Racism, prejudice and stereotypes are a problem. Most, if not all persons, would agree that they produce more conflicts than resolutions, offer more questions than answers. We need only watch the evening news or visit a news website to hear about yet another incident of violence incited by race. But, no matter how many times a crime is committed because of prejudice or explained away due to stereotypes, we will not talk about ridding ourselves of race. We seem unable to connect the dots, draw the conclusion or make the decision that the foundation of these practices and beliefs needs to be eradicated.
Race is not good for humanity, our personal identity or that of others. We can’t explain racism without discussing America’s history of enslavement of Africans. We cannot practice prejudice without assuming the worst about others. We cannot employ stereotypes without making assumptions that are rooted in unfounded and inconsistent generalizations of entire populations of people groups. But, what troubles me most is that this has become our truth.
We have become the stereotypes though caricatures and we believe the prejudices about others and ourselves. We believe in race and its social hierarchies, not needing to be told what our social color does. And we have become instructors in our own oppression and self- denial. No one has to tell us that we are socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige. We tell ourselves and we teach our children these social colors. We become witnesses of race because we have not truly looked at ourselves. But, we will not find ourselves until we are able to face ourselves, not as we are seen by others but as we are seen by God.
It is only then that we will challenge race and its progeny, that we will stop repeating what is said about us and begin initiating our own views. It seems that we have grown comfortable as the victims of race and perhaps, this is why a race- less life might be considered threatening. Victimhood has become our identity and we are victims whether we view ourselves as oppressed or oppressor so long as we remain in this racialized society. No one lives unscathed. But, when we stop thinking in prejudice and speaking in stereotype, we will have find our minds and our voices. It is only in losing race that we emerge.