When you reside on this tiny island out in the Caribbean Sea, you live among folk with complexions that run the gamut of chocolate colour gradient – from white chocolate all the way up to the darkest cacao nib possible.
There is no such thing as a purebred Jamaican because there is no single physical or genetic trait that we all share. Our bloodlines reach out beyond these shores to Europe, Africa, Asia and beyond, so our Jamaican-ness is either defined by birthplace or naturalised citizenship. To that end – our motto rings true:
Out of Many, One People.
In this neck of the woods, no one kills you because you have the wrong skin tone. They kill you because you have what they desire – money, vehicle, jewellery… body – and it is unlikely that you are going to hand it to them on a silver platter. There are those of questionable mental health who will kill for the love of politics, and they show up in varying hues.
Family feuds and gang wars will sometimes lead to beheadings or bodies pumped full of lead but our news bulletins list only the names and ages of the victims. Physical descriptions appear only in the absence of such information – as mere identifiers, not character references.
For what can the skin tone tell of one’s character?
Like the pirate stories of my childhood, greed and anger lead to pillaging and bloodshed and Jamaicans have no ‘race card’ to hold aloft. In the grand scheme of things, complexion amounts to a speck on the horizon among the criminal elements here.
So it is that when I read about protests and marches or rage directed toward a particular group because of skin tone, I read as one who exists outside the fray. Inexperienced as I am with matters of colour-coded fury, I observe from a distance.
From my vantage point – on the outside, looking in – I have discovered that police brutality, murder, torture and every other vile act look the same in any hue. Change the lens all you want but total disregard of the Creator’s Law will never be other than it is: a catalyst for disharmony, lawlessness and utter confusion.
Body cameras, increased diversity, conflict resolution seminars and peace talks will reap only short-term results because they are not equipped to heal hearts “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” For that, we need Divine Firepower – the purifying influence of the Holy Spirit, “whom God has given to those who obey him” – to promote the production of good fruit.
In our fashionably-disobedient age, where the theory of evolution holds sway, the idea of embracing and obeying the Creator of all things is frowned upon as ignorant tomfoolery. If we are mere products of a cosmic accident; then, it makes perfect sense that haphazard and unwelcome fruit would spring forth?
At its core, the chaos and confusion on this planet have nothing to do with skin tone (or any other superficial issue). It has everything to do with a widespread rejection of the Creator and His standard, even among church-goers…
And if we know the cause, we automatically also know the Solution.
In the time that remains, Christ-followers have a duty to give the trumpet a certain sound. To take this gospel of the Kingdom to a dying world and shed Light abroad through the power of the Holy Spirit. To embrace Emmanuel and point those within our sphere to a Better Way.
The day will come when the Creator God will take this dying planet off life support. His Standard alone will determine who will rise when it flatlines – and the chocolate colour gradient will not be His frame of reference. Praise the Lord!
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*Image Source (CC0 Public Domain)