Racism: My Journey

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Debra Newman Ham, Ph.D. takes us on her journey of personal racial reconciliation.

Racism has always been an interesting phenomenon to me. As a child, it did not take long to discover that I was “colored”–as African Americans were called then–and that many people did not think it was very good to have brown skin. Growing up during the civil rights movement, I was proud that Blacks were protesting against racism, but I was still confused about why God would make me a part of what my young mind considered a stigmatized race. When I looked at our Sunday School books as a youth, I actually wondered if a red-headed blue-eyed Jesus would dislike me too.

I attended Howard University in Washington, DC, during the height of the Black militancy era. At that time, I learned to hate Whites right back and to idolize Afro-American history and culture.

Eventually, the Lord brought me to my knees when I took a course on Islam in Africa. Up until this time, I was active in my local church, but unsaved. I knew many Bible stories, but not the truth of God’s Word. I knew all about churchianity but nothing about true Christianity. Nevertheless, when I began to study about Muhammad, the warrior leader, I could not help but compare him to the gentle Jesus I had heard about all of my life…

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Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29

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