David Lee Castañeda, an alumnus of Eastern who graduated in 2005, stated in an interview that overcoming color prejudice does not lie in ignoring the color differences that individuals have.
Castañeda is from Costa Rica. At Eastern, he was a sociology major. Currently, he is working with Eastern University financial services and Nueva Esperanza.
During his four years at Eastern, Castañeda was actively involved in Latinos Unidos.
Groups such as LU and the Black Student League celebrate and recognize the cultural heritage of Latin Americans, African Americans and other minorities.
Castañeda pointed out that he, along with others involved in such groups, are commonly misunderstood as separatists.
Such misunderstandings generally stem from the common claim to overlook differences of color. Castañeda believes that such views that claim that color does not matter come from prejudice, discrimination and white preference.
“Recognizing and respecting the different backgrounds and origins of each person,” he said, “is part of coming together as a Christian community.”
He continued to explain that while the view of claiming not to see “different colors” means well, it is not realistic or fair in addressing the prejudices that involve individuals of color. Rather, it overlooks these perspectives.
Castañeda sadly pointed out that this view of skin-color-blindness is professed by a large portion of the Eastern community that claims to be against prejudice and discrimination toward individuals of color.
He added that through this view, not only is one failing to address certain prejudices, but one is failing to give the persons of non-Caucasian background a certain respect for their personal dignity and background.
Many participants and supporters of groups such as LU and BSL seem to share Castañeda’s view.
To truly come together as one in Christ, we must see and not ignore the different colors and backgrounds that enrich and constitute the beautiful diversity of the body of Christ.
Thus, overcoming color prejudice does not lie in ignoring color, but in respecting colored and noncolored people alike.