Thoughts and musings on race

June 5, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment

So…I have been thinking about a lot of what is currently happening in our country and it’s lead to things that leave me wondering.

I watch the video of George Floyd getting “arrested” and I grieve. I grieve for Floyd. I know the ultimate end of the video and I’m concerned about his eternal soul. I grieve for the police officers who arrested him and their murder of Floyd without any evident concern for the life of another human being. I grieve for all of the police officers that I know, many who are family (blood or not), who will now be even more on edge and will be instantly linked to those that killed Mr. Floyd even though they would never take life or their duty so lightly.

I watch as one man of a specific skin color gets murdered and the nation goes into an uproar. I don’t recall any reactions like this for people of other skin colors. Why? Are the others not worth a peaceful public protest? In the midst of this uproar are loud calls for justice and a change of the treatment of people of this same skin color. While these shouts are made, I read about how other people of this same skin color are shot for standing up for and protecting businesses and people from destruction by rioters (of many skin colors, including the one in question) who seem to be blinded by a manufactured rage. But, I don’t see anyone in an outrage over the other people who died. Why no outrage? I see protests quietly and respectfully taking place about treatment of specifically skin colored people reflecting an obvious difference in mindset between the protesters and the rioters. But why are there protests for only this one skin color? Why not others? Are they not worth it?

I watch as people burn down the cities they claim they’re trying to defend and free up from oppression. I don’t understand this. I watch multitudes of people running through broken buildings and then away with TVs and other things that don’t belong to them. I see people getting shot for trying to destroy others’ property or take it for themselves, only to watch the same police that people are protesting risk their own lives to save the one who was shot. How does any of this bring the situation closer to resolution? How does any of this heal any of the “race” relations?

And I hear, over and over ad nauseum, how I could never understand the plight of any minority in our country, especially those of a specific skin color. I will never understand, according to common statements made by media and various others, what it’s like to have people look at me in a specific way or to be singled out for specific attention by others because of who I am. But, how do they know? How do they know me? How do they know how I grew up or what I’ve dealt with? They don’t, and this is part of the problem. And, if I’m unable to understand the common plight of all of these people with the same skin color, why do they understand my plight. How do they know what it’s like to be a white, middle-aged, male that is blamed for all of the world’s problems on a daily basis by every other sector of the population?

I am a what used to be known as a WASP. I am a white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant. To add “insult” to “injury” I’m also a male. Just because of this (none of which I had any choice in BTW), I find myself in one of the most unique and commonly attacked groups of individuals in the history of our nation.

I’m white. This means, to many, that I have a much better chance of being happy, healthy, rich, content, and all the other positive adjectives that you can think of. It means that I have a better choice of schools, jobs, and life in general. All of this “privilege” unceremoniously dumped on me just because I don’t have as much melanin in my skin as others do. Obviously I was quick to deny a large amount of melanin in my skin when I was born to help gain me the most amount of privilege that I could attain. I’m told at every turn by just about everyone that I’m far more privileged than I should be and that I should be ashamed of being white. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t have any control over the genetic process that decided my skin color for me. It doesn’t matter that I have had to work really hard to get where I am. I am also told that, because I’m white, I should pay back to people of another skin color monetary and other reparations for the atrocities and evils visited upon the (supposed) ancestors of said people, even though both sides of my family weren’t even on the continent at the time those atrocities took place. Sadly, none of this is seen as racist because, as I’m a white person, I’m not able to be the target or victim of racism.

Add to this the reality that myself and others that I’ve talked to have definitely felt the looks and aggression toward us just for being white. Some have clutched at mace or guns or whatever they have as they walk to their cars because of the looks they’ve received. They’ve seen the protesters and felt uncomfortable for being the skin color they are because of what they’ve seen taking place in various cities around the nation. The very notion that I should be uncomfortable for questioning anything about race relations, because I’m white and wouldn’t know what it’s like, is racism.

I’m also a male. To some, this automatically means that I hate women and wish them to be miserable and without joy. I’m constantly reminded about how evil it is to be a man; about how I want women to be paid less than men, to be treated as less than men, and how I want them to stay out of a “man’s world”. This derision comes from the same world that obnoxiously plasters pictures of scantily clad women all over every surface possible to sell merchandise. I’m told how evil I am for not giving in to feminism and ideas that would exalt women over men instead of both being equal. It doesn’t matter that I strive to live out a life that cherishes women for who they are and what they can do. It doesn’t matter that I am raising a daughter and pouring into her life everything I can in the hopes that she’ll excel in her life and attain goals that I can barely see. All of this is obviously a facade so that I can live with myself. There is no way that someone with a Y chromosome could value women for the differences that make them special without seeing them as a object to be controlled or conquered.

