Seventy- two years ago today, more than seven thousand people were freed from concentration camps in Auschwitz. Occurring long before I or my mother was born, this story still sickens me. I can barely look at the pictures of those who suffered at the hands of Hitler’s henchmen. Today, I remember those who were kidnapped, robbed, marked/ numbered/ tattooed, starved, tortured, murdered. And to know that this treatment and their deaths were completely legal.
Today, I “mourn with those who mourn” at the incomprehensible loss and the devastation of spirit experienced by those who were targeted by unimaginable hate (Romans 12.15). While the years may have created some distance for us, the Auschwitz Museum offers a virtual panoramic tour. We cannot let this history fade in our memories because we lost a great part of ourselves. More than pictures, they are a reflection of who we are.
Remember the Holocaust and the camps we have created– because it is legal.
I have a color for race: pink. We have employed race in every arena of our lives. There is no action that we take without its advisement, no place that we enter without its preparation. Race provides us our perspective and expectations. Perhaps, it is better to say that race is employing us, working us, using us for its purpose. Ask yourself, “Do I direct race or does race direct me?” Who is taking orders from whom?
If you believe that you are the boss, the leader of your life, that you can turn your stereotypes and prejudices on and off, that you can schedule when and where you will judge persons based on the social coloring of their skin and the historical interpretation of race; If you believe that it’s not a problem but that you can quit thinking racially anytime you want to, then consider evaluating the work of race with me. What has race been hired to do and is it working for you? Is it working for your family? Is it working for your church? Is it working for American society?
What has been race’s job performance in the past: The Jewish Holocaust, South African apartheid, the killing fields of Cambodia, American slavery, lynchings, race riots, Jim Crow segregation? Even today, we remain unable to approach one another because of what race has told us and it slows down our relational and spiritual productivity. Race makes us poor siblings and disconnected disciples of Jesus Christ. Is this what we want? Because this is the resume of race. This is the work experience of race. These are the skills of race. Still, we find ourselves unable to mouth the words, “You’re fired.” We don’t want to give race the slip.
Maybe you can begin with the words, “I quit.”