Yesterday, I introduced the concept of the race pass and through social media continued to unpack the idea. I often pray for divine insight into the social construct of race with the hope of further revealing its weaknesses and prayerfully, loosening its grip on our faith. I think this idea of an excused absence from our convictions in order to profess our prejudices is a way to do that. So, my aim is to unpack the ways in which the race pass works.
Unlike the hall, bathroom, nurse and office passes we received in school and from our teachers, this permission is given to us by our parents and peers. As adults, we write these passes for our selves. Every time that we make an excuse for a racialized belief or behavior that contradicts our confession of faith in Jesus Christ, we have given ourselves a race pass. It is permission to put our faith down in order to practice our racial prejudices.
A few practical examples of how this happens or what this looks like are best offered in questions for your consideration and reflection.
How do we proclaim “salvation to all” while believing that our ‘race’ is God’s choice?
How do we believe in an all- powerful God while claiming our human supremacy, making exceptions to God’s rule?
How do we behave unmercifully to persons who look and live differently than we do while believing in a merciful God?
How do we hate our neighbor and love ourselves?
How do we harbor unforgiveness, resentment and bitterness while claiming God as our refuge?
How do we deny and delay the calling to the ministry of reconciliation?
How do we benefits from the privileges of race while knowing they come at the expense of oppressing other people?
How do we explain, justify and make room for historical disinterest, anger and resentment?
How do we repeat after Jesus and see in stereotypes?
How do we follow Jesus and historical prejudices?
Why do we think that our hatreds our justified– even as we profess our belief in the God of love, compassion and justice?
The answer: the race pass.
We cannot believe in the social construct of race, hold its prejudices and stereotypes and profess faith in Jesus Christ, holding his hand and our cross. We cannot keep the race pass and carry the cross of Christ too. We have to put one down.