Each human that has ever lived experienced a full rich life.  However it is hard to know even one person aside from yourself to such a profound level, so in order to differentiate we characterize people giving them a defining adjective or two.  In the case of Saint Maurice that adjective is ‘black’.  While his race may be the most easily differentiated quality he possessed, this easy description causes him to loose some of his personhood, because the adjective has little to do with how he lived is life.  It describes nothing of his faithfulness and bravery.  While race is important because it does affect how we experience life it should not be the one adjective we give to describe people.  Yet, it is something that continues on to this day.  A person will first be described as a black man before he is a congressman or Ivy League college student or just a regular person on the street.  The question arrises how do we as white people account for a person’s race as an important aspect of their life and experience without making it the most important or only reason they are remembered when in fact they have done so much more?

Katelyn Kiner – Hope College – 2017

Image source: wikimedia commons


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