There is so much talk about our inability to be post- racial. Just the mention of the world will cause persons to recount the various deeds of racism and to conclude that we are tragically bound to our flesh and its attributes, that we are the social coloring of skin. These persons speak of race’s omnipotence and suggest that God endorses it, created it even.
That’s simply not true. God is not hopeless when it comes to race and God certainly does not make a mess of our lives with such self- serving and hierarchical categories. And please cite scripture and verse without inserting race as implied or suggesting that it was the equivalent measure of the humanity of the recipients of that time.
Nation is not synonymous with race. Culture is not synonymous with race. Ethnicity is not synonymous with race. Human being is not synonymous with race. Dirt, of which we are made, is not synonymous with race.
Still, we just can’t seem to put it behind us, to get our humanity around it, detangled from it. But, I still believe that it is possible and this is why I write, for the hope of it, not because I can see it but because it has been said, “There is neither Jew nor Greek” (Galatians 3.28).
There are those who focus on other passages of Scripture and believe that they have been called to bring the Kingdom of God down to earth, here and now. Well, the race-less gospel of Jesus Christ is my message and I am called to rid our faith of its superficial suggestions about God’s divine nature and our humanity. Which brings me to the point of this post.
What does it take to be post- racial?
1. Know the facts. Be informed about race, its beginnings and history not just its present social reality. While we cannot dismiss or discount the history of race and its origin, race is not eternal. America was founded upon race, its stereotypes and prejudices. It existed before America but was not “in the beginning with God” (John 1.2).
2. Accept that white privilege and the baggage of blackness exists but unpack them both. Don’t just carry them around but take them out and examine them. Decide if they are worth the weight. A belief in a post- racial life is not the denial of race but the refusal to allow race to come in first place when identifying human beings.
3. Accept that persons will see you as socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige and then, decide if you want to be viewed this way. You are not what people see; you are who you say. Why does race get to introduce you? Are you really a color and what does that mean in terms of your humanity?
4. Understand that race matters to a lot of people– not because it is real like our skin, not because we can feel it or see it but because we choose to, because we make ourselves believe it, because we have invested all of our humanity in it. We accept it blindly not because it is who we are but due to its historical impact on our relationships with ourselves, God and others. Simply put, race has been with us a long time and it is going to take time to end this relationship.
5. Look at race from a Christian spiritual perspective. Race is a sin, the deification and worship of the flesh. It is the denial of the identity that pre- existed the formation of flesh (Jeremiah 1.5), a total investment in our external reality to the detriment of our spirit and our relationship with the Spirit.
6. We must put race in its place and it is just a category. Human beings are not categories.
7. It is not magic. A belief in a post- racial life and world is not hocus- pocus. No top hat, no bunny, nothing up my sleeves. No tricks here. We need only change our minds.
8. Consider that we have not envisaged an identity that is beyond and before race. Then ask yourself, “Why and why can’t we?”
9. It is not a myth. A belief in a post- racial society takes faith and works. It is not enough to believe but we must practice: a daily acknowledgment of our God- given race-less identity, forgiveness of self and others, rejection of stereotypes and the passing down of prejudicial assumptions and the intentional forming of cross- cultural friendships not because of race but out of rejection of race.
10. Know that race-lessness is a part of the kingdom of God and is consequently, now but not yet. It is only a matter of time. We can say when.