Tag Archives: the raceless life

Breaking all the rules of race

I’m feeling rebellious this morning, like something new and necessary should be done.  I am not interested in contributing to this American society as it has been but would rather pursue what God says can be– not only for me but for all those who would leave race behind.  I am tired of living life afraid of what I think that I missed out on because of race/ racism/ prejudice.  I am tired of living my life afraid of others who I have never spoken to and who have never spoken to me.  I am tired of living my life afraid of what race has done, could and will do to me, obeying its rules which do more to disrupt and disorder my life.

I refuse to live my life based on rules for which persons agree are ungodly, unfounded and unnecessary.  I’m breaking all the rules of race for the rest of my life beginning with these:

1.  I will love the God not made in my own socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige image but embrace the mystery that our stereotypes pretend to reveal and accept the sovereignty of the One whose will is not determined by the whims of racism or prejudice.

2.  I will not place my cultural identity, heritage and its history above the supreme reality of God but will strive to “live, move and have my being” in the newness of Jesus Christ (Acts 17.28).  The celebration of socially color- coded histories (i.e. black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige history month) is not to be compared with or subjected to our time with God and in eternity.  God has done more than any people group individually or combined with others and all that we are able to accomplish for good according to His will is because of God and for His glory.

3.  I will not practice the traditions of race as if they satisfy the will of God for me, my cultural group or others.

4.  I will not place the commandments of racism (i.e. “Thou shall hate them before they hate you.  Thou shall oppress because you deserve to be on top.  Thou shall not forgive because a relationship with ‘them’ is purposeless and without value.”) above the commandments of God, seeing the latter as impossible and ideal in nature only and the former as the mature response to oppression, abuse and hatred.

5.  I will not allow my eyes to be coopted by the stereotypical lenses of others.  I will experience life for myself and not on race’s terms.  I will allow persons to introduce themselves to me and disregard the prideful, self- serving introductions of racism and stereotypes.

6.  I will not go along quietly and be held hostage to the hatred of others for which rational reasons have not been accounted for.

7.  I will have more than one socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige friend.  I do not accept “token” friendships but seek authentic relationships and dialogue.

8.  I will not play the race game, carry or collect race cards.

9.  I will not identify myself or others based on race.  I am not a colored human being.  I am simply a human being.

10.  I will talk about race until I am blue in the face.

Dr. Silvia Mazzula in a post titled “But You Speak So Well”: How Latinos Experience Subtle Racism,” provides this noteworthy definition of microaggression: “things said or done – many times unconsciously – that reflect a person’s inner thinking, stereotypes and prejudices. They are difficult to recognize because they are brief, innocuous, and often difficult to see.”  She also shares with readers the effects of microaggressions and why we need to be conscious of their use.

To Be Known

“There is no deep knