Q: “I’m confused by all of the discussion about racism. It is hard to believe that Americans are all that racist and that such a subject needs to be at the forefront in Christian preaching. Could you make sense out of this insanity?”
A: We do have problems that exist among groups of people due to different prejudices attached to them that are based on ignorance, fear, and indifferences. These prejudices are obvious on all sides of the aisle and it does not matter who holds to them, it will always manifest itself in wickedness. Prejudice is a type of pride and is not a matter of outward physical condition, but of the heart condition of man.
It is important to point out that the word “race” in the past was used to identify groups of people to different nationalities such as the Irish, the Italians, and the British. Sadly, the word “race” has been hijacked and turned into a twisted label that divides, separates and isolates in order to oppress and silence all opposition.
I realize some of this has been propagated by the ignorance and superstition of some of the religious factions concerning the curse on Ham. Some believe the curse of Ham had to do with changing the skin color to black, but it is clear that the curse of Ham was passed on to his grandson Canaan and it had to do with the Semitic people of the land of Canaan being slaves (Genesis 9:25-26).
This is the problem with man, he must label others whether by race, financial status, politics, moral values, ideologies and etc., to determine the attitude, the pose, and the type of actions taken against those who refuse to bow down to, agree with, or fit into the latest narratives. In fact, we Americans and Christians have so many labels thrown at us by certain groups who hold to concrete ideologies, we have become desensitized to them to the extent we tune them out—that is, except for one label and that is “racism.” For some unknown reason it has stuck to the wall and is used constantly to silence, defuse, and intimidate those who do not abide by the latest popular movements that embrace radical, insane agendas.
Those who are using the term “racism” while angrily yelling obscenities to intimidate others are guilty of what they supposedly are standing against, which makes them foolish hypocrites in the end. They call past slavery wrong and yet they want to unjustly enslave American citizens of today for the past sins of a generation they know nothing about while robbing them of their inheritance and legacy. One of my mother’s favorite sayings was, “Two wrongs never make a right.” Those who use past excuses to execute hateful oppression on others will find themselves on the wrong end of the argument and eventually drinking from their own bitter cup.
The truth is every human being is related. We all go back to one set of parents in the Garden of Eden and one set of grandparents, Noah and his wife. Acts 17:26, tells us we are all made of one blood and 1 Corinthians 15:39 states that not all flesh is the same and that there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, of fishes, and of birds. In summation, every person is part of one race and that is the “human race.”
When God created everything after its own “kind,” he allowed variations in the genes of the particular species of life. This is why many believe that the number of animals that went on the ark were limited to the species and not the different breeds we see today. These variations found in the genes can adapt to environment. When a certain species adapts to its environment it is called natural selection, but if certain variations are bred out of a certain species such as in the case of different breeds of dogs it is called mutation. The problem with mutation is that it is often irreversible.
When it comes down to the color of a person’s skin it has to do with a couple of factors. One is the genes of a person. The skin shade is governed by more than one gene. In fact, they figure there are probably close to 20 genes involved in determining the color of our skin, but the other factor is something called “melanin.” The pigment melanin is found in our outer layer of skin. As we can see, the color of our skin is indeed skin deep and has nothing to do with the person we are, while our attitudes and actions are a matter of our true character.
Our genes determine how much melanin we will produce and this will govern the shade of our skin. If you are a redhead, you actually have a form of melanin missing and if the blood vessels are close to the skin, they have a reddish tinge. The correct terminology as far as the color of people is that we are all brown, and depending on our gene pool and environment that brown can become quite dark and in other cases it can become very light.
The greatest influence on people is not their color but their culture. The word, “culture” comes from the idea of cultivating. Our culture determines our attitudes, our likes and dislikes, our beliefs, and preferences. The difference between groups of people does not come down to their skin color but their cultural influences. It is natural to take pride in our dress, our presentation, our music, our foods, our heritage and so forth. In fact, cultural snobbery is built on prejudices that judges our particular way of doing things as being superior to those whose culture, in our judgmental opinion, proves to be very inferior.
If you would like more information about the subject of race, the book, “One Race One Blood” by Ken Ham and A. Charles Ware clearly deals with this subject from both the scientific and theological approaches. Meanwhile, as Christians we should not be caught up with this debate. The Bible is clear that we are all one blood and that alone needs to be the final say as to our attitudes and actions in this matter. Our responsibility as believers is to make sure we do not harbor prejudices on any level and that we do not tolerate them in ourselves, promote them among ourselves, or silently sit by while others ignorantly and hatefully propagate them.