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We have friends who have a South African woman come once a week to help out with the children. They recently went on furlough and wanted to keep this woman employed during their trip. They arranged for her to help with another couple’s children.

Recently we learned this woman refused to come and help. The family who would have received her services (during our friends furlough) were from Zimbabwe. This woman, a black South African, refused to help someone from another African nation.

Racism is not only about the color of one’s skin. It goes much deeper.

Racism can be about nationality.
Racism can be about tribe or people group.
Racism can be based on economic status, real or perceived.

While South Africa is making great progress as a free nation, we still see the stigma of racism raise its ugly head.

“Poor people are lazy.”
“You must eat snakes and play with lions(if you live in Africa).”
“Americans are fat.”

People are famous for making assumptions and stereotypes. Often they are extremely painful.

We recently had a time on our missions campus of sharing different perspectives from various cultures. We laughed, we cried, and we felt each other’s pain.

I’m reminded of three things that I know to be true. It is also these three things that I need to be challenged to regularly apply in my life in missions.

1. Avoid Assumption
I know plenty of lazy rich people and even a few thin Americans!

No one enjoyes being boxed in by assumptions. When they happen in a cross cultural setting, it is easy to become isolated and critical. Victory comes when we don’t see each other by our nationality, skin color, or economic status; but rather as people.