There aren’t many fans of the word post- racial. It seems utopian for some, unrealistic for others. And from what I hear and read, it seems almost mythical. It’s magic talk and there isn’t a huge market for this fairy dust. We just cannot even imagine the characters for such a story. Because exactly what would we call ourselves? Perhaps, human beings would be a good fit.
We say that we want out of race but we don’t want to hear about race. We say that we’re tired of the fruit of race but that doesn’t stop up from sowing the seeds of history. We keep watering our present with the same stereotypes and prejudices.
We keep talking about race the same way: omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. The change comes when we realize that we empower race and we can strip it of its power. We carry race; it stops moving from place to place, person to person and conversation to conversation when we put it down, when we let it go, when we no longer allow it it to travel with us. And race only knows what we tell it; race simply says what we believe about others– sight unseen.
We must begin to say more about the word’s limitations and restrictions. We must begin to criticize race and its progeny. And it begins with an evaluation of race but we must begin to supervise it. We live as its employees but we need to reverse the role. This is the only way to rid ourselves of it, to rise above it and to make race past tense. We must entertain the possibility and not dismiss conversations that race can be moved, demoted and cast out of our cities, our communities, our churches, our houses, our mouths. It’s life and death are in our mouths (cf. Proverb 18.21).
We cannot get past race because we believe that:
1. Race is in front of us. We must realize that when we agree to live by this social construct that we put ourselves in second place. We accept that we are second- class citizens and second guess who we are, believing that that we get no second chances because of stereotypes and prejudices.
2. Our social history will always be our present. We must begin to live in the light of God’s eternity not the temporality of this life. Just like our material possessions, we cannot take race with us when we die so why hold on to it so tightly while we live.
3. We believe in its color- coded adjectives and have come to trust them more than any other word, even God’s. We believe that we are socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige and we just can’t see anything else. So strong is the vision, so attached to the reality are we that letting go would be like losing ourselves. We believe that we are nothing more than a color and if it is taken away, then we cease to exist.
But, we are not a color and people don’t come in colors like some packaged deal or social product. We are children of God. We are spirit, apart of Spirit and will live beyond our flesh and its social colors. The adjective that I would use is eternal.
4. We are more carnal than we realize or want to accept. Race makes us comfortable judging, walking, living in the flesh rather than the Spirit. But, the post- racial life is a call to walk after the Spirit, to no longer walk according to the flesh, to live by and based on our skin (cf. Romans 8.5).
Trust what I’m saying to you. Accept the possibility of a race-less life. Take my hand and let’s walk right past race.