Are you living or dying? Well, if you believe in the social construct of race, then your life is a slow yet acceptable death. At birth, we are told that we are socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige, that this is the way things are so we might as well get used to it. Get use to being stereotyped and pre- judged.
Welcome to the world! Now, go ahead and die: die to your divinely inspired self, kill your dreams and aspirations– because race says so. Because you are socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige, this is what you are allowed, expected and limited to doing, being and believing about yourself (and other cultural groups).
Race tells us who we are; it does not assist us in our becoming. Instead, race stunts our growth and stops any conversation that centers around the divine gifts that God has created us to be. Race says that we are a problem to be solved, fixed, eliminated. But, God says that you are a gift to be celebrated, opened and appreciated.
And you are not even a new problem but more of the same old problem we’ve had with “those people.” No, we have nothing new to contribute; our life is nothing special. We are just like “them,” more of the same stereotypical human beings.
Race tells us to join the crowd, to stand behind the color line like the rest of them. Race says that we must jump into a box so that it can check us off. Our becoming in terms of race is then finished.
Some say, “Things will never change” but I am not a thing. I am a new creature in Christ and am being changed (Second Corinthians 5.17). Others say, “That’s just the way it is” but that sounds like a eulogy. I am not dead but alive.
Stop the funeral procession! I am still moving, still growing, still able to impact the world– even if it’s only my own.
“So how is race slowly killing us,” you ask? Well, I’ll tell you and remind myself. Race slowly kills us because:
1. We prepare our lives for the worst. Race tells us that simply because we exist, bad things will happen, that people will believe bad things about us, that we are bad people who do bad things.
2. We believe there is no hope. Convinced that because we cannot change the social coloring of our skin that we are stuck in a particular social condition, we do not aspire to live beyond the stereotypes or to think outside of racial prejudice.
3. We agree with race and deny our true selves the right to speak. We take the word of race over our own and will quiet our dreams out of respect for the prejudices of race. We want even allow our hearts to speak. Unfortunately, we believe more in race than our selves. We believe more in our socially constructed race than the Divine image in which we were created and in so doing, race slowly kills us, by telling us who has been and not who we are.
“I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.”
~ Psalm 118. 17