Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Race Perspective

Racism is alive and well in America if the recent polls are correct. A new AP poll claims that racial prejudice against blacks has increased since the election of Barack Obama in 2008. Racism is a real issue in America and electing our first black president has not helped bridge the gap. Now I have no business to assume I know what racism is because I am part of the majority. Not only am I part of the majority race but I am in the upper socioeconomic tier of that race. Poverty and oppression are not part of my heritage. I can’t relate. But I can say I don’t like racism and that I find it offensive and ignorant.

Basic logic will tell you that the amount of pigment in someone’s skin does not institute a value of that person. Last I checked the Bible still says that we were all created in God’s image…equal in all ways. But in the same spirit we are all different and unique persons. We all have different skills, talents and abilities. Some of us are smarter than others and some of us are physically stronger and more able to catch or throw a ball. Just as it is with our pigmentation, these differences do not equate value…they are just differences.

So can blacks and whites accept that they have many differences but unite in a bond of equality? It seems this is a difficult if not impossible task for many people. Feelings of anger and fear have clouded some people ability to see differences as just that, differences. Instead they are fighting for value and respect, aspects of the human condition that should be a given and universal among all people.

It reminds me of something Jesus said that I believe would go a long way in healing race relations in our communities and nation.

Matthew 22:36-40 (NLT)
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”  37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’  38 This is the first and greatest commandment.  39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”  

Any form of racism ignores this command. Might we take this command to heart and give ourselves sacrificially to others as Christ did for us? The Beatles had it right…all we need is love!

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