By Pastor Tanya Edwards-Evans
My past two columns have been about the masks that blacks, and other persons of color wear. In this American society, we are still at times judged by the color of our skin and not by SIN.

Often, we are not considered to be people, but rather, a product based on skill or talent. We are seen only as marketable income for someone based on our labor.

Racism is a part of the history of this country that some people do not see or experience. It’s just like we don’t see the need to have ramps or wider doors on buildings for those who need access, until we ourselves need better access in order to enter.

Facing racism, feminism, or any of the -isms, became real in my life in the late 1980s when traveling for the CCYM (Conference Council on Youth Ministries), and later as a representative for the Wesley Foundation. There was a young man who told me, with fear in his eyes, that he could not date me if he wanted to receive his inheritance. He was torn between following his heart or being accepted by his parents and friends.

Even though he was a white Christian, he had to wear a mask and hide how he felt. Even though he came from a Christian home, blacks in his community were not treated with the love the Bible speaks of; “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and, “above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (Matthew 22:39, 1 Peter 4:8)

As a representative for the Wesley Foundation, I had to ride in the backseat of a car just so we could make it to a meeting while going through KKK territory without being attacked. I was representing the UMC, yet I still faced racism; not just in the church, but in the world.
As fellow believers, are we showing partiality, bias, or favoritism to others based on neighborhood, skin color, education, economics, marital status, or lifestyle?

A verse from Paul Lawrence’s poem, We Wear the Mask, says,
“Why should the world think otherwise,
in counting all our tears and sighs.
Nay let them only see us while we wear the mask.”

What mask are you wearing to be accepted by society? How are you representing Jesus?

I invite you to visit to learn more.


is an associate pastor at First United Methodist Church - Peoria