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White Privilege and Lido Pimienta


Credit: Taema/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Taema/Flickr/Creative Commons

Are people with white skin privileged? Do we need to give special treatment to people with dark skin? People are talking about this.

On October 19, 2017, a singer named Lido Pimienta went on stage at the Halifax Pop Explosion music festival to sing. Halifax is in Nova Scotia, Canada, and Lido is a woman, originally from Colombia, South America.

Before she sang, she told white people and men in the audience, to move to the back, and she instructed women with dark skin to move to the front rows, close to her. Some people argued that this was racism, and a female photographer with light skin stayed near the stage to take pictures. She was ordered to move to the back several times, and then security removed her from the festival. Organizers have since apologized to Lido Pimienta for the photographer’s overt racism.

Arguments have ensured. One quote from the discussion in the Global News article is:

“I’m sorry but isn’t that the epitome of racism? Dividing people on the basis of skin colour. White people go to the back of the bus! Haven’t they learned anything from history? I’ve never heard of this Lido before but she sure sounds immature.”

So, what do you think?

What singer said this “Thank you, thank you very much”? Those words are a trademark of Elvis Presley, one of the most successful music stars in history. He started as a handsome and talented young man, and he was always polite and respectful to the public. His formula worked, and most successful entertainers are like him.

Lido Pimiento now has many critics, and I don’t want to pile on, but I guess she has damaged her music career. She was gaining positive fame, but now most of us only know about her from the problem in Halifax.

Many disagree with Lido Pimienta, but that is not the end of the story. I think she had the wrong solution for a real problem. We can criticize the failings of others, and there are so many, that could be a full-time job. It is more important to know and show the best way.

Have you met a Moravian Christian?

They are a small denomination with churches in Pennsylvania and Alberta, and parts of South America, and they have an interesting history. There is a story that two Moravian Missionaries sold themselves as slaves around 1732, so they could preach to African slaves near South America. At the time, it was common to believe that slaves with dark skin did not have souls.

Johann Leonhard Dober and David Nitschmann were willing to sell themselves, but we don’t know if they actually did; the story is lost in history.

We do know that white privilege was very real at the time, and as Christians they chose to obey God, at any cost. They didn’t argue and offend, they acted. They knew the instructions for Christians:

“Love must be sincere. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Outdo yourselves in honoring one another. Do not let your zeal subside; keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, persistent in prayer. Share with the saints who are in need. Practice hospitality.” (Romans 12: 9 to 13)

Recently, a man tried to hug me. I settled for a handshake, but he was very happy with me. We were in an industrial yard filled with large trucks and semi trailers, and truck drivers. I had just finished teaching a course that drivers need if they want to work, and I showed them how to pass the government test.

I am not a hero, I did my job for pay, but I am a Christian. I guess that some others, in the industry, don’t bother teaching some people. That man had a turban, and his skin was darker than mine. I think I opened the door for him, when others would not, and he had a chance to get a job and support his family.

The darkness is thick sometimes.

My story is really about the cruel world around me. We should all get this lesson; simply live like a Christian, and you will be different from the world around you, like a candle in a dark room.

The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. You shall multiply the nation, You shall increase their gladness. (Isaiah 9: 2 and 3)

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