Enabling Race

“Hitler’s dictatorship rested on the constitutional foundation of a single law, the Enabling Law.”

~ Alan Bullock, British historian and author

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”

~ Ephesians 5.11

Among other things, I would describe race as an “unfruitful work of darkness.”  It is a work that we perform that is unproductive.  It does not further our understanding of our selves, our God or our neighbor.  We have confused it with fertilizer.  But, race is like quicksand, the more we move around in it, the more of ourselves we lose.

Maybe this is why most of us live as if we are powerless to control race.  Believing that it is who we are, defined as the social coloring of skin, we live our lives based on what it says or doesn’t say about us.  We allow our epidermis, this flesh that will become dust, to dictate the ways in which we will live in the world.

We give up our power when we say that it is because of race that we are this way, that we cannot talk to him, that we cannot go over there.  And to complicate the matter, we say that it is a part of God’s plan.  But, God is not the author of confusion (First Corinthians 14.33).  We are its creators and we continue to include race in our stories.  We equip (making it apart of our educational systems), empower (using our legislation to support it) and enable (allowing our lives to be led by race) race.

How do we enable race?  I’m glad that you asked.  We enable race by:

1.  Living in ignorance of what race really means and what it means for us;

2.  Allowing our lives to be controlled by stereotypes without question or inspection;

3.  Trusting race with our identity and purpose in life, our relationships and the ways in which we relate to others;

4.  Making excuses for the ways in which race defines other people: “Race can’t help its self.  Race calls it like it sees it”;

5.  Living in the reality of race and only seeing things from a racialized, prejudicial, “us” or “them” perspective;

6.  Justifying race’s poor treatment of other cultures;

7.  Denying the hurt that it causes you, the hindrances that it creates in accepting you and the damage it does to your identity;

8.  Taking race’s side and in so doing, taking responsibility for the lies of race;

9.  Avoiding persons you may or may not know because you don’t want to confront your racism, prejudice or hatred; and,

10.  Being content to remain angry and resentful because you do not want to confront race and the challenges that it places on your life and its living.

I pray that we would no longer be enablers of prejudice and hatred but enablers of acceptance and love.

 

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