I posted an article a year or so ago about students of color and independent schools. My friend and colleague, John Lewis, one of three African-American faculty members on campus, and who teaches in the Bible Department, offers a response to race and its significance; I encourage you to read the above link at some point on students of color and the Black Alcove. Below is John Lewis talking with colleagues before commencement. Lewis can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Race matters! It is idealistic to believe that we have grown so far where race, as defined by ethnicity, color, texture, cultural nuances, even musical genre doesn’t matter in America. Race matters in public places, private spaces and that includes public schools and private, Christian educational enclaves like Houston Christian High School. I somehow still long for; hope for; pray for a day of reckoning for those who violate the delicate hearts and spirits of people who yet endure racism, discrimination, and hatred in its many disguises. I shall wait perhaps as long as forever. I am not a pessimist to be sure- but my optimism with regard to the heart of man, (non-gender), is tempered with realism: people in America, especially those who profess Christ as Lord create more damage than any overt act of racism heralded by the likes of a Klu Klux Klansman when they employ conceited, willful, collusion to carry out their systematic practices to deny people of color equal access under the law.
The nation in which we live continues to ignore the meaningful data that suggests very clearly how little our advances have been in almost every area of the American way of life. Race Matters! The fact that it must still be discussed is a signal that [it] does. We cannot seem to grasp that something fundamentally flawed in our spiritual psyche when one man of color, the late Thurgood Marshall was replaced with another man of color, Clarence Thomas-matters not their political distinctions or judicial loyalties. There remains just one person of African-American descent on the highest court in our land. Race Matters when Antonin Scalia remains the only Italian-American on the court. It matters when there is the newly appointed, sole Hispanic-origin Justice now serving on the same high court. Spare me the court’s make-up represents a microcosm of our society” defense. It states in its own way that there aren’t but a few qualified black justices. Worse, we can only tolerate one at a time. These examples represent only a microcosm of the embedded practices of racism and discrimination still prevalent throughout our country.
We, at Houston Christian High School, still must face in new creative designs; the harboring nature of sin at its worse- when those who employ the name of Christ at the same time misuse one of His own choosing…and for what cause? It should be possible to discover somewhere in an ocean of 3.5 million people qualified, financially robust, politically connected, corporate gurus, reasonably well-connected in society with high school aged children that happen to be of color to join the family. I know that our admissions office do a great job in presenting the virtues of this school and its people. But our numbers are anemic in diversity- that’s just keeping it real. When you can count the number of students of color at any school with low-level arithmetic, you haven’t overcome the hurdle of racial matters.
Most preschoolers can count to 12. When you can count faculty of color with the speed of sound rhythm, then you haven’t overcome. It’s simple really. Race matters today as it did yesteryear. It will matter tomorrow. I suppose it is healthy in some sense to speak of it within the context of hopeful expectation. It is encouraging for me personally to hear some of our young students chime in on this issue. They still represent for me the innocent voice in our colored past.