That’s me in the image above more than a decade ago standing on the banks of the Atlantic Ocean in West Africa facing the Western world. Hundreds of years ago, at this very place is where Africans were sold by other Africans and bought by Europeans during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
Before going to Cameroon, Africa, I was confused and frustrated with the information I had received from school, family, my community, and church about the plight of “black” people in America. I was told that my ancestors were stolen from Africa and shipped to the Americas. I was told that my dark skin complexion would make others intimidated. I was told that as a black man, I already had two strikes against me — being male and black. I was told that I had to do twice as much as the “white man.” I was told that all the bad things that have happened to “black” people are a result of “white” people.
These thoughts and ideas shaped my worldview until I traveled to Africa myself and spoke to the natives and listened to their oral history. I did not think I would meet African people who had more joy in utter poverty than African-American people who had the opportunity of freedom and progress. The native people told me, “We are OK. Why are you crying? We sold you all into slavery for gold and silver.”
My tears came from what I thought was true about what I was told and what I had heard. They proved me wrong. They said, “We have joy. There is no need for depression here. You have depression in America because you have so much. We have little and everything we have God gives us. We will go and pick bananas in Jesus’s name!”
I could not believe my ears. They sounded like they had overcome, but I had not. After listening to their testimonies I was delivered from the lies, confusion, frustration, and subconscious victimhood I lived under. I no longer think like a victim in America. I no longer wear the liberal guilt. I no longer view myself as a monolithic group thinker. God used their prayers and testimonies to free my mind when I thought I was going there to help free others from their problems. I left America green while mixing with yellow people in Africa and returned to the States blue. I am now a blue person amongst green people who cannot understand how it is possible or even feasible to let go of victimhood.
This is MY worldview. It is no longer tainted with a victim mentality, toxic groupthink, vengeance, bitterness, hatred, spite, and unforgiveness. My worldview is Biblical with a conservative bent. The way we see the world determines the effort we put forth toward our outcomes. May the Lord give me strength and use me as a vessel to heal others from the grips of being a victim of racial divide.