Tag Archives: racelessness

I am a race atheist

Before you wave me off, dismiss my faith system or the lack thereof, hear me out.  Give me a chance, an opportunity to make my case.  I assure you: This is not what I thought that I would be saying.

I used to believe in race, with all my heart, from my head down to my toes with natural hair and African- inspired clothing.  No specific country to call my own, I claimed the entire continent.  (Note of clarification: Black is a color– not a country or continent, though we have made the two synonymous.  Black people are from… Africa?  White people are from?  Yellow people are from?  Red people are from?  It breaks down very quickly.)  I tried to make it work and to work it out.  I wanted it to make sense for me and I had no reason to suspect that it would not.  Because we have always been colored people or so I thought.

I believed in blackness and being black, in whiteness and its privileges and so on for every so- called color of the human “rainbow.”  I believed that my experiences were color- coded, that my skin was the beginning and end of me, that my epidermis was all that mattered, that it made the most sense and brought the most meaning to my life.  But, I was wrong.  Still, I need you to know that I thought this was right, that learning that I was black and how to live with it was the meaning of life.  But, I was wrong.

I was wrong about race because race was wrong about me.  Race has our humanity all wrong.  We are not colored beings but human beings.  Race, a capitalist sociopolitical construct, is an excuse, a scapegoat in a long line of excuses and scapegoats for the unjust ways that we choose to live with and relate to each other.  It is the means by which we get the blood off of our hands.

We say, “Race made me do it.”  But, we can also say, “Money made me do it.”  “My faith made me do it.”  “My gender made me do it.”  “The devil made me do it.”  But, really it is our flesh and its cravings for power and dominance that makes us do it.

Our humanity is what we make it.

***

I’ve been called a n—-.  Born in the South, I heard it first at home.  I heard family members being called a n— at home.  Hatred begins at home.  Our self- hatred starts in the mouths of our parents.

I cannot be sure as to the reason for this name- calling.  Said both in anger and in fun, I cannot attest to whether it was used solely to inoculate as it was also used as a term of endearment.  “My n—.”  A strange expression then and now.

It is a word that my family was given and they had no interest in questioning it.  They didn’t think to give it back, to reject it.  It is a primary way of relating in the world and understanding ourselves.  We were n—, then Negro, then colored, then black, then Afro- American, then African American, then black, then black and brown people, people of color again.  We still call ourselves n—.  Race offers nothing new, no rebirth, no regeneration.

Unclear of its value but certain that they needed it and that I could not live without it, they passed it down.  There was no new name and no way to see myself differently.  My relationship with self was an expression of those created in American slavery.  Changing the words, ridding myself of racialized language would be the start of changing my way of relating, of forming community, of reconciling past and present.

To be sure, there is no motivation for changing it.  It is the way of the world, the way things are.  We are on this color wheel but I wanted to get off.  Still, most surmise that we cannot change it, that race knows us better than we know ourselves, that race knows us before we know ourselves.  But, then my faith in Christ did something I did not expect; my new identity in Christ began to challenge my racial identity.  They were not one in the same and I was being asked to choose between being a person of color and a child of God.  Two creators, two gospels, two heavens and hells (one segregated), they are two different belief systems.

The two are not complementary, synonymous or serving in supporting roles in this grand narrative. No, we must choose between the ways of this world and the ways of the kingdom coming.  There is a Person coming that will not identify with us based on the social coloring of skin and it is time that we come to see that.

Today, I am a race atheist.  I don’t believe it.  I don’t buy it.  I do not see as race sees.  I believe that there is so much more to our humanity and race doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

Now You’re Thinking

independent-thinking-stepsI am most frustrated by those who attempt to pull me back into what has been thought before concerning race.  Don’t they notice the name of the blog?  Clearly, I am beyond it.

I am moving in a different direction: forward.  And I don’t see the need in talking about the past if that is not where I am headed.  Such a conversation does not provide me with directions.

I know the history; I have a library of books, conversations and experiences to prove it.  I don’t need to be reminded.  No alarm clock required.  I simply cannot change, I will not transform apart from discussions of what can be, what should be, what will be.

I am aware and I am not interested even in the present.  I know what people are doing and will continue to do.  That is, unless we step out of this time, create and introduce a new reality.

So, I want to talk about the time to come, the time that is yet to be and the future of race.  I want to talk about what will be said of us apart from race and I want to begin the conversation now.

To be clear, a conversation about the social construct of race is one about the future of our self- understanding and awareness as human beings.  Away with the cyclical arguments that don’t bring us full circle.  I mean, what is the point of a mind if I am not going to use it?  Frankly, thinking what has been thought before is not to be confused with using one’s mind.  Recycling is not invention.

