed in the street.

I’m also Gay. Some might not presume that of me without me saying it. There is a presumption that everyone’s experience works from a heterosexual context and if unchallenged, society will continue to center it’s laws, language, and access on heterosexual (and cisgender) people.

Some of my choice in using labels to describe parts of who I am is an act of resistance. My experience is unique and part of my every day life. I won’t have my existence erased for the sake of blending into a society that isn’t actively trying to erase YOUR existence. I know people of color and LGBTQ people who would also prefer to just be seen as “human” but even that is in repose to a society that has denied their humanity based those parts of their identity.

My faith as a Christian is important--even central--but it won’t be the only label that matters until our society treats my whole experience with dignity or until Jesus returns.

 

Posted with permission. Original found here.