Tag Archives: post- racial conversations

Race: How do you see it?

17180-The-Eyes-Are-Useless-When-The-Mind-Is-Blind~ An author unknown

Colored people.  Do we really see beige, black, brown, red, yellow,  and white people?  By this, I mean, do you see persons who’s skin is physically colored this way living with you, walking past you, standing in line or behind the counter at the grocery store?

If the answer is no and I assume that it is, then what are we seeing really?  What has race done to our minds in that we are not able to see people as they really are?  And how do we get our sight back, this race-less vision?

How are we able to see it?  How do we really know that it’s there?  What informs our stereotypes if not pride and prejudice?  How else do you see it?

When Race Was Relevant

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Relevant, adj.

1. closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand

Race is not timeless.  It is not a classic.  It will go out of style just as soon as we, humans, stop fashioning ourselves according to the social coloring of skin.

We call ourselves progressive but can’t believe that we will ever get beyond race.  I wonder, then,  how progressive are we really?  What are we progressing toward if we cannot live past race and its progeny?

We call ourselves post- modern but wouldn’t dare describe our time as post- racial.  But, race is not a modern conception.  It is not new and shiny, not the latest and greatest invention.

Instead, we give our new lives, our new time, our new human beings, that is babies, to race.  We make race timeless, classic, current fashion for human beings because all those that preceded her and him wore race and swore by its prejudices and stereotypes.

Race is repositioned in our lives and in the lives of generations to come when we change what we say with our mouths.  We must begin to speak of it in the past tense.  This is how we put race behind us and in its rightful place.  We  strip it of its power with our tongues.

We give it new life with our words.  Now, let’s talk about its death.  Let’s talk about race as “once upon a time” instead of for all of time.  Let’s frame our conversations and the lives to come with sentences that begin with: “When race was relevant…”

Leaving Captivity

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Caged.  That’s what I feel like when I begin to talk about life lived according to race.  My voice even starts to constrict and my palms start to sweat.

Sure, I can move but only so far and I can see and be seen but my vantage point is very limited.  My world is shaped by what has captured me.

I can never move about freely– not even in my own mind.  There is no roaming here.  We must live within the stereotypes.  I cannot think about myself, my neighbor or even my future apart from the conclusions of race.  I’m not in charge here and neither is God.  There is no where to go but with “my own,” nothing to do but compare and hate.  There is no freedom to do or be anyone different while living racially.

It has become normal though race is not natural, not made for the body.  Segregated according to the social coloring of skin, this is not the way that we were made to live: confined to cultures, restricted bodies unable to move beyond the flesh.

Ah, but there is good news!  We were born into it.  It is not innate though we have gotten used to it.  Race is a cage not the house of our being.  Those are bars not a fence.  We are not participants but spectators of our own lives, watching and being watched.

And it’s abuse.  Race abuses our lives and enlists our mouths to do its dirty work.  It makes us accomplices; this is why we won’t confess it’s wrongdoing.  So, we’re guilty but this does not mean that we cannot be free of race.

We need only stop saying the word and be delivered.  I’m tired of walking and talking in circles.  I want to see and be the new creature that God has created (cp. Second Corinthians 5.17).  I think it’s time for a prison break, don’t you?

Do Something About Race

Race is so hard for us to comprehend, so difficult for us to get our heads around and our lives out of.  It’s sticky and it has gotten on everything that we come into contact with.  We have been talking about race for hundreds of years and still, we cannot get it off of us.

We are simply overwhelmed by race; it is seemingly in everyone and impacting everything.  We don’t believe that we can get away from it so we accept it resentfully, passively, hopelessly.  We surrender all to race without a second thought, disinterested, worn down, ignorant.

We don’t know when it began and don’t believe that it will ever end.  But, I am not afraid to say, “Post- racial.”  And I believe that we can do something about race.

Race is not just systemic; it’s personal.  We can do something about race because we can do something about ourselves.  We can change and consequently, we can change the existence of race from alive and well to dead and gone.

Don’t talk about race positively or affirmatively.  Stop right now.  Race is not a friend of our identity but an enemy and should be treated as such.  It is not a confidante or a protector.  It cannot be trusted alone with us or our children for any reason at any time.

Don’t talk about others while using race as a positive reference or resource for understanding them.  Race doesn’t know what it means to be human.  It is a category not a character trait.  It is a box not a body.

Don’t talk to persons who encourage the use of prejudices and stereotypes.  Don’t allow race to tell you what to think of persons.  Experience the world and the people in it for yourself.

The change begins in our mouths.  Now open wide and speak up.  Say something.  Do something.

Post- Racial America: Why We Can’t Get Past Race

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There aren’t many fans of the word post- racial.  It seems utopian for some, unrealistic for others.  And from what I hear and read, it seems almost mythical.  It’s magic talk and there isn’t a huge market for this fairy dust.  We just cannot even imagine the characters for such a story.  Because exactly what would we call ourselves?  Perhaps, human beings would be a good fit.

We say that we want out of race but we don’t want to hear about race.  We say that we’re tired of the fruit of race but that doesn’t stop up from sowing the seeds of history.  We keep watering our present with the same stereotypes and prejudices.

We keep talking about race the same way: omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient.  The change comes when we realize that we empower race and we can strip it of its power.  We carry race; it stops moving from place to place, person to person and conversation to conversation when we put it down, when we let it go, when we no longer allow it it to travel with us.  And race only knows what we tell it; race simply says what we believe about others– sight unseen.

We must begin to say more about the word’s limitations and restrictions.  We must begin to criticize race and its progeny.  And it begins with an evaluation of race but we must begin to supervise it.  We live as its employees but we need to reverse the role.  This is the only way to rid ourselves of it, to rise above it and to make race past tense.  We must entertain the possibility and not dismiss conversations that race can be moved, demoted and cast out of our cities, our communities, our churches, our houses, our mouths.  It’s life and death are in our mouths (cf. Proverb 18.21).

We cannot get past race because we believe that:

1.  Race is in front of us.  We must realize that when we agree to live by this social construct that we put ourselves in second place.  We accept that we are second- class citizens and second guess who we are, believing that that we get no second chances because of stereotypes and prejudices.

2.  Our social history will always be our present.  We must begin to live in the light of God’s eternity not the temporality of this life.  Just like our material possessions, we cannot take race with us when we die so why hold on to it so tightly while we live.

3.  We believe in its color- coded adjectives and have come to trust them more than any other word, even God’s.  We believe that we are socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige and we just can’t see anything else.  So strong is the vision, so attached to the reality are we that letting go would be like losing ourselves.  We believe that we are nothing more than a color and if it is taken away, then we cease to exist.

But, we are not a color and people don’t come in colors like some packaged deal or social product.  We are children of God.  We are spirit, apart of Spirit and will live beyond our flesh and its social colors.  The adjective that I would use is eternal.

4.  We are more carnal than we realize or want to accept.  Race makes us comfortable judging, walking, living in the flesh rather than the Spirit.  But, the post- racial life is a call to walk after the Spirit, to no longer walk according to the flesh, to live by and based on our skin (cf. Romans 8.5).

Trust what I’m saying to you.  Accept the possibility of a race-less life.  Take my hand and let’s walk right past race.