After an incident is determined to be race- related, persons sometimes say, “Racism is alive and well.” They point to the latest insult that adds to the countless injuries of race- relations. Or worse still, they point to the most recent death by fear, misunderstanding, power struggle and/or prejudice. Perhaps, with excitement or maybe disappointment, they point to this body of evidence, building our cases against each other.
“See, they hate us. See, they are bad people. See, this is why we cannot get along, why we cannot live with each other. See, this is why we cannot forget and forgive. We are not post- racial and can never be. See, stereotypes kicking. See, prejudice moving. Racism is alive and well!”
It is not said to suggest that death was near but to remind others of race’s vitality. Race is not on its deathbed and this is not its last will and testament. We have not seen the last of its works or heard the last of its words. It will happen again.
And only because we keep it alive. Christians, who are called to be dead to the flesh and to bury the old nature, dig up old wounds and make fresh ones just like every one else (Romans 8.10). Called to be a holy nation and a royal priesthood, we add race to our identities and thereby, confusion to our confessions (Second Peter 2.9).
Race has never lived in the eyes of God and it is not apart of the abundant life that Christ offers (John 10.10). Race is not and never will be a part of the kingdom of God. In fact, it should be dead to us. Thoughts, perspectives, behaviors and traditions that support the evil works of the flesh should have no power or influence over us as we are called to live and be led by the Spirit (Galatians 5.25).
So, racism may be alive and well in the world (as they see it) but not in us, not in Christ’s Body by which we are known.