We all have some racism in us
“We all have some racism in us,” I declared at a recent Bible Study. Understandably, everyone went quiet. “I know it is not a comfortable topic, but let’s get uncomfortable for a bit.”
I went on further to explain. Racism and discrimination are sometimes broadly viewed as white vs black, but the topic encompasses so much more. There are many ways in which we discriminate against others.
Oxford Dictionary racism definition: “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.” And similarly, their discrimination definition: “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.”
Here is a list of ways in which we discriminate or show racism.
List of ways in which we discriminate or show racism
- Colour of skin
- Nationality/ ethnicity
- Country persons are from
- The language that you speak; sounding different from others
- Wealthy vs the poor
- Offspring of those who had parents that were not married
- Orphaned children
- Children born from parents that were seen as ‘bad’ in society (prisoners, prostitutes, etc.)
- Intelligence/ Skill
- Looking down on persons who may not be as smart or as skilled
- Trying to hurt or slander those who are more intelligent or more skilled
- Treating persons who don’t have a college degree different
- Religious beliefs
- Alienating or treating persons who do not have the same beliefs as you negatively.
How many of us would openly welcome a homeless person off the street whose appearance may be dirty and smelly to come and eat with our family at our table? The fear of saying where you are from in a specific country, as you know the hate persons have for that country. Not answering the door when Jehovah Witness show up. Colleagues at work get annoyed or frustrated because you are always excelling and ‘showing them up’. Calling of names to persons who are overweight or not as beautiful in others sight. Parents not allowing their children to play with ‘those’ kids (as an orphaned child, many parents refused their kids to play with me). Staring at someone with a disability or refusing even to acknowledge them or persons who have certain illnesses. Many times the reality that wealth will garner lots of privileges, and the poor suffer more.
Truly we can go on and on.
Let me be direct here; this post is in no way accusing anyone. The goal here is not to blame but to help us become more self-aware to seek Christ help in areas that may be a challenge for us. We are all guilty; it is our human nature. When we have been raised in specific environments with set beliefs and biases, it is hard to break away.
It is important that we are aware of our actions. None of us like being mistreated because of how we look, speak, think, believe, or even worse – for things outside of our control (who our parents were). We have all been victims in some way or another.
What should we do?
I have been a victim and also a perpetrator of a few. It has only been by God’s grace, mercy and love, that He has shown and been working within me to change.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.Romans 12:2
The first step was acknowledging that there are areas I have challenges with. It is easy for me to fall into a joke about someone else and join the crowd. I had to swallow my pride and first inclination of “Not me! I am not a racist or show any discrimination.” This is the hardest step but the most important to move on to the next part of the process.
The second step was acknowledging that I couldn’t do this on my own. Years of being taught that my behaviour was normal, never being rebuked for my actions or caught made my heart an impenetrable fortress on the matter. I needed the strength and wisdom of God.
Third step. Giving it all to God. Fasting and prayer, seeking God’s wisdom on the matter and strength to help through the tests. Tests will come. You will be placed in situations that will test your resolve to change.
This will be a continuous loop. As you overcome, you will start again in another area. It took years to become what you are today; changing old habits won’t happen overnight. It will be a process. But take heart of God’s promise:
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.Ezekiel 36:26-27
Omnipotent Father, glory be to Your name. Lord, this is not a very comfortable topic for me. There are many ways in which I have sinned and not shown your love, grace and mercy. Forgive me. Because of my natural limitations, I have been a slave to sinful behaviour; my flesh is weak, and there are many times that I do the things that I don’t want to do. Father, I need Your grace and mercy. Clean me, Lord, open my eyes to the things that do not please You. Grant me Your wisdom to know Your will and Your strength to end this journey well. Help me to show Your love, mercy and grace to others. In Jesus’ name. Amen