Recent events have reminded us that racial tension is alive and well in America.
Tempers flare and sides are quickly drawn whenever we hear of yet another altercation between a white and black person. A local tragedy becomes another chapter in the ongoing national saga of racism and hatred. The advances we’ve made in racial reconciliation over the last 100+ years are fragile and easily shattered.
Even in a generation raised in the era of civil rights, integration, equal opportunity, and a black president, there continues to exist a deep rift between the races. Laws and policies are important, but they lack the power to transform us.
Why is racism is so pervasive?
What causes us to play the “race card”?
What is it about racism that so quickly blurs objectivity and stirs reactivity?
For the believer this is no mystery.What is it about racism that so quickly blurs objectivity and stirs reactivity? Click To Tweet
The Root of Racism
Racism is not a black versus white issue. Racism is global. Every country in the world deals with it.
- Chinese hate Japanese
- Turks hate Kurds
- The Hutus hated the Tutsi
- The Nazis hated the Jews
- Jews hated Samaritans (had to throw a Bible reference in)
- And a thousand other “us vs. them” scenarios
Racism traces its roots all the way back to the beginning of the book of Genesis. Racism is a sin and sIn is an “I” problem.Racism is not a black versus white issue. Racism is global. Every country in the world deals with it. Click To Tweet
Racism is about sin not skin. Sin is about bad beliefs that result in bad behaviors. Not the other way around.
For example, sin came into the world when Adam & Eve believed they knew better than God. That bad belief resulted in an incredibly bad decision, which in turn resulted in spiritual death and relational distance.
We became separated from God and we pushed away from each other.
Sin’s been doing that ever since.
When I believe a lie,
love starts to die.
Racism is a lie that pushes us away from each other.
What is the lie of racism?
Racism is believing there’s something better about me and bad about you based on nothing other than your ethnicity. It is the idiotic assumption that our differences ought to divide us.
Racism often lies dormant waiting for the deadly combination of the fuel of a catalytic event fanned by the media machine to spark the fires of anger, hatred, and violence. We’ve seen this scenario played out dozens of times over the years and the collateral damage is always devastating.
So how can believers work to overcome the stench of racism?
How to Overcome Racism
1. Acknowledge that everyone has a little racism in them.
It’s part of your cultural reality. You and I were raised in a cultural context. That context created your sense of cultural norm and comfort. Whenever we encounter people outside of our ethnocultural bubble, we get uncomfortable and can easily slip into the false assumption that “they’re weird and I’m not,” or “they’re wrong and I’m right,” or worst of all, “they’re less and I’m better.” We can easily then begin to operate with false assumptions that equivocate bad behaviors with their “differentness.”
2. Watch your mouth!
Do not ever use racial slurs. The moment you use a racial term, you categorize a person into a typecast. People are far more than their race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background. There are good white people and bad white people. There are good black people and bad black people. Color has absolutely nothing to do with a person’s character. A great man said, “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Boxing a person into a racial package is sinful and destructive.
3. Get out of your bubble.
Purposefully place yourself into cross-cultural situations. You will soon be amazed to discover that you have more in common than you may have imagined! It’s easy to be suspicious of a stranger, but it’s hard to hate a friend. Make friends across cultural lines and the lies of racism will be crushed under the truth of love. One of the best ways to do this is to get involved in our PEACE plan.
Check out The PEACE Plan at Oak Ridge to see how you can change the world (or more importantly, how it can change you)!
4. Celebrate diversity and appreciate differences.
Can you imagine if there were only one kind of food in the world? Even the best dish of your favorite food would become sickening if it were the only meal day in and day out, year after year. Thank God for Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Italian, Cajun, and the endless list of other delicacies!
THANK GOD for diversity! Food is only one small cultural distinctive. Every culture has dozens of treasures to be learned and valued. View cultural differences as the seasoning that God has added to the banquet of life.
Please take a moment to pray for our nation as we continue to fight the battle of racism and senseless violence.
Originally written and published on November 27, 2014
Ali PattersonPosted at 14:37h, 13 July
I find it difficult to read comments and blogs about the “…. lives matter”. I want to shout “ALL Lives Matter….. but I know that it may offend some, so I don’t say it. As a wife of a Black (Jamaican) husband, and mother to 5 (cocoa brown boys) I’ve seen prejudice first hand, both intentional and accidental. When it’s sourced from ignorance I’m elated…. because it can be taught away, however when it’s sourced from hate or evil, I cringe, because that is a chosen path. I love that you encourage breaking the barriers, getting in there, learning other people’s traditions. Let’s face it… we do all judge unfortunately. We do ALL see differences first. But let us live like and learn from children, who boldly go out and hug people…. even the ones who don’t look like us. I’m trying with my husband, God and ORBC to be like that and raise my children to be open minded and Love like Christ. Thank you for posting this. I hope it helps lessen the divide that so many gave tried to lessen in the oast, but that recently has been opening in lieu of current ecents, propaganda, and fear!
Ironic that this was written in Nov 2014 and is more relevant than ever!
Brian MossPosted at 17:44h, 13 July
Excellent feedback Ali!
Carolyn AdkinsPosted at 23:07h, 13 July
Being “color blind” I find this subject to be beyond my way of thinking. I just don’t get it. Praying for things to get better.
Karen Mae RigginPosted at 16:19h, 28 May
“Racism is about sin not skin. Sin is about bad beliefs that result in bad behaviors.”
My heart hurts when I see, hear or witness racism in full throttle. Although I think I am not racist, I don’t rely on that knowledge. I pray on it all the time.
Racism is bigger than black and white and I see people valuing their lives over other countries and cultures. We all fail. We all are sinners. We all need God.
The biggest thing about saying something racist, self-promoting, is the impact of your witness. You lost it buddy, and many more times – do not get a second chance.
Joanne FisherPosted at 17:43h, 28 May
I’m praying for ALL people and our Government to do better when these violent actions happen. We all have to be kinder and more understanding. I thought I was’nt colorblind, but when you keep seeing this over and over it makes me pray for myself even more. I don’t want to see this as a black white issue, but honestly that’s what I see. Pray for me. This is so hard to keep seeing.
BrianPosted at 20:38h, 28 May
Totally agree Joanne. It’s so hard to keep perspective in the midst of so much hatred. Praying for you!