Tag Archives: the death of race

Plain and simple: It’s Jesus or race

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“His (Jesus’) life must mean the death of race in us.”

| Brian Bantum, The Death of Race: Building a New Christianity in a Racial World

It’s not hard.  Letting go of race is not difficult.  I know that it is not something that we would consider and that you didn’t ask for assistance with.  I know that you two have your problems but they’re your problems.  I know that I should stay out of it, that its a personal problem, a social conundrum, a spiritual dilemma.  I really should keep my nose out of it and my two cents.  But, I can’t.

While some people can’t get their minds around this race-less gospel, they shake their heads in agreement. Yes, it is a social construct.  Yes, it is not a biological reality.  I know that color and country are not synonymous, that color is not my Creator.  Yes, I am more than skin but soul and Spirit- filled.  Yes, but no.

No.  We have to stop right there because they can’t go beyond this intellectual acceptance.  Yes, that was their confession but no.  Getting rid of race is too hard.  It will take more time.  No talk of starting now and no mention of when this racialized existence would come to an end.  They just know that it can’t happen.  It won’t happen anytime soon, in the near future.  Strangely, they cannot see a future when race is not near.

“Because who would I be without my color?  I have always been beige, brown, red, yellow, black or white.  How would I identify myself?  Who would I identify with?”

So much to lose and not enough to choose from.  Race has them covered.  Life can only make sense to them if they are colored.

You would think that I asked them to peel off their skin.

They speak as if they would cease to exist and though Christian, the idea of being born again never crosses their mind.  There is no need to enter the womb a second time (John 3.4).  Enter water and Spirit.

But, for those who confess Jesus as Lord, it seems way too easy to put race to death through our new life in him.  New creatures, we simply cannot stop identifying with race.  And worse still, we imagine that God cannot be identified apart from it.  But, we can have one without the other and only one cancels out the other.

So, what will it be– Jesus or race?

Four years and one day later

images-1Happy anniversary!  I celebrated four years of writing about the social construct of race, America’s social parables and the ways in which they influence and inform our Christian faith… yesterday.  Obviously, it is a belated celebration but a noteworthy milestone nonetheless.  It is a cause for appreciation for and reflection on my writing life as I have noticed many ways in which these words have shaped me and strengthened my hands.

Writing about it as a discipline, talking it as an idol and thinking about race theologically through this blog have been of great benefit to me and have done much to encourage me along the way to raceless-ness.  I can look back and say, “I’m not where I use to be.”  Yes, race continues to affect and impact us negatively but my footing is different.  Its actions don’t move me, don’t unsettle me, don’t cause me to stumble in my conviction to love.

But, race also does not have the hold that it use to in America.  Our society is growing less and less tolerant of the presence of racism and its progeny.  In a society that seeks to be advanced, race looks backward and behind to us.  It questions our sacred image of “progressive.”  We may not be where we want to be as a nation but we certainly aren’t where we use to be.

I suspect that race won’t be with us for much longer, that it’s fighting to stay alive.  But it’s time has run out.  The days of race are short.

Its pulse is weakening and I can feel its life inside of me slipping away.  I am certain that if you have followed my writings these past four years and one day that you can feel it to.  Yes, there is much work to be done but let’s not talk about it.  Let’s do it.

Let’s talk and understand.  Let’s accept, forgive and reconcile. Let’s love and love and love.  Don’t wait another year; don’t give race another day of your life.  Next year around this time, let’s celebrate the anniversary of its death in us.  Happy anniversary in advance.

What can we expect of race?

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What do we expect of an unjust system, an unfair practice that bases human value and purpose on the social coloring of skin?  Why do we ask of skin, look to the surface to give our lives and the lives we live with others a deeper meaning?  Why place such an expectation on race?

Why did we think that race could bring us together when it thrives on division, when it calls for separation and segregation?  Race creates categories not circles.

There will be no hand- holding, no singing of “Kumbaya” here.  God is not present in race.

How could it ever make us better when it casts members of our humanity as worse– based solely on looks, appearance, our sight instead of God’s vision?  Why did we ever expect that race would make us see ourselves and others more clearly when it prescribes prejudice and stereotypes?  Why did we give our eyes to it instead of keeping them fixes on Jesus?

What can we expect of race, this social construct that prizes and praises the flesh of some over others?  Nothing.  In the end, it will return to the earth just as our flesh.  It will not rise with us so maybe we should lower our expectation of it.