I want a new thought.  I want to consider the possibilities of racelessness.  I should warn you.  It does not fit the small- minded.  No, this requires big thoughts and more than elbow room.

I’m going to need more space and it can not be confined to a stereotypical geographical location.  I am going to need more people and not those that prejudice would pick for me.  I am going to need a larger table and more chairs.

The seating capacity of my mind must be increased.  It is not for members only or those thoughts that resemble each other.  And no race cards apply here.  I don’t have a membership discount or a rewards program.

I want to think deeply about my humanity and that of my neighbors.  I want to consider a new life, an abundant life with words never considered.  I want my thinking to be fruitful and the word post- racial comes to mind often.  I want to think it more and more since so many persons are against the very thought of it.  I want to see where the word leads because I know the broad way that race wants me to take.

But, I don’t believe that we have considered who we are if we remain in these social categories.  I don’t trust that we have examined who we are if we are too afraid to pull back the covers, the layers of race.  I don’t think that we have seen ourselves at all.  Albert Einstein said, “Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.”

When we are able to consider life, to think about ourselves apart from the thoughts of others, well, now you’re thinking.

Resurrecting Race

Who told you that you were socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige?  Sure, you looked in the mirror and saw that the pigment of your skin had a ‘color.’  But, who told you that it was this color or that?  Who gave you its meaning?  Who told you that it was better or worse or meant that you would be richer or poorer?  Who told you that you were different because of it?  And why?

What is the meaning of race and why do we continue to bring it up in our discussions concerning human identity?  Why do we continue to spread this message?  Disproven biologically and unsupported biblically, why do we continue to talk about ourselves, to reduce our meaning, to allow our purpose to be determined by  the social coloring of skin?

The truth that race is a social construct and societal contract has long been proclaimed.  This good news has been around for a long time but we continue to repeat the lie: I am black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige.  But, if we are made in the image of God who does not define Himself by a social color, then who are we re-creating ourselves to be?

Unlike Jesus the Christ, race is dead and it has no resurrection power; still, we continue to prop it up, to lift it up as the standard for our lives and the lives of those to come.

Race has no power save what we give it.  We must stop talking about race as if it is real and present with us.  Race died a long time ago.  It only lives in our minds and memories.  We are resurrecting race.

Why a Race-less Life?

raceless“A Race-less Life is a Christ-filled Life”

At The Daily Race, we believe that a life lived without race is a life lived more fully in Jesus Christ. All social categories, classes and colors cease to exist; they are without meaning and merit as we are being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.  We stand in agreement with the words of Paul as recorded in his letter to the church at Galatia: “There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (3.28) and to the believers in Colossae: “Here, there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision an uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all” (3.11). The race-less life seeks to ensure that we are no longer divided against ourselves, our God and our neighbor.  Emphasizing the spiritual life and our renewal in the Spirit, our only position is in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1.1-14; 4.22-24).

The race-less life unites us more fully with Jesus Christ and with other believers as race seeks to prevent the reconciling work of Jesus Christ.  The race-less life then challenges the self- imposed and cultural boundaries constructed with stereotypes and prejudices and the authority of race to create and enforce them. We believe that the Body of Christ is not segregated just as the members of our physical body cannot be separated.  As God is reconciling us to Himself through the salvific work of Jesus Christ on the cross, we are also being reconciled to each other (John 17.11, 20-23; Ephesians 2.11-22).

The race-less life is evidence of our baptism with Jesus Christ, an expression of the resurrected life. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3.27). We have taken off race to put on Jesus Christ.  It is the result of our new birth, of a life no longer lived according to the flesh and its laws (Romans 8.1-11).

The race-less life is a measure of Christ’s fullness in us.  As we are emptied of nationalism, cultural allegiance and the traditions of race, we are filled more with the character and witness of Jesus Christ. Race-lessness is a journey of awareness and self- understanding.  The more we know of Jesus Christ, the more we will come to understand about ourselves.  More of Christ, less of race.

Questioning Race (Part Two)

What is the meaning of the racialized life?  What is its purpose, its goal, its end?  Why are we, the “races,” here?  If race is our creator, as people of color (“White” is a color too.), what were we placed on the earth to do?  What happens when we die after we have lived our lives through and to and for race? What happens to our socially colored bodies, their power and privileges, their weakness and disadvantages?

What are we do with this social coloring of skin?  Are we truly ruling over others because of it or is it ruling over us?  Who or what is really in control and why?  Why does race control us, dictate to us what we are to do and say and become?  Why does race have a purpose, a goal, an end in our lives?  Why is race here and now and believed to be always?  Why aren’t we questioning race?