Also by Rachel on HA: “Hurts Me More Than You: Rachel’s Story.”
I never realized what an anomaly my family was at homeschool conventions or homeschool co-ops until recently we ran into another Indian family at one. The first I have ever met. And they were only looking into homeschooling. They weren’t even homeschooling yet!
See, my family is not your typical homeschooling family. We’re brown. But more than that, we’re Indian. Like, from India.
And we are still the only Indian homeschool family to date that I know.
For years I’ve felt like an outsider at homeschool conventions because I would look around and every single other person was white, with either brown or red hair neatly tucked into a bun, a traditional jean jumper or skirt, and a nicely demure aura, and there I was with my brown skin, long straight black hair hanging loose, jeans, and gauzy shirt. You can imagine the looks I got.
And here’s where it gets personal.
Race is a very big thing in the homeschool community, I’ve discovered. Douglas Wilson has been skyrocketed into the spotlight for his classic white supremacist views, and his book excusing slavery in the American South, but before I even read his book I started having problems with a class I was taking at the time: Gileskirk Christendom, based on the beliefs of a certain Dr. George Grant. He portrayed Western Civilization, and, most notably white people, as the “greatest flowering of Christianity”, and descrys the rest of the world as pagan, primitive, and ungodly.
It’s as if Christianity equals White.
When I was 12 and 13 I had a mad crush on a young man who was a personal friend of our family. I thought he was fantastic. I adored him pretty much. But he was a good 7-8 years older than me and never realized my hopeless obsession. Before long I realized that there was no way he would ever fall for me, and I remember my mom telling me that it was hopeless because his mom would decide who he courted, and the girl he married would have to be white. (His mom was just that kind who read all the “white supremacy couched as christian” homeschool literature, and raised her kids on Westerns where white = good and dark = bad).
After all, good upstanding white Christian homeschooled guys want a “clean” girl. They want someone with white skin and brown hair, who’s tall and fair and a poster child for homeschooling. They don’t look for shorty curvy brown girls who have way too much passion and poetry in their veins.
And believe me, I’d read all the books. On how you had to be meek and quiet and not rebel or listen to secular music; and all the books made a white southern lifestyle seem equatable with Christianity. You know, where you didn’t go to college, and waited for the perfect Prince Charming. What particularly impacted my view, though, was that the books said that being seductive or sexy was “the sin of Bathsheba” therefore it was considered taboo.
Now, one considers white skin inherently “seductive” or “exotic”, yet those are exactly the stereotypes which come with having copper colored skin. I was convinced that had I only been white, he may have cared for me and it broke my heart and plunged me into extreme self-hatred.
I can remember writing a teary-eyed journal entry begging God to make me white because if I was white, then he would love me. Well, he turned out courting a girl who is just that: white. tall. fair. with brown – blonde hair and who’s pretty much perfect.
And while we all have ideas of what our first heartbreak will be, little did I think that it was my skin color which would break my heart.
I came across a small homeschool pamphlet on courtship yesterday which listed a number of factors which would disqualify a person as a potential spouse. One of them was entitled “race”.
My eyes filled with tears and I threw the book across the room.
It’s just that mindset which is so contrary to the Word of God which says that in Christ there is neither “Jew nor Greek” and that God is no “respecter of persons”, that frustrates me so much. Perhaps this is because I personally have experienced it. I know firsthand the destructive consequences.
It has taken me years to see anything beautiful in my skin color. It’s still a struggle. There are days I’m ok with it, and days I hate it because it’s so…. brown.
If race is something I have no control over, then what makes a white girl more christian simply because she, through no superiority or fault of her own, was born with less melanin in her skin than me?
And after years spent with SPF 100, whitening creams, etc. I give up.
I’m me and that has to be enough.
But I can 100% assure you that those books aren’t helping anything. It’s stupid to hold one skin color up as “better” than another. Because in the eyes of God we are all equal, no matter.
It’s about time the homeschool community discards the religious baloney and heads back to Scripture on this one.