Oreos and the Image of God

oreos-925659_1280 pixabay

I’m not a white girl in a black girl’s body. I am a black girl in a black girl’s body. Since I was a teen, it bothered me to hear someone call me an oreo, whether friend or family. I am just as much ashamed at the times I used those words too. I see the phrases as derogatory because they downplay the divine beauty in each one of us. Perhaps it was also what caused me not to see black as beautiful—as though I were a colorless soul of a person. If I didn’t see myself as racially black, then maybe the hurtful words wouldn’t sting so much. Somehow, I had cut off a part of my identity and my ability to relate. But now I find myself on the journey of accepting black as beautiful.

For me, the issue of race has been about being human first, then by sex, then by name, and finally by culture. I’ve consistently classified myself as Marvia, a woman who just happens to be black. Yet, I know were I living in another time, it would have been the opposite. My skin color always would have spoken first and determined judgments in people without them ever getting to personally know me. Why does it matter now? Because I want to grow more into myself, love my whole self more, share more without fear, and be 100% comfortable in my own black skin. Doing so allows me to embrace and love others around me without condition. That cannot happen if I’m ignoring or cutting out the obvious physical aspects of what it means to be black, a woman, and a creative force guided by God.

You see, God’s been speaking to me frequently these days about identity, balance, and wholeness. At first I thought it was based on living out who I am in Christ and living it well by ignoring color and race, but it’s more nuanced than that. In fact, it has become more apparent that God’s idea of balance, wholeness, and identity have a lot to do with me being comfortable being me in this fleshy temple in which He housed my spirit and His. It’s focused on me accepting and loving my whole self and the physical expression of God in me on the earth because it equips me to love my neighbors as I love myself. I am learning to acknowledge, understand, love well, and honor what it means to be a bit of Him in the world. It just so happens that I represent Him in a black body.

I’m not saying God is black. I’m saying I am an expression of His image on the earth, and as such, I can accept that black is beautiful, brown is beautiful, baby fro is beautiful, black guitar-singing-paint-slinging-art-journaling-goofy-me is beautiful. I, with God living in me, a pretty brown body, am beautiful! I am made in God’s image, and a piece of Him is reflected on this earth through me. That’s an amazing gift!

I carry God’s heart, His kindness, and His light into the world. It is an awesome and weighty thing to realize that each of us portray a piece of God’s divinity in our respective cultures. The church is a beautiful and dynamic body filled with the multifacetedness of God. He is in all of us, and we are all found in Him—every color, tribe, and tongue.

I am learning to live in the skin in which God cloaked a bit of Himself. I am seeing the beauty of blackness everywhere in culture. It’s in the arts, literature, sports, business, the church, politics, and leisurely things too. Being black is nothing for me to be ashamed of. My eyes are open. I’m looking. I’m choosing to honor the handiwork of God revealed through my flesh and yours. I see more of how black is not less than, offensive, or wrong. Blackness is another expression of God’s majesty here on the earth.

I am a black woman made in the image of God. I am beautiful, and this is more than enough.

Marvia Davidson
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22 thoughts on “Oreos and the Image of God

  1. Thank you for this post, Marvia–I have such a different experience, being white, but I oddly think there’s a certain parallel. I haven’t been taught to think of myself of having a racial identity–whiteness is so invisible and seen as default, standard, that I couldn’t SEE it. I still remember starting to read Tim Wise’s book, White like Me, and realizing _this_ is why I feel uneasy about race, about what my race is. I don’t need to feel ashamed of who I am, but I think a certain level of guilt about what whiteness means is appropriate. But guilt is funny–it at first feels bad, and then feels like _reality_ and freedom; like you, really _seeing_ who I am and what it means has felt empowering, and important to what God has called me to and how I represent him in the world. It’s important than I’m white and you’re black and that we’re both free to represent God in more of His glory. thank you so much for sharing your journey with this.

    • I so relate to this Heather. And Marvia, thank you for your gorgeous post about owning your skin with all of its history and for seeing it in light of God’s glory. It feels like I see you coming into your skin and it is so appealing.

    • Oh Heather!! Yes to all you said. I get it. Saying amen and yes. We are both (all of us) free and able to unashamedly represent him in this world. Thank you for reading and for sharing your story too. There is #roomforstories!

  2. Yes, this post was lovely! Thank you for sharing your journey to embracing your Blackness! I have learned to embrace my Blackness as well. I love this sentence: “Blackness is another expression of God’s majesty here on the earth.”

    • It’s been a life refrain as in always learning this weekly if not daily. I just keep showing up to life. Thank you for reading.

  3. Marvia, what a lovely and eye-opening perspective. I echo what Heather said…I’ve never thought of myself as a white person. In the US, it does seem like the “default” is white; I struggle with those who point out in anecdotes if the person is black, when the race of the subject is not material (how many times is it ever, really?). In that perspective, white is the norm or default, and any race other than that should be identified because it’s “other than.” That hurts my heart, but I also have to be honest about my own propensities to make those same distinctions at times. Posts like yours, above, help open my eyes, so thank you.

    • Right on when the race is NOT the subject – red herrings everywhere. Thank you for reading too. We’re all growing and learning together 😉 Here’s to all of us making room for more stories.

  4. Marvia, this is so beautiful! You are beautiful and wise. Thank you for sharing yourself with us here and for your inspiring words. I’m so happy to know you, dear sister! Blessings to you and much love.

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