Do not stare at me because I’m dark; it’s the sun that tanned me …
This phrase is lifted directly from the Songs of Solomon, and may be found in vs. 1:6.
I have been amazed by the amount of scientific information and basis for scientific theory that can be found in the Bible, and I believe that as we study the Bible more and more, like George Washington Carver, the man who supposedly spoke to flowers and invented more than 300 uses for peanuts, we also can come to know the secrets of science and technology, and also partake of the mysteries God’s creation as a whole, by our study of the word of God.
Recently we have been inundated by so many events that have been so racially charged as t have caused a sharp rip in the fabric of our society. First in the death of Trayvon Martin, and a most recent report of a mother, who allegedly falsely accused two black teenage boys of shooting her infant son, while, in fact, she was one who murdered her own son.
We have come through the ages of trade slavery, the age of the KKK, the veiled and not so veiled racial discrimination that has been so prevalent especially in the United States, which I am quick to say goes both ways – black to white, and white to black and sometimes I daresay, even black to darker or lighter black.
But here is my story:
I grew up in Black Africa. I was raised in Nigeria in the 1970s through 1990s. I attended a fully integrated, racially diverse grade school, and I am proud to say that throughout my early years, I lived an entirely colorblind life, and this pretty much was the case until I moved to the United States of America in the mid-1990s.
I must say I received a shock, a rude awakening, when after I started living in the United States; I became exposed to this ugly monster called racial discrimination.
I am blessed that I have not been as exposed as some of my other counterparts. I have pretty much lived amongst people who have been loving, giving and very much tolerant of other cultures and communities, from Philadelphia through Eau Claire Wisconsin, through to Minneapolis where I now reside, but that has pretty much been amongst people who know me, or have taken the time, and trouble to get to know me.
From some, I have experienced kindness beyond measure, but I have also experienced an amazing sense of impotence that comes from being regarded as being less than human, just because of the color of my skin. I have been followed around by overzealous shop clerks in departmental stores, unseasonably and unnecessarily questioned regarding my choices, and my ability to afford items that I have attempted to purchase, I have been patronized, I have been sidelined, and I have been spoken to in less than dulcet tones in compensation for my supposed inability to understand the English language, because I have an “accent” and because I AM BLACK.
I initially did not understand why my African-American brothers and sisters were so vehement in their condemnation of racism, and their bluster-veiled fear of the ‘white folk’. My innermost thoughts towards these sentiments were “they need to get over it” until I became AFRICAN-AMERICAN.
So I began to ask God and myself this question: Why am I black? And why is the white man white? Was God being partial in creating the black man black, and the white man white? I knew that all men were created equal and that I was not intellectually inferior, neither was I socially inept, because I had been raised to walk as a princess, and been brought up with a deeply ingrained sense of self-worth.
So why White, and Black?
Here is my genealogy:
God initially showed me why I am the dark I am, and why you are the pale you are, through the zebra:
The zebra being one of the most graceful and beautiful of God’s created animals, has for centuries, been loved by connoisseurs of beauty, class and elegance – A quality that sets it apart from all the other animals, the intertwining of black and white. I have come to the realization that the Zebra would not have been as beautiful if he had been totally white, or completely black. It’s magnificence lying in the black-and-white intertwined, complex and beautiful patterning of its hide.
I believe that this was God’s intention for the race that he created, the human race, black and white – to be at its most beautiful, magnificent, complex and intriguing, by being distinct, yet complexly intertwined in pattern, to form a stunningly beautiful whole.
The zebra would not a zebra be, without its stripes…
God’s word also demonstrates the seasonality of time, and the variance of climates to the endpoint of Seedtime and Harvest time. Through observation, I have noted that in all the climates where the sun shines bright and hot, the skin is dark and lustrous, and in all the countries where the sun does not shine as brightly or as hotly, the skin gleams pale and pink, and elsewhere, everything in between. God’s word clearly shows that in the beginning, for there to be a balance, there was created seedtime and harvest time, and so also night and day, winter, spring, summer, and autumn for the propagation of life, unto life, unto life. So also did He create the seasons of His people, black, white, caramel, and yellow for the propagation of life, unto life, unto life.
So do not stare at me because I am dark, it is not because I am stupid, it is because the sun has burned me…
It is because I am of Ham and you of Japheth, and he of Shem, All sons and daughters of courage, survivors of the flood, all from one father, but separated by time, circumstance, and seasons, once again to be entwined much like in the Zebra.
So do not stare at me because I am dark, I am as beautiful as you and you are as beautiful as I, and this I know because God told me so…
© AdePero Mettabel, 072913.
Mettabel Okulaja, MD is an Internal Medicine physician, and an inspirational speaker. She is also the author of ‘The Voice of One Woman’ – A rich anthology of prose, poems, original quotes and short stories, platformed on her own discovery of herself as a deliberate and beautiful uniquely created being.
Her book is available online both in paper and eBook formats, on amazon.com, bn.com and wherever great books are sold.