We often say that a picture is worth one thousand words. Well, why is that we have so few in our vocabulary when it comes to race? So few images of cultures different from our own, so few ways of seeing each other outside of race and its stereotypes? Sadly, we really do believe that we all look and subsequently, think and behave alike if a part of the same cultural or socially colored group. We believe the worst about others and choose the scariest, most demeaning or easily exploitive example in order to create our model for each group. On the other hand, we can quckly point to the “good” people in our own culture or socially colored group, making ourselves model citizens and models for all of humanity.
Race creates costumes but one’s culture is not something that one can put on and take off. It is not created by the hands of a single human being neither does it originate in the mind of one person. Culture is created over time and is a shared history with traditions. Culture is not synonymous with race as it is not based on external appearance or physical characteristics. It is not something that can be pointed out and is not something that we should use to pick on persons.
And how does our faith call us to respond to these images, which are indeed a challenge to us to recognize the caricatures that we have substituted for people? How does race call us to respond? Are they alike? Why or why not? Either way, we should talk about it.