- Posted September 8, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Everyday racism: Your stories
The Only Solutions to Overcoming Everyday Racism for African Americans
Everyone is talking about race these days. I was left in shock after a very famous Seminary President wrote a very kind letter to uplift the Martin family and remind us that a human life was lost when the young man was killed in Floridia. This rather famous religious leader was completely ridiculed by most of his supporters for doing this. It was so ugly that I had to comment about the lack of love or Christian character being displayed in their comments. They wrote things like “The boy was a thug and he deserved it.” Others expressed anger at the Seminary president for even discussing Trayvon Martin. On the other side, many Afro-Americans seemed to be ready to riot after the verdict was given. Many of the facebook postings by both friends and associates were filled with rage and hatred. The Trayvon Martin case has shown us that fifty years after the march on Washington, racial tensions are alive and well. While everyone can clearly see the problem, few of us dare to offer a solution. We need a solution or else America will be successfully divided and conquered causing all of us to lose.
Solution 1: Understand the true Meaning of Race
Racism is largely due to ignorance. Most of us do not understand the importance or lack of importance of skin color. Many White Supremacists truly believe that white skin, blond hair and blue eyes are superior. At the same time, Black Supremacists argue that black skin and hair are superior. The truth is that both black skin and white skin will be worth about $12 in one hundred years. It is ironic that many of us put $1000 worth of clothes on bodies that are worth less than $12. We waste our lives arguing over things that are not worth discussing. At the same time, we neglect our priceless souls.
What we believe and what we do with our time, talent and resources will determine where our priceless soul will spend eternity. This was the truth that Martin Luther King realized in his “I have a Dream” speech. He understood that our character and our belief in God were far more important than our skin color. Once we understand that Christ is all and is in all, we will realize that we are all really all the same.
The need to feel superior goes away once we know that we are all nothing compared to Christ, but everything in Him. The Apostle Paul made this realization soon after he became an apostle. He wrote the following after his discovery of the truth: “If anyone thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more…[I am] of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews..a Pharisee…as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ” (Philippians 3:4-8, NIV).
Solution 2: Learn to Love the Unlovable
Knowing that our skin color is worth less than $12 is a good start; however, we must also gain an understanding of what it means to be human. Every human being is flawed and will make plenty of mistakes. This includes every black, white, Hispanic, Arab or Asian human being. Yes, there will always be white people who clutch their purses when a black walks in the room. Yes, there will be a group of black people who harass whites just for the fun of it. Each one of us makes plenty of mistakes on a daily basis. God forgives us for these mistakes on a daily basis and he expects us to show this same love and forgiveness to others even when they don't deserve it. No one deserves God’s forgiveness or love. However, he freely gives it to us to share with others.
The ability to love the unlovable only comes from God. This is why there is no use talking about a social justice agenda without mentioning God’s name. God is the only source of love, creativity and forgiveness that we have. We are good to the extent that we are surrendered to God.
The failure of the modern civil rights movement is due to the fact that it has been launching a social justice agenda without the power and presence of God. A system is only as good as the people who make up the system. For example, many facebook friends wrote that the system needs to be changed after the Trayvon Martin verdict. The reality is that we have one of the best systems in the world. If we changed the system, we would most likely change it to something much worst. Our system maintains a good balance of freedom and regulation.
The truth is that our system does not need to change, but the hearts of the people making up the system needs to change. If we have a free market system and everyone is greedy and tries to change the laws to suit their own interest, we will wind up with Fascism. If we change the system to Socialism and everyone is selfish and lazy, we will just wind up with Communism. In either case we end up with a Totalitarian government that denies freedom and does not meet the needs of the people.
Solution 3: Learn from Our Mistakes Rather than Blame Others .
Martin Luther King won the hearts of both black and white Americans because he had an agenda rooted in love and truth. He knew that America had not lived up to its promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all. He simply asked that America live up to its creeds. He staged non-violent protests with the end goal of racial unity.
Today, we have leaders that discuss the need for more division rather than unity. They discuss changing the Constitution rather than inspiring America to live up to the ideals of the Constitution. There is a tendency to excuse criminal behavior and make those who believe in morality appear to be racist or judgmental. This lack of moral direction and loveless pursuit of rights with no mention of responsibilities has not won the hearts of the rest of the world. Most importantly, it has been detrimental to the minds of our youth. It has given them a fixed Mindset that sees obstacles rather than opportunities. We must return to Dr. King’s original dream.
Solution 4: Learn Our True Identity
The eternal inheritance was the focus of the great Negro Spirituals. During the 1930’s the great German preacher Bonhoeffer was impressed by the Negro Spirituals that he heard at a Harlem church. The deep relationship with God was evident to him among the blacks in Harlem. This strengthened him to be one of the few German clergy to stand up to Hitler. He founded the Confessing Church and refused to join the official German church. His actions led to his death just weeks before Germany was defeated. Yes, Hitler destroyed Bonhoeffer’s $12 body, but Hitler was not able to touch his priceless soul or the legacy that remains even today.
The truth is that as Afro-Americans, we can either be victors or victims, but not both at the same time. We do not need to know the identity of our former tribe if we understand that we have an even greater heritage as Sons and Daughters of the Most High King. If we accept Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we can enjoy an everlasting inheritance of eternal life. Our slave ancestors were able to endure harsh treatment because they knew that this eternal inheritance is the only inheritance that really counts. As long as we define ourselves by our hair, clothes or income, we will always be insecure. We will be secure forever once we allow our identity to be buried in Christ.
Solution 5: Teach Others How to Treat Us
We sometimes assume that people know things that they have no way of knowing. For example, a white housewife from a very exclusive neighborhood in Houston said, “I can't understand black people. What am I supposed to say to them? How do you talk to them?” She was really serious and her background did not give her the opportunity to meet very many black people. I used this as a teachable moment to explain, “You speak to black people the same way you speak to everyone else. Blacks are human beings just like you. Simply introduce yourself and be yourself.”
Many others would have gotten offended or cursed her out. However, we should understand that people have all types of misconceptions about race and relating to others. We should compassionately and lovingly set them in the right direction. One of the greatest tools for ending racism is for the races to expose themselves to each other and see that we are all just flawed human beings with various gifts and talents in need of love and forgiveness. In other words, we are all just simply members of the human race.