© Original content written by James R. Carlson
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful young girl named Ella who was abused by her step-sisters. She had great potential but could not realize it due to their constant intervention. She had to work like a slave girl cleaning the house and doing menial tasks. When ready to rest for the day, she slept by the fireplace whereupon she became covered in ashes and cinders. Such a sight she was, this little girl covered in black soot. Her sisters changed her name to Cinder-Ella.
The Story of Cinderella is very old and can be traced to ancient mythology. The origin of our recent version of this story came in the late 17th century in France. Cinderella’s story is timeless in that people all over the world suffer needless cruelty at the hands of others who are jealous of the beauty (inward or outward) that others possess.
Ella as a name means beautiful (Daniella, Eleanor, etc.). Cinder is a name refers to the burnt pieces of wood that come from a fireplace. Nigger is a bad word that comes from the Spanish term Negro and means Black. When Ella was given her nickname, Cinder-Ella, they were calling this young girl Nigger Ella. Calling people derogatory names is as old as the 1600s and even older.
I recall the time I met a young Black woman who told me her story. She grew up in a part of a city that was predominantly Black and poor. She didn’t know she was poor until she went to a school across town due to forced school bussing. After going to predominantly White schools, she saw how much people focused on her color. She said that over time she learned to consider the looks people gave her as being a matter of perception rather than of fact.
This attractive young Black lady said that if she wore a fine dress and went into a room with a number of White women and they looked her up and down from head to toe and then turned their noses up, she said she would consider these women to be racist. But if she went into the same room wearing the same dress with the same number of Black women and they too looked her up and down from head to toe and then turned their noses up, she said she would consider these women to be jealous. What’s to keep White women from being jealous of Black women?!
I met another young Black woman who was very attractive and extremely smart. She had only recently graduated from college with an earned degree in Chemical Engineering and was preparing for a job interview with 3M. She went to her interview and afterwards I asked how she did. She said that she didn’t think she was going to get the job and complained bitterly that they didn’t like her because they were racist. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she was so arrogant due to her obvious good looks and smarts that the people who interviewed her probably reacted to her extreme self-pride.
Perception of racism is one thing; yet there is a reality still to account for. Bigotry will always be with us. And I’ve learned over the years that bigotry is color blind. It is a human emotional/mental virus that can affect anyone of any color and cause them to dislike another person of a different color. It is a spiritual problem as much as otherwise yet through prayer we can conquer this disease of mankind.
Rev. Dr. King Jr. told us to look past color to the character of another. Sidney Poitier said that he didn’t want to be treated any better or worse than anyone else because of his color; he just wanted to be treated like any other person. Treating people as fellow human beings is what it is all about. The Golden Rule, treating others like you want to be treated, is the rule to follow. Treating people like people, regardless of color is what it is all about. It’s all about peeps; and all peeps are peeps.
The hero of the Cinderella story was of course Prince Charming. To many Dr. King is this Prince. However, the true Prince of Peace is the Lord Jesus Christ. He puts a robe of righteousness on us by faith in Him; and through Him we grow in His goodness and grace. He can rescue the soul from the abuses put upon it by others; and from being an abuser of others ourselves. Grace upon grace and mercy upon mercy is His judgement for those who will receive it.
The hidden saga of abuse of a little girl called a Nigger by her step sisters has been lost to time. Cinder-Ella is a story of many women who are abused for any number of reasons and hope for a way out. Your Cinderella story may be different from others but one thing is timeless, God rescues the broken hearted, restores them to their rightful place, and pursues them as a Holy lover for eternity. Receive your Prince Charming – Jesus; and live happily ever after.
Please pray this prayer:
God of heaven, I believe in Jesus Christ who died on the Cross for me. I believe that he paid for the penalty of my sin, which I admit I have done. I ask for your forgiveness of my sin and thank you for your love. Please bring me closer to you so that I may know you. By your Holy Spirit, please make in me a clean heart, a renewed spirit, and a right mind that I may do those things that are pleasing to you. Thank you God, Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and now my Father in Heaven. Amen!