It was believed by many that the state of racism in America today would be dealt a fatal blow with the election of Barack Obama. It was supposed to have brought about a healing to a very old national wound and catapulted the nation forward and left its tainted past far behind never to be resurrected again.
Unfortunately, our hopes for the eradication of racism in America today have not come to pass in spite of electing our first African-American President. Ironically we have seen tensions increase and more frequent violent demonstrations since the election of Obama. His post-commentary on these incidents have not helped quell these outbreaks.
Scenes of riots in response to alleged prejudiced police actions towards supposed innocent young black men that led to their unfortunate deaths. Our Attorney General, in my opinion, has further agitated the situation through his biased handling of each incident.
And let's not forget the media's role as well as that of the so-called civil rights leaders Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson in all of this. Not once did they encourage calm and dignified behavior the likes of which we would have seen if Reverend King were still alive. Instead their involvement stoked the flames of racism in America today by placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of society.
I'm not saying that an injustice was not inflicted but in the light of things it certainly is never appropriate to burn down one's own town and destroy the personal property of innocent people.
After we look at where we are now as a nation with regard to racism in America today I want to present what I believe the bible has to say about this unfortunate human condition, its source and what can be done about it.
Before we delve any further into this serious issue lets first present an acceptable definition of Racism and Prejudice. Let's use the following definitions as defined by Websters dictionary each time we use the terms "racism" and "prejudice".
RACISM: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race; (the belief that some races of people are better than others, poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race)
PREJUDICE: an unfair feeling or dislike for a person or group because of race, sex, religion, etc. : a feeling of like or dislike for someone or something especially when it is not reasonable or logical
The element of racism in America today has been limited to what we have read about in our history books and maybe even witnessed in our society. This limited view may unfortunately cause today's generation to look at racism in America today as something unique to our nation. It's important to see racism from a historical and global perspective if we are to impact it positively, one individual at a time, for we all can make a difference if we are willing to learn the truth and then take appropriate action.
In order to review the history of racism in America today without bias it's vital that we start looking at the beginning of civilization and to do that we must start with the oldest book available that reveals the history of mankind, the bible.
The first thing we learn from the book of Genesis is that every race known to man has it's origin from one man and that man was called Adam. A genealogy of Adam is presented, by the Holy Spirit, throughout the Old testament with careful attention to details such as locations settled, areas traveled through, rulers in various territories and other unique facts.
If we can agree that we are all descended from the same Adam then we can also agree that racism can't exist within one's own family regardless of physical traits, language spoken or geography. The one other trait, and I believe the most important that we share, is that we are all created in the "image" of God and brought to life by His breath. That is to say we all have been created with the "character" of God which is the correct translation of the Hebrew word used in Genesis.
Adam, upon his creation, was endowed with all the traits of the human race. His DNA was passed down to his descendants. Each family or tribe then received a disproportionate share of one trait when compared to another descendant of Adam and thus we have the unique traits displayed in these tribes or what was to become ethnic groups. These unique traits, such as shape of eyes, skin pigmentation, type of hair, etc. led to the Asian, African, Anglo, Indian and other tribes.
So where does racism get its start?
Once again we need to keep our focus on the bible to discovery the origin of racism. Once the Israelites formed what was later to become known as the nation of Israel God gave them instructions on how they were to treat foreigners living among them.
In Deuteronomy 10:17-18, God makes its clear that He loves the foreigner and requires the Israelites to love them as well. There was to be no hate or prejudice towards the foreigner. However, God did make a distinction between the foreigners who desired to follow His way of living and those who didn't. Foreigners that respected God's will were blessed and those that didn't, by practicing such things as child sacrifice and temple prostitution, were destroyed. Sorry folks, but that's not racism or a demonstration of prejudice, that's justice according to the law of God.
Fast forward to the New Testament and we can look at the ministry of Jesus Christ. Throughout His ministry Jesus demonstrated Grace towards humanity. In John 4 we read about his dealing with a Samaritan woman, a people who were despised by the Jews, and how He had a long conversation with her which was not the norm at the time. These people were despised by Jews for their imperfect adherence to Judaism and their partly pagan ancestry.
By having a long conversation with the Samaritan woman instead of avoiding being contaminated by her simply by not passing through their territory Jesus demonstrated that a new attitude must be taken toward the Samaritans. This relationship between Jew and Samaritan is one of the earliest demonstrations of racism in human history.
The Samaritans were a racially mixed society with Jewish and pagan ancestry. The racism practiced by the Jews at that time was a result of their attempt to protect the sanctity of God's way of doing things.
Satan took note of the division that was caused by this zealotry for God's ways and saw an opportunity to create other forms of racism that would keep people of different physical traits, languages and geography from uniting under the banner of God's Kingdom. He has been using this tactic ever since without being put in check and arrested and continues to keep ethnic groups at each others throats.
Satan has even tried to infiltrate the church to spin his nasty web of racism in America today and prejudice by keeping churches aligned according to ethnic groups in America. We have prominently all-white churches, African-american churches, Hispanic and Korean just to name a few.
This tactic started with the very birth of the early church and again Satan chose to go after the Samaritans (who were part Jew) to have them isolated from the move of the Holy Spirit and hearing the true word of God being taught. The apostles recognized that in the church Samaritans must be accepted as equal to Jews. I've read that Peter and John conducted a special mission to Samaria to confirm the Samaritans who had already been baptized by Philip (Acts 8:14-17)
The point I'm making here is that racism in America today and acts of prejudice are not an inherent trait found only in Caucasians that has been reserved for expression towards people of color.
The Japanese in the early 1900's demonstrated a sheer hatred towards the Chinese and were brutal in their dealings. American service men who were captured during World War 2 were brutalized in POW camps run by the Japanese military. They definitely demonstrated a sense of superiority and treated our servicemen as less than human.
Let's not forget the Nazi Germans and their slaughter of innocent Jews throughout Europe. The common belief was that the Jews were responsible for the plight of Germany and only by ridding the Jewish people could Germany be restored to its former glory.
Sorry America, you have no special claim to being a country that is fraught with racism. African-Americans are not unique in the current sufferings. People of Hispanic origin have also been dealt with harshly. And by the way, not just by whites. They have been inflicted by none other than African-Americans. I can attest to that since I have been on the receiving end on many occasions during my lifetime. You would think that a people who have suffered as they have would be more sensitive about inflicting the same pain onto others. (please don't be offended if your nationality/race was not mentioned, it was not intentional).
The racism in America today has been around a long time and will continue to be around as long as Satan is left running the affairs of men and until the return of Jesus as promised in a number of prophecies, particularly the Book of Revelation. Keeping the people of God divided and fighting amongst themselves is Satan's plan. This division will eventually lead to another war which in turn will cause mass casualties.
Fixing or ridding racism in America today is not a issue that can be fixed through legislation. Government doesn't have the answer or the power (sorry Liberals). It is a heart issue. One that only God can deal with and correct. The damage caused by racism can only be healed and restored by Jesus.
God has already demonstrated He is able to address this and He will. He has addressed the sin issue in mankind and has provided a healing balm for our past lives and corrupted characters. That same power which resurrected Christ can resurrect God's spirit in each person and bring about a total transformation that will abolish racism in America today and prejudice from our hearts.
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