In physics, the black hole is “a region of spacetime for which nothing, not even light (due to its massive size), can escape.” Apart of the theory of general relativity, anything that falls into the black hole is unable to be observed by outsiders. The idea of this possibility was penned in a letter written by geologist John Michel to Henry Cavendish in 1783. The concept has been developed over time and there are believed to be many black holes of varying forms, simple to complex and are described by three physical properties: mass, charge and angular momentum.
Race is our social black hole. Once attributed to race, the true reality of humanity and our experience is no longer observable. It is lost to the predictable interpretations of race and we will only see what race will allow us to. And race seems to have captured the light of our countenance as we grope for the faces of others in hopes of finding direction for our lives. All is attributed to race and all is taken in by race.
Race cradles us at birth, walks us to school, chooses our professions and our spouses, the way that we will live and how we will die. Race has a statistic for everything and is the only one that seems to have humanity figured out. Seemingly inescapable and a social given, we use everything in our world to describe its reality: food, drinks, animals, body parts and their abilities, colors, land. You name it and we can make race apart of it. And in doing so, we allow race to take more and more of our reality away from us. Soon, everything begins and ends with race though we proclaim that we serve a God who is Alpha and Omega.
But, as believers, we are described as the sons and daughters of light and there is no darkness that can overtake us (I Thessalonians 5.5). We serve a God who is identified by light and in whom, there is no darkness at all (I John 1.5). Likewise, we are light- bearers, possessing a light that is able to lead us out of this social darkness. I’m climbing out this morning.