After all we've been through here in the United States, you'd think we could safely consider ourselves past the issue of 'race'. Unfortunately for all involved, however, it seems we just can't manage to let go.
A few weeks ago I saw part of a televised interview featuring a lovely young actress who, though I personally haven't seen any of her performances to know, has apparently met with a good bit of success in Hollywood. The woman hosting the interview asked this young lady to share with the audience what it was like having achieved this kind of success in spite of the challenges presented by her being "black and a woman". The actress responded with a long discourse on other women who have overcome these or similar obstacles before her, and how much their courage inspired her.
I was floored.
Don't get me wrong: I am painfully aware that there are still people who maintain strong racial hostilities. They are out there, and I'm not under any delusions about that. But honestly, can't we admit that an interview question like that is severely outdated? It isn't as if this young lady is the first female to really become successful in the movie industry, and it isn't as if she's the first dark-skinned person to become successful in the movie industry either. I'm not trying to downplay her success, but if pop culture is really so concerned with eliminating the 'race issue', then why in the world don't they let it go?
Of course, as annoying as instances like I just described are, I suppose it can be expected from the secular world. When your cushy western lifestyle takes care of all your needs and wants for you, I guess you have to find something you can still fret about.
What is completely inexcusable, though, is the racial segregation still taking place within Christianity. I'm not talking about the "Whites on one side, blacks on the other!" kind of segregation. I'm talking about Christians behaving as if so-called "white" and "black" are any different at all, period.
As many of you know, I am signed up with several different Christian publishing houses as an Advance Reader. They send me new releases, I read them, and then review them online. Recently I was scanning the Available Books list of a large and well-known Christian publishing house when I came across a book geared towards single mothers, offering advice on how to raise "a successful black man".
And last week, I was in a Christian book store and saw another title offering financial advice "for the African-American family".
The question I just have to ask is this: if we don't want race to be an issue, why are we still treating people of different colors as if they're different in any other way? Why should your skin color have any affect on the way you raise your children or manage your finances any more than your hair color does? God's laws, principles, and instructions are absolute, all-inclusive, and, last I checked, don't come with skin color-specific caveats.
Now, I don't want to be one of those platitudinous people who assume expressions reminiscent of Renaissance martyrs and proclaim that "I don't see color when I look at people!". When I look at you I do see the color of your skin, just like I see the color of your hair and your eyes, whether you're male or female, whether you're tall or short, etc. Your skin color is part of what makes you a unique individual. I just don't happen to believe that it's what makes you like or unlike me, because as a Christian I know that we're all of one race and one blood.
Acts 17:26 says "From one man He (God) created all the nations throughout the whole earth..."
Every human alive on the planet is descended from Adam and Eve - all of the DNA code for every genetic trait there is was present in their bodies when they were created. Jesus Christ didn't have to die on the cross as a black person and then again as a white person and then yet again as an Asian person, He died as a human, and that covered everybody!
The secular culture tries to put everybody in a box of one kind or another, and their packaging system defies the imagination with its boxes-within-boxes and boxes-linked-to-other-boxes. I get so tired of surveys, job applications, and other official forms demanding that I assign myself to one of their many "race" boxes. When "Other" is given as an option, I check it and write in "Human". When that isn't an option, I'm rather stuck. According to their perspective, I'm a mix of two different 'races', but I'm not going to denounce one whole side of my family just to fit into one of their pre-made boxes, so what exactly do they expect me to do? And if they're the ones making such a noise over how much race doesn't matter, why are they so insistent to know what my "race" is, anyway? It's a system that just doesn't work except to keep non-issues alive and festering needlessly.
We as Christians should be leading the fight to make race truly a non-issue. And I don't mean getting all warm-and-fuzzified over someone who 'overcomes' their race to be a success. I mean really, truly, believing and showing others that there is only one physical race. The only race-like distinction that the Bible makes is between the two spiritual races of Believers and Unbelievers - no division according to skin color.
This isn't an issue that Christians talk about very much, at least not in a Biblical context. I've talked to Christians who have never stopped and taken the time to think about what the Bible actually says on the topic. Tragically, I've talked to professing Christians who harbor strong racial prejudices. Both situations sadden me greatly. Living in a culture that's constantly spewing humanist blather on the subject, it can be difficult to step back, take a breath, and prayerfully seek out God's answers. Believe me, I know. I struggle with it too. But we have got to find our feet, step up, and take a stand on this. The Bible offers the only solid answer to the question of why racism is wrong in the first place. All anyone else can come up with is a lot of warm-fuzzy jargon that doesn't even make sense within the context of humanist ideology.
We have the answer to the race question. Let's not waste it.