Last week, Christian sports figures, such as ESPN anchor Sage Steele, NFL tight end Benjamin Watson and former NFL Coach Tony Dungy, spoke at the Under Our Skin forum at The Crossing Church in Tampa, Florida to “discuss the intersection of race and faith in America today.”
While discussing the current racial divide in our country, Steele, who is biracial and married to a white man, asked black people to look within themselves before blaming others. Speaking from her own experiences, Steele said that the “worst racism” comes from black folks.
“There are times that I believe that we, as African-Americans, can be hypocritical, and that is to not look ourselves in the mirror when we are saying certain things and blaming other groups for one thing when we are doing the exact same thing,” said Steele, who was moderating the forum.
“The worst racism that I have received [as a biracial woman married to white man], and I mean thousands and thousands over the years, is from black people, who in my mind thought would be the most accepting because there has been that experience,” the anchor explained. “But even as recent as the last couple of weeks, the words that I have had thrown at me I can’t repeat here and it’s 99 percent from people with my skin color. But if a white person said those words to me, what would happen?”
Last month, Steele was racially attacked online for being critical of the “not my president” protesters gathered at airports, ironically delaying flights of immigrants, whom they suggested they were fighting for. The 44-year-old was immediately mocked as a faux black woman by other black people.
“How do we, [with Christianity] as our foundation, address this honestly with each other and these communities?” asked Steele. “Because to me, if we don’t start with ourselves in any issue, how can you point the fingers at somebody else?”
Dungy and Watson also weighed in on the matter.
The former Colts coach suggested parents need to set the standard for their children if we want to heal the divide.
“We have to start with ourselves and our families,” he said. “We have got to teach our kids that there is a way you treat people. It doesn’t matter if they’re black, white, rich, poor, educated, uneducated. There is a certain level [of respect] because that is what we do, because that is what Christ says we should do.”
Dungy added, “We can’t expect everybody else play by certain rules and we don’t. We can’t expect to treat people wrongly and not expect people to treat us wrongly. I think it’s got to start with us in our families and spread out.”
Watson echoed the accountability angle and explained that two seemingly opposing ideas or narratives can be true at once, and acknowledging such truth is okay.
“We live in a culture where you are either there or you’re there but you can’t acknowledge the truth of either one,” said the Raven. “You can’t say that, ‘Yes, folks. We need our daddies at home. We need you to do your job.’ We can’t also then say, ‘It’s also messed up that white families have a net worth that is 14 times what black families [have].’ Can we say both? Can both be true? Yes.
“I mentioned in my [Facebook] post that I was embarrassed by the violent protesting and the looting and people burning people’s cars because of what happened [in Ferguson, Missouri]. Can I condemn that and can I also say, ‘You know what? I don’t understand why it takes 17 bullets in Chicago to kill a black man on the street.’ Can I say that? They can both be true,” continued Watson. “As black people and as white people, we need to look at truth for what it is. It’s not tinted or tainted by a certain perspective. It is what it is.”
Watson, who is an unapologetic pro-life advocate, concluded: “There is a lot that we can control and a lot of that is out of our control that we need some of you all to realize and fight for because you are in the position to do so.”
H/T Christian Post