So, we are starting our Coast to Coast Conversation, and Melinda asks me, “Racquel, what do you love the most about being a black woman?” My response, “My hair.” Now, this may seem like a strange answer to some, but as a black woman, choosing to wear my hair naturally can be seen an act of resistance, and even a symbol of protest. For years, Black women have been subjected to a European standard of beauty that has left many of us committed to chemical hair relaxers to suppress our blackness in order to be accepted in society. Wearing my hair natural is the way that I have chosen to present myself to the world, and it the way that God has chosen to present me to the world. As a believer, I need the freedom to bring my entire self to God. I believe that my culture and faith are intricately connected and that I have a responsibility to have a deep understanding of both WHO I am and WHOSE I am.
I don’t believe that God would have made us uniquely different if those differences were not important. During this time of racial and cultural tension, we must consider how we can use these beautiful differences as tools to strengthen our community of faith and learn how to love each other better. Unless we do this intentional work, our churches will never truly be diverse; we will just have a group of people with varying skin tones who leave the deepest parts of themselves in the church parking lot so that they can fit in. My Afro-Caribbean heritage is an integral part of who I am. Without understanding this, you will never be able to appreciate the unique perspective and gifts that I bring to the world.
Racquel Brown is a Wife + Mother, Speaker, Parenting Coach, and Family Ministry Consultant. You can find out more at empowerequip.ca