I am a racist. There, I said it. I’ve wondered about it for many years, wished it weren’t true, worked against it, and have never to my knowledge acted upon it until now. I took a survey to see if I indeed judge people as good or bad based on their skin color, even subliminally. I went over to implicit.harvard.edu and took their test which asks questions so quickly that you answer out of your nature and instinct instead of convincing yourself that you believe something else.
I discovered that implicitly I prefer my race to the African American race. I answered more quickly that whites are good than the speed at which I answered blacks are good. I took this test yesterday. I’ve been wrestling with racism in this country and in my heart for years. This issue came to the forefront this past year as my wife and I adopted two children of different races into our white home and I even preached on the disgusting practice of partiality that we as the church are complicit in. My Denomination, the PCA, as a whole passed an overture of repentance for taking part in heinous sins of racism and for not only failed pursuit of racial reconciliation but also actively working against it.
I preached from James 2 where it says, “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” The word partiality is in the plural so it could say – “show no forms of partiality” which includes racism.. How ugly is it to say you’re not welcome here! For example, to argue that #alllivesmatter or #bluelivesmatter when a black man was just murdered is inconsiderate of the context that THIS black life mattered! Or as Arthur Chu said its like someone who “runs through a cancer fundraiser screaming ‘THERE ARE OTHER DISEASES TOO.’
I preached on this, I’m convinced of the truth that black lives matter and that all human life is marked with the imago dei (image of God). That every single person is of infinite worth! I loathe racism and, yet I’m still a racist. I’m a passive racist. I prefer my skin color because I prefer my culture because I prefer me over you.
I fall short of the royal command that James refers to a couple verses later to, “love your neighbor as yourself”. I have only loved myself. I have not thought, “how would this affect a whole group of people?” I live in white privilege and am blind to the privileges I have. I don’t even like that term because it cuts me off from the prideful idea that I have earned my status. This term, privilege, reveals that I am only as far as I am because God has privileged me to be where I am. It makes me a debtor.
But, Oh, to grace how great a debtor, daily I’m constrained to be! Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee: Prone to wander (to racism), Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, O take and seal it; seal it for thy courts above!
God has grace for racists. Because that’s not all I am. I am also an adopted son. A forgiven enemy. A prodigal with a party waiting for him. I pray we all can acknowledge the depth of our sin is deeper and darker than we would like to think. I pray we can see our hearts are prone to racism; to not love our neighbors. And this would drive us to the gospel and in turn produce the first step of racial reconciliation.
Some Resources Moving Forward:
James 2 Sermon Referenced above: Partiality, Racism and Its Aftermath