I’m an Anglo-Saxon. I’m am of European decent. My family comes from Germany and the Czech Republic. As I said above, both of my families were in their respective countries at the time of the slave troubles of America. I’ve never owned slaves. My family has never owned slaves. And yet, I’m expected to repay to a people something that I don’t even owe them because of my heritage? Isn’t that racist?

I’m a Protestant. I’m part of a movement that has been protesting for far longer than the last 150 years. And, I understand what I’m protesting. I am a part of a biblically sound, Reformed church. In other words, I’m a Christian. As a Christian, I’ve been repeatedly told that I am unloving, uncaring, hateful, bigoted, narrow-minded, “on the wrong side of history”, and many other derogatory things all because of what I believe – by many who claim to share those beliefs. I’m called unloving because I refuse to condone people living in their sins. To add to the insult I clearly tell them that their lifestyle is sinful. In an effort to love these people, I plead with them to turn from their sins in order to be spared God’s wrath. Somehow, my not wanting someone to go to hell is uncaring. I’m called bigoted and narrow-minded because I refuse to see divisions where the Bible makes none. The Bible makes it clear that there “is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free” (Romans 10:12, Galatians 3:28) but that we are all one in Jesus Christ. It also says that we are all “made in God’s image” (Genesis 1:26-7) and that Jesus will have followers “from every tribe, tongue, kindred, and nation” on the earth (Revelation 5:9). We see that all of us are the children of Adam and Eve (and Noah and his family) and therefore we are all related in some way. Because I hold this view, I’m perplexed at how things are going right now.

I am also a Constitutional Conservative. I believe that the federal government should be confined to the powers expressed in the Constitution and no more. I believe that each branch should only be able to use those powers granted to it. This means that the courts would no longer create laws, Congress wouldn’t be able to make executive decisions, and the President wouldn’t be able to declare war or take action on their own. I believe that civil servants should serve and be responsible to the people they represent. I don’t believe politician should be a career choice but a choice to help make the country better for all, instead of heaping larger burdens on the people and keeping them at odds with one another while getting rich off of those same people. I believe that the states should have the powers that are not enumerated in the Constitution and should be able to decide what is best for their citizens without being blackmailed by the threat of loss of federal funds. I believe that capitalism is good for the nation and that everyone should have the same rights regardless of skin color. I understand the distinction between rights and privileges and don’t think that anyone is entitled to anything but the opportunity to do the best they can.

I see a group of people who make up 13% of the population talking about wanting equality in all things while couching everything in terms of their skin color versus others. I don’t understand how that helps fix the situation. I see this same group locked in a vicious cycle where they are preyed upon by those claiming to take care of them. They are wiped out by Planned Parenthood (which is PP’s mission). They are the victims of their own culture and don’t really seem to want out of it. If racism is a problem for our country, and it is, then it is a problem for all of us. It’s not just a “black” problem or a “white” problem. There are racists of all skin colors and every ethnic/racial group in our country can point to a time in history when they were the recipient of racial hostility.

The solution to the “racial” problems is not easy and yet it is. There are a lot of different things that need to be addressed. They don’t need to be addressed by groups or government programs but by individuals. It’s easy to be in the herd mentality and be driven by what the herd thinks, but when each of us begin to take responsibility for the issues our country faces things can honestly change. We need to see that racism is sin and that it’s everyone’s problem. To get beyond racism we need to see each other as human beings regardless of skin color. Care and concern for each other needs to come from something more than superficial attributes.

True change will only happen when the hearts of men are changed. This can only happen through the gospel of Jesus Christ. When men and women see that they’re sinners who are under the wrath of God for lying, lusting, hatred, idolatry, etc; they’ll understand that they need a Savior. This Savior who called the Samaritan woman to repentance (disregarding the hatred between the Samaritans and Jews in the process) and showed grace to Nicodemus can not only quench the fires of racism but can unite people of all “races” (ethnicities) together in grace, peace, and love. It is only when the church of Christ takes the preaching of the gospel seriously and calls on all people to repent for their sins that we’ll be able to make headway in all of the issues our nation faces – not just racism. I would love to see racism end in our country, to see people of all skin colors come together in unity. I would love to see the tensions and anxieties be dealt with once and for all. To see people treat each other with respect and love rather that doubt and derision. May we all strive to look at each other the way the scriptures do and to help make our nation better by preaching the gospel to one another and encouraging one another in peace and love.

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