African-American Who Says She's White?

Most of us have probably seen it by now: Treasure, a 16 year-old African-American who insists she's white. She was a guest on the Dr. Phil talk-show, and her perspective on life and black people has become a viral topic of discussion. She claims to be white despite the evidence of her "blackness" in her complexion. She also makes countless outrageous statements demeaning the value, heritage and significance of black people.

Now first up, I confess. If you haven't seen it from my pictures and videos, I'm very much, unambiguously black. And because I fall into the pool of people broad-stroked by Treasure's opinions, it doesn't take a genius to figure out how easily I can take offence. Maybe you can identify. But here's what you and I have to ask ourselves: are the things she said true? Furthermore, what are the real issues here?

Treasure falsely believes that black people are inferior to white people. In her mind, being white represents perfection, dignity and significance. Black people are seen as quite the opposite - ratchet, insignificant hood-rats. These basic beliefs are what drive her own self-perception. Like us, Treasure wants to be perfect, dignified and significant. But the problem is she wrongly thinks it's found in being white.

This is the basic make-up of idolatry. When we wrongly put our trust and confidence in something other than God as the thing that will bring us ultimate satisfaction, joy and significance. An idol isn't always a statue or shrine that we physically bow down to. An idol can exist invisibly in our minds as we submit to false beliefs: the things we wrongly think will somehow give us ultimate significance, safety and meaning.

Whether it's riches, a spouse, a career or being "white", the idols in our minds aren't always evil when looked at in isolation. For example, having lots of money can help lots of people, marriage is good and godly, advancing in your career can glorify God and being white isn't synonymous with wizardry. But we have to be mindful not to elevate these things more highly than they ought to be. Why? Because what we esteem the highest in our minds will be the source from which we draw our identity and significance. That highest place in our minds was always reserved for God alone (see Exodus 20:3).

The existence of idolatry is often most exposed when the idol is taken away. If it's riches, what happens when you're flat broke and have no clue how you're going to survive? If it's your spouse, what happens when they change and start to neglect you? If it's your career, what happens when you're fired and you can't seem to find another job? The challenging trials of life can be used to expose what's really in our hearts. So when it looks like that precious, cherished thing is about to be taken away, will we stand firm and keep trusting God like Abraham did (see Genesis 22:1-19 and Hebrews 11:17-19)? Or will it create an opportunity for us to go back to God and sincerely admit our idolatry?

Treasure's beliefs about black people and white people were definitely out of hand and distorted. But let's not make the mistake of just seeing this at face value alone. Beneath the surface, let's ask God to search us and expose any idols we have within our minds. If we're guilty, hope isn't lost. God invites us to come before Him boldly. There's grace and forgiveness for when we've got things wrong.

Further Reading: Romans 12:1-2.

Link to Treasure on the Dr. Phil show: YouTube

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