Post- racial. Post- racial? Are you serious? Is it really possible to put race behind us? Just how is that going to happen?
We shake our heads and shoo away the thought. I cannot say what I cannot see and have you seen the news lately? Do you know our history? I do not see how that is going to happen so let’s not even entertain the conversation.
Too often we cannot believe the word of God because of our reality. We do not believe “Christ is greater in us than the Devil or race that is in the world” (First John 4.4). We do not believe Christ is stronger spiritually or vocally and we act as if we cannot hear him during conversations that involve race. I would disagree, asserting that it is us who do not “have an ear to hear” (Matthew 11.15). And faith comes not by seeing but “by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10.17).
And I have heard the word: post- racial. It is ringing in my ears. He said to me like Isaiah, “And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it'” (30.21). If you are following Christ, then race is already behind you. You just have to accept the liberty of His words and walk in them.
But, more often than not, we do not consider race based on our faith. We do not speak of our faith as if it is more powerful or has the final say. Instead, we allow race to talk over our faith and cause us to doubt God’s promises. When we hear challenging words like post- racial, we say things like:
“It takes too long.” And it’s true. This work takes patience not in a process but ourselves. Change is hard but it is even harder when we think that the problem is systems or societies. We create the systems and we make up the societies; consequently, the change begins when we do.
Moving from a hyper- racialized to a post- racial society will not be a quick fix but will require not hours, months or even years of conversation. It will require lifetimes, generations committed to de-racializing our lives, our beliefs and speech, our perception and perspective, our habits and traditions. We will have to talk about race and its progeny for the rest of our lives in order to rid our hearts, minds and souls of its presence.
But, the conversation must address race as the problem with humanity as opposed to particular cultures of humanity as the race problem. We must all come over to the same side, erasing the color line and its boundaries.
“But, it’s scary.” Yes, this move takes guts. We don’t know how to live without race. We’ve never had too so why try? It is hurting us and our relationships with others. But, it’s all we’ve got, right? Wrong.
We have been so conditioned to believe that exists that we are afraid that nothing can exist without or apart from it. We live as if race is the source of our existence and believe that if we stop using it, we will disappear. We have become more invested in the social coloring of skin than our actual person. We are more socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige than human. We know more about how to act and react as a racial person than as a human being.
“But, it’s unfamiliar. It’s all I know.” It is regrettable that we know so much about race and not much about ourselves. We know how to react according to race but not based on our own beliefs and convictions. We must be true to Christ alone as race and Christ have no relationship with one another.
The word post- racial does not come with a three- point plan or a twelve- step process. It doesn’t come with a group of supporters. But, we will have to make this journey alone at first. We must first say the word and allow the word to do its work within us.
There are no maps or keys because the course has not been charted. We are so afraid of its existence that we have not ventured to see if it does exist, afraid to take a single step away from race.
Due to our unfamiliarity, it will take a lot of faith. This is not an easy thing to say or believe. We don’t yet know what words go with it. We cannot yet comprehend the benefits of saying it, of living it? Still, we will have to take this trip with Christ one step at a time and we’re not the lead.
Our ability to say, “Post- Racial America” might start with the words post- racial me and post- racial Christ. Perhaps, it is hard to say because we do not fully understand that Christ is the Word and that He should make words like race tremble and others like post- racial triumph on our lips.