Tag Archives: the purpose of race

The Race System

Image result for mechanical imageI wonder when we will put the two together– race and racism.  Theirs is a partnership; the two go hand- in- hand as you cannot have one without the other.  In fact, one cannot function without the other.

Racism is not the problem.  Racism is the way that the system of race works.  Racism is the employee; race is the boss, calling the shots and doing the hiring.

For white privilege and the burden of being colored other than white to exist, there has to be a belief in the social construct of race, a faith that purports that the social coloring of our skin determines value, voice and visibility.  Race is not about identity but ideology.  Race is not concerned about people but power and who controls it.  This system is not rooted in customer satisfaction.

Instead, race creates socially colored people for capitalistic and hierarchical purposes.  Race places whiteness first and pays it more.  Whiteness is a privilege; it is not earned. It is given because of our agreement with race and the illusion of socially colored people.  Whiteness is a shared benefit, given to some and kept from others. It is quite a hand out.

This is what got the system going.  This is what has made America a social power: the systematic uplift of one group by holding down another, success built on the death of Africans, African Americans and those who are indigenous to what is now the United States.  It is a social drowning, taking the breath of one group in order to keep the other alive and even to give more life to the other.  Now, fully alive, there is no question why some communities are in better health than others.  And yet, there is still a seeming lack of understanding as to why African Americans got upset when they heard the words of Eric Garner and believed him: “I can’t breathe.”

But, without socially colored people, the system would shut down, cease the exist.  We are its power button.  Consequently, if we reject the social colors of race, it becomes useless and meaningless.

If we are to deny the privileges of whiteness and the oppressions of other social colors, then we must rid ourselves of the race system.  We must stop handing out and accepting social colors.  We should not speak of ourselves in social colors and then complain about how the racial identity corrupts our sense of self and compromises our relationships with other cultural groups.  In order to get out of the race system, we must rid ourselves of its work.  We must quit race altogether.  It is our selves that must destruct.

In 5… 4… 3… 2…

The Inspiration of Race

What inspires our belief in race?  Why do we have so much faith in this social construct?  Is it because we built it that we take pride in it, that we cannot let it go?

For me and I suppose so many others, race creates more questions than answers.  In fact, the more that I study race, the more curious I become as to how it has maintained our interest and dominated our understanding of self, neighbor and God. A most pressing question for me now is, “What is the inspiration behind our declarations of race and what motivates us to continue to share this social belief system?”

We know that race is not biologically real and has been scientifically disproven; still, we believe in it.  For all of our “progress” as post- modern people, we can’t seem to move beyond race.  We know that race was not created in order for us to better understand ourselves, our purpose and inherent worth.  We can trace it back to a person: Johann Friedrich Blumenbach; yet, we continue to allow race to inform our theology and the practice of our faith.

It is our willful ignorance of this truth that propels the identity forward to each generation.  We lack the motivation and the interest in discovering our true selves.    We’ve heard the message of race before but it continues to inspire us because it elevates and empowers our flesh.

The fact is that we want to be so far removed from God and God’s sovereignty that we are willing to accept race and its social conditions despite its injustices, inconveniences and inconsistencies. The prickly truth is we would rather live the lie than accept the truth that we are made in God’s image.  We would rather worship the creature than the Creator (Romans 1.25).  It is the possibility of divinity a part from God that inspires us to live as racial beings, practicing segregation, singing stereotypes, praising prejudice.

Questioning Race (Part Three)

The root of the word question is the word quest, which is defined as “the long and arduous search for something.”  In my questioning of the social construct of race, what am I hoping to find?  I am hoping to discover more of myself, to go deeper into the spiritual reality that is me, to see myself more fully alive in God and dead to race, to perceive myself more truly through the mind of Christ and a part from the false perceptions of race.

Questioning race has been a liberating journey and while I did not set out with an end in mind when I began writing, I am certainly content with the results of my walking away from race.  I have written in previous posts about the spiritual discipline of questioning race.  It is no authority and has no authority over my life and its meaning.  Race will not interrogate me; I am its superior.  Consequently, I find it to be a necessary and daily practice for those who seek to deny their racialized self in order to embrace their new identity and position in Jesus Christ.

Some times, asking a question can prove difficult.  Ironically, we don’t ask questions because we don’t want to sound ignorant or be thought of as stupid.  We would much rather appear as if we know it all.  Sadly, life is no different from the classrooms that we have sat in.  But, we can not take this approach when it comes to our identity and purpose.  We must raise our hands and in doing so, raise up our lives and say, “I don’t know who I am.  Do you?”

But, we must be certain of who the teacher is in the room: God.  Race is but a student, a peer.  It has the same answers that you have, copied directly from your life.  So, go ahead.  Raise your hand.  Ask the questions of God and of race who pretends to be a god.  But, ask the right questions, knowing its position.

I’ll go first.  We are very comfortable questioning God so let me show you how to question race.

1.  What is the meaning of race?

2.  If you created us and we are made in your various images, then what do you, the image of perfection look like?  And whether we are this socially colored image of perfection or not, why is the feeling the same?  Why do we hate ourselves?

3.  What is the meaning and purpose of the racialized life?  Did you put us here solely to hate others and to love ourselves, to curse others and to bless ourselves?  Why are we so afraid of each other?  Will we ever stop fighting to be on top, to be the best socially colored group?  How do we know who the winner is?  If the fight is fixed and the winner chosen, then why fight at all?  How long will we war with each other?

4.  Why are human beings socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige?  Why are we colored in?

5.  What is your meaning and purpose for the social coloring of skin?

6.  Why did you place so much meaning, value and purpose in the external being of humanity?  Why is this life about appearance?

7.  Why is race the answer to the question of who we are?  Why is it a part of our identity?

8.  How do we know that you exist?  What is your purpose for the world and its inhabitants?  What is the will of race?

9.  Why does race allow, encourage and support our hatred and oppression of others? What kind of god are you?

10.  What does race want from us and how do we know for certain?

11.  Why is race real, believable, acceptable, true?

12.  Why are we so afraid to leave race?  Why are we so afraid of not being socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige?

13.  Apart from race, who are we?

14.  How does our belief in stereotypes assist us in loving ourselves, our neighbor and our God?

15.  Why must God be socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige?

16.  Who or what is race?

17.  Who created stereotypes?

18.  Why do we believe in and practice prejudice based on the social coloring of skin?

19.  What happens to race when we die?  Where does it go?

20.  When did race begin?

Who answers these questions?  We do.  We are its messengers just as we are messengers of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit.  The question is, “What is the inspiration behind our declarations concerning race?”