Why I am so adamant when it comes to my position on race and its position behind me? Why can’t race represent me or introduce me? Why do its prejudices not speak for my neighbor, the stranger or the immigrant? Why can’t its stereotypes inform my understanding of human beings? I’m glad that you asked.
I don’t like the social construct of race because its ways and will for humanity and our relationships conflict with my understanding of God. Frankly, I don’t like what race says, suggests, infers and implies about God. And it frightens me, disturbs me what we will do for race, what we say about God in order to support the social construct of race.
But, race is not a theologian. Race is not a believer. Race is not a Christian: righteous, set a part.
Race is an idol, hand made, fashioned with our tongues. Race is a false god who spreads lies about the true and living God. What lies?
Race says that God creates no one new, that God is a copy cat, that we are all the same in our cultural groups, members of a boxed set, a collection of social colors. Race teaches us that God stereotypes.
Race says that God sees each culture according to race, that God uses race, condones its practices and endorses its beliefs concerning our humanness. Race implies that God treats us according to the social coloring of skin, that it is a part of God’s plan, purpose and will, that God is pre- judging us according to the image that He made us in. Race teaches us that God is prejudiced.
Race says that God is colored, that God is socially colored beige/ black/ brown/ red/ white/ yellow, that we can create God in our own image, that God is not the Spirit, that God is somehow more human, more of a social color than divine (John 4.24). Race teaches us that God is flesh and thereby limited, unable to be omnipresent.
Race says that we can put God on our side, the side of the oppressed or the privileged, that we can discern based on the outward appearance who God loves and hates, who God accepts and rejects. Race teaches us that God is predictable, that we can know His ways.
Race is the false teacher, an instructor without credentials, a messenger. We make it up as we go along. We must stop teaching race. It is a learned behavior that neither edifies us nor glorifies God. Being a member of a socially constructed racial group does not mean that we will get extra credit. In fact, it is the wrong answer to questions concerning our identity for those who believe.
We are who God says we are not who race says that God says that we are. That’s gossip. That’s hearsay. That’s not the truth.
So, when race enters a room, don’t sit down and pull up a chair. Don’t listen because race knows nothing about God and consequently, race knows nothing about you.