Friday Feature: Tanisha Robinson

“Who am I when everything says to conform?”

Given the recent events in the media, I felt it was appropriate to speak about my testimony with racial issues whether it was intentional or unintentional. Ever since middle school and up until graduate school, I’ve attended predominately white schools. I’m very proud of my journey and I’ve gained some great lifelong friends but the road was not easy. I often questioned my parents as to why I attended schools in which barely anyone resembled me from the students, the teachers, administrators, and support staff. On the first day of each class, I would look around the classroom and hoped that I would see another face like myself but too often I would be the only one. I often felt misunderstood or ostracized.

In middle school, I would get so frustrated with questions like, “can I touch your hair?” or “why don’t you wash your hair every day?” Throughout middle and high school, I was heavily in to competitive sports. Some of the competition that our school would play literally had parents and students that blurted out racial slurs from the stands such as “go home n#####” or a few of the players would flat out refuse to slap my hand at the end of the games.

But as I got older, I realized there was a lesson to be learned. I was so focused on the differences but failed to really pay attention to the common grounds. So, I began to transform my mind and see people for who they were not by the color of their skin. The bible tells us in Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” The world wants us to conform and hate each other by constantly showing us displays of injustices but the word of God instructs us to do differently. Renewing your mind means to put off your own negative thinking and to put on the mind of Christ. Basically, when we “renew,” we’re exchanging our thinking for Gods.

So, who am I when everything says to conform? I’m renewed! I choose to take my old way of thinking and think the way Christ would want me to. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned when renewing my mind is to not associate an entire race with a few bad encounters that I’ve had with that particular race. I could have easily associated ALL white folks as being racist because of the poor encounters I experienced while growing up. However, I chose to not hate. No, I CHOOSE not to hate an entire race.

So when I review the recent events in the media, of course I get angry and get tired of seeing the injustices of my people, but I also know that it is not fair to blame the entire police force because there are some bad apples amongst them. There will always be some good and some bad. For every action of racial injustice or prejudice you may encounter, there are those who choose to promote the ideals of freedom, equity and equality. Today, I challenge you to transform and renew your mind by choosing to exchange your old negative way of thinking for God’s way of thinking. Be blessed.

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