Growing up, I went to Christian schools from grades preK-12th grades. I can confirm a very dark truth in the history of evangelical education (notice I left out Christian education). One of the main tenets that was taught in these schools was that black people are a cursed race. I remember my 5th grade teacher explicitly teaching us that, even though her class had several black students in it. If I sat under that teaching and so did the young white children who also sat in that class, then we have a very clear understanding for the race issues that are still going on today. These children grew up. I grew up and just as I had to learn to realize that the Curse of Ham is a myth used to oppress the African American people within the context of the Bible, white people who grew up under these teachings, also need to discover the lie and the danger of this tale. This is the reason, why even those whites who don’t consider themselves racist, struggle to feel empathy when a black person is killed. There is an unconscious indifference that was bred into them. Their churches taught it. Their families taught it. Their schools taught it. Even those whites who have black friends, because this has been infused into the very fabric of their lives, they struggle to really see us as equal. It is why many times when I have been a boss of a white person, there was a struggle to accept me as their boss.
The Curse of Ham was not just about teaching that blacks are inferior, but it was also about teaching that the white man is our savior. Because of them enslaving us, we were rescued from the curse when slave masters allowed us to hear the gospel and to get “saved.” This is why when a black person is a strong Christian or has the capacity to help others, whites struggle with that…even those who don’t consider themselves racist (I keep saying that, right??). It goes against the laws of nature, they believe, for a black person to be equal or dare I say superior. This is why we have been kept from playing in sports, going to different colleges, getting certain jobs…we cannot surpass them. This is why after slavery, and the education of former slaves began, there was an aggressive movement to keep blacks from reading classic literature. Every black school that pushed for this, was eventually closed down by the board of education. We CANNOT under any circumstances, know the same or more than them. For us to be equal on any level is just not right! It’s why the other day, as I entered the country club, an employee questioned my presence there, until I showed her my membership. Even though she had just greeted 2 white ladies quite friendly. It is why when I have had to speak at events with majority white people, I am told (as if it is a compliment), “Wow! You speak so well!” We must be in a place of needing them and/or being less than them. If not, then from deep down at the very root where the little white child used to sit in Sunday school class, looking at all white Bible characters, and being taught that in the days of Noah, God cursed all black people, there stirs an apathy to, a fear of and a rage against blacks that they themselves cannot even understand or contain.