Tag Archives: race and reality

Who came first- people or race?

chickeneggUnlike the chicken or the egg analogy, human beings and the social construct of race are not inseparable.  Humans did not come from race but race did come from humans, a product of Enlightenment thinking.  Race was not “in the beginning” with God but is with us now because we created it.  We came first and then race.

It is so odd now that race comes first and then our humanity, that we consider the race of a person to determine who they are, what they will be, what they can do.  We place race above empathy, hospitality, reality and even common sense.  When bad things happen, who comes first: the person or their race?  And why does it matter so much?

Does our response or lack thereof depend on how they look?  And if so, why is it a determining factor?  Why are we putting race first, above our call to love and our duty to raise a village?  Who really comes first when we put it like this?

Seeing is Saying

A young new plant growing from palm in two hands, isolated

“I refuse to be intimidated by reality anymore.  What is reality?  Nothing but a collective hunch?”

~ Lily Tomlin

“Seeing is of course very much a matter of verbalization.”

~ Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

“All the world is window.  No material is opaque.  If we are willing to see– people, circumstances, situations, relationships– all is transparent.  All of this globe is but glass to God.”

~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

Our reality and Reality are not the same.  We know this because Isaiah tells us so.  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (55.8).  So, when race says that our being, our identity, our purpose is tied to our earth, found in the skin made of dirt, it does not elevate us much, does it?

I believe that God’s thoughts about us are higher than those of race.  I believe that God has spoken something much higher than this social construct.  I cannot comprehend it though I know it to be true.  Race would attempt to quiet me with statistics, to shush me with history, to tell me to calm down for fear of punishment from “them” or perhaps members of “us.”  But, unlike many of us, race does not and will not tell me what to say.  It will not tell me what I see.

Race will also not tell me what I cannot see, what I don’t see.  It will not restrict my eyesight or assume to know the vision that God has given me.  What we are afraid to see, we are often afraid to say.  Our ability to see is in our saying.

Don’t tell me what cannot been seen; it just remains to be unsaid.  Because it is left unsaid, no one wants to believe that they will see it but I do.  I see it so I will say it: race-less.