To my beautiful brown baby girl . . .
Mommy will be with you until God takes her home to heaven but God, your perfect heavenly father, will always be with you. He will be with you during times of injustices. You may be denied career, educational, financial, or housing opportunities because of your beautiful brown skin. Baby girl, you may be harmed by those who are meant to serve and protect you because you are brown. You could possibly be underestimated by those who teach you.
You will probably be heart broken when you notice the economic disparity here in your home town for the first time as you walk past the luxury high rise apartments on campus on one side of the street and project housing on the other. I hope to comfort you when you feel the racial tension here in the Deep South or feel ‘other’ for the first time. God will be with you and he will protect you. I will grieve with you when you learn about the racial atrocities in our country’s history.
I want to prepare you because as you grow up, sometimes your skin may be too dark to be allowed to play with the white kids or too light to be allowed to play with the black kids. If people have a problem with your skin color, tell them to talk to God about it because he chose your exact skin tone and it’s beautiful.
In case mommy can’t be with you, you’ll always belong with God. You’ll belong with God even if you don’t fall neatly between political party lines because matters of justice aren’t important to everyone in our country. You get to see from open eyes the beautiful colors of God’s people in our “colorblind” country.
As you learn about your cultures you’ll get to decide how to identify yourself: black, white, Just Right, biracial, or mixed. We’ll figure out how to style those beautiful dark brown curls and you’ll choose what type of music you like!
God will be with you when you choose a husband, regardless of his ethnicity. He’ll guide you as you choose a (hopefully) multiethnic church community to worship with and serve with (Revelation 7:9-11). Hopefully you’ll live to see the day that 11am on Sunday mornings ceases to be the most segregated time in America.
I pray that you will feel a righteous anger for injustice like God does.
I pray that in your anger you will not sin and become bitter and cynical. Rather, I pray that you will lead the charge in fighting for the oppressed and practicing reconciliation through confession and repentance to bridge racial divides. When the intersections and pressures of this world of being a woman and having brown skin war against your soul, God will be with you and his spirit will testify to yours that you are his and that you are made in his image (Genesis 1:27).
My dear daughter, as your mother I face some fierce battles with my own body image and self-worth. While you will face unique challenges as a brown woman in America, I wonder if a sense of dignity is what most women are deeply hungering for the most. As women we’ve been sexualized, exploited, and subjugated by the world. Thankfully, God designed us with great value and worth that no person can ever take away or diminish. Jesus gives and reveals our God given dignity.
You are one of God’s Very Good Ideas. I hope that because of your brown skin, you’ll better understand Jesus’ earthly experiences so you’ll be able to better point people to our Jewish Lord and savior Jesus Christ. I pray that you are a bridge to racial unity. He will sustain you. You’ve been bringing people together, building bridges, and starting the most unlikely of conversations from the beginning. I wonder if it’s because you embody hope and innocence to both black and white people and if it’s because both races can identify with you. What can soften hearts and foster love and warmth between people like a baby? Our savior came in the skin of a baby too. May you leverage everything for God’s kingdom: your cultures, skin color, physical strength and strength of will, your sense of humor, your joy, and your energy! May you be free to be just who God made you to be! Jesus didn’t die just so you could go to heaven my precious daughter, “he died so that everything that is broken can be made whole” (Brandon Washington, Acts 29 Panel – Understanding Race and Reconciliation in the USA).
You are God’s masterpiece princess (Ephesians 2:10).
Alyse Rogers is the wife of an Army soldier and mom to one beautiful little girl. She practices as a mental health counselor for a Christian nonprofit, where it is her profound privilege to point others to the healing power of Jesus. She strives to advocate for justice for the economically, socially, and racially oppressed. She has a sense of adventure and loves ultimate Frisbee, hiking, yoga, SUP yoga, her sassy Siamese cat, and all things outdoors. She aims to worship God in all that she does in life and seeks to live the good life with Jesus. Read Alyse’s posts here.