I spent 2 weeks in a remote area of Kenya, Africa, in the summer of 2014. While there, I was the object of great curiosity as the only white man many had ever seen.
Children followed me around, pointed and laughed (and some cried). Grown men stopped to feel the hair on my arms and bend my fingers to see if they moved as their own. The children in the home where I stayed felt my face before and after I shaved because they’d never seen facial hair.
Was I offended? No. They were curious about the similarities and the differences between us. Curiosity and questions about those different from us is not racism, sexism, or any other “ism.” They are curiosities.
Asking a mother of 6 children what it’s like to raise so many children isn’t an “ism.” A woman asking a man about the function of his anatomy isn’t an “ism.” A 40-year old asking an elderly person about certain aches and pains isn’t an “ism.” A paralyzed child asking questions of another child who can walk isn’t an “ism.” Asking a college graduate about his education isn’t an “ism.”
We are all different in so many ways. Some are obvious, other are not. Some differences are social, others mental, others physical.
My friends in Kenya asked me to bring them some shampoo the next time I visit them. I’m not sure what type of shampoo to purchase, so I checked the internet. I found a white man asking the same question. You should have read the nasty and vile comments and accusations toward the white man.
Racism, sexism, and all the other “isms” that Americans fling at one another today are shameful. This abnormal sensitivity is a root to so much of the turmoil and failure in the US; people seeking to exploit others and circumstances for gain.
To celebrate our differences, we have to notice them. The manner in which we handle those differences only becomes an “ism” when it comes from a feeling of superiority or disdain.
God has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth (Acts 17:26).