Get a pass: “To disregard, to take no notice of something (bad or embarrassing)”
Most of us are familiar with the race card. A person plays the race card when she or he accuses another of racism. It is also suggested that this card is played when a person brings race into a conversation, suggesting that an incident was prompted by an underlying racial prejudice or stereotype. Either way, mentioning race is viewed as exploitive, making a bad situation worse by adding race to the problem and inserting a problem for which there are no quick fixes.
Whatever the reason, when race is mentioned, many of us are tempted to throw in our hands. All is lost to race– because the work is too hard, too personal, too tedious, too costly. We would rather persons just play along and leave this card and its reality out– despite the fact that there are entire communities that are being punished and privileged because of it.
But, what about a race pass? I have been listening to persons talk about the social construct of race, their prejudices and stereotypes in light of this election cycle and “good Christians” are saying bad things about other cultural groups, persons of differing socioeconomic and citizenship statuses. But, race makes it understandable and comfortable for us and them.
We can say discount the value, diminish the humanity and deny the experience of other people because of the social construct of race. Race says that they deserve it and that we are well within our right to criticize– because we are the standard bearer and their example. Race says that they are less than and we are more than human, more than capable, more than deserving and more than ready to lead, to work, to defend, to take what rightfully belongs to us. Race says that we are what is right with America and consequently, the world.
Never mind the charge to love our neighbor as we love our selves or to be hospitable to strangers, (Mark 12.30-31; Hebrews 13.2). Forget about the scriptures that call us one people and to unite as the Body of Christ (Romans; Galatians 3.23; Ephesians 2.11-19; Colossians 3.11). Disregard the will of God for the work of white supremacy, black nationalism and other expressions of color- coded pride. Steal God’s glory by claiming that human beings are supreme. We can say and do whatever we want, believing our selves to be justified because of race.
We give ourselves a pass to be judgmental, rude, uncompassionate, insensitive, envious, murderous and hateful. We use race to put down our cross and follow the desires of our flesh, breathing life into our old nature and its history. Race is used as an explanation as if God understands our contradiction, as if God accepts this blatant hypocrisy. Because we are not disciples of Jesus Christ when make cruel jokes or laugh at them, when we posit ourselves as the best of God’s creation and everyone else as the worst, when we walk around as if God left us in charge of all the other cultures of the world, when we believe and behave as if other human beings are beneath us.
As Christians, we don’t get a pass of any kind to walk away from our convictions, to act unjustly and to speak unmercifully to those we share this world with. God does not love or accept us according to the social construct of race. Not dealing in cards or the luck of the draw, God does not give out race passes. So, don’t behave as if you have one.