Recent events have reminded us that racial tension is alive and well in America.
Tempers flared and sides were quickly drawn when a white police officer shot a black man during an altercation. 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 50 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.
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
- Germans hated the Jews
- Jews hated Samaritans
- And a thousands other us vs. them scenarios
Racism traces it roots all the way back to the beginning in the book of Genesis. Racism is a sin and sIn is an “I” problem.
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 we, as 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 ethno-cultural bubble, we get uncomfortable and can easily slip into the false assumption that “they’re weird and I’m not.” We then begin to operate with false assumptions that equivocate their behavior 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 go on an international mission trip! If you’re an ORBCer, check out http://www.orbc.net/global-outreach 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 cultural 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.