Hi, I’m Kimberly and I’m black

Kathleen Kelly mocks: “Hi, my name’s Joe. As if you were one of the stupid 22-year-old girls with no last name. ‘Hi, I’m Kimberly.’ ‘Hi, I’m Janice.’ Don’t they know you’re supposed to have a last name. It’s like they’re an entire generation of cocktail waitresses.”
Joe Fox: Look. I am not a 22-year-old cocktail waitress.
Kathleen: That’s not what I meant. (You’ve Got Mail)

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When I was young, pretending “office,” I’d sign Mom’s outdated checks or the triplicate documents (remember those with the carbon paper?) as Kimberly Brooke. Why I really don’t know. I didn’t mind my name, even though it was fairly common, and now, I don’t care for the name Kimberly anymore (no offense to anyone named Kim). I was proud to be a Kuenzle; I was proud of my heritage and my parents and where I came from. I didn’t want to be anyone else, not really.

What is the significance of knowing your name and your background? After all, some people would prefer to forget the past. Not all childhoods are happy ones. And yet, having roots allows us to know where to grow up and out from.

Have you ever noticed that Disney stories omit parents most of the time? If not both, then at least one of them is out of the picture. And usually the one remaining is restricting, narrow-minded and unsupportive. You start to wonder if they understand and love their child or just want to control her/him. Andrew Peterson, author of the Wingfeather saga, shows that not all adventures have to be isolated and independent events, pulling us away from the strong ties of familial bonds. We truly can have parents and grandparents and siblings who undergird us, giving us wings to fly. We can have a family that encourages and fuels our dreams, traversing with us through life’s peaks and valleys.

At different points in my life I fantasized about what it would be like to have black skin. Growing up in St. Louis, being around Black people wasn’t scary to me, but fascinating. I understood that not all Black people could sing or dance, but the majority could much better than I could, and I envied that ability. My spirit was drawn to the dynamic soul of the Black community and I never comprehended why people could be prejudice against someone because they had more melanin.

Sadly, the culture now holds a prejudice bias against people who have less melanin. A Popeyes’ manager in Missouri posted a sign that would ‘reserve the right to refuse service to white people’ and a recent commentary article in the LA Times reports how the Friends’ Reunion wasn’t diverse enough. Too many white people in the show makes the writer wish they could go back and recast the whole thing. Proponents of CRT argue that if you are born white you are born racist. [I won’t insult your intelligence by showing the irrational logical fallacy of that position].

So, in a world where being white is wrong (excuse me, I can’t choose my skin color) and being heterosexual is narrow-minded (homosexuals would argue you can’t choose your sexual orientation either, but vast and diverse explosion of gender and sexual orientation titles in the last decade would show otherwise), and being Evangelical Christian makes you hateful, I just want to say, “I am thankful for who I am.” It’s not always easy, no, but usually that struggle is because I fail to utilize my personality, my relationships and background to His glory. And when I deviate from His plan I lose sight of gratitude, joy, and peace.

I am thankful I was born Kristin Kuenzle. I am thankful that I am white. I am thankful for the Christian heritage I have and how my parents raised me. But I am not thankful because it somehow makes me better than everyone else or because I am somehow a superior race, ethnicity, or in a higher familial social-economic tier, but because this is the story God, the All-Loving Creator, chose for me. So, if I was black, born into poverty in Uganda and had only heard of the Lord through the local Compassion school there, I would be thankful too. Because it was part of His design.

We need to quit seeing diversity as a threat and start seeing it as a gift.

We need to quit seeing family as inhibiting and start seeing it as inspiring and enabling (in a positive way).

We need to quit putting a question mark where God put a period.

He loves you, He designed you uniquely and celebrates His creation. Don’t miss it. It’s a beautiful gift to be who He made you to be.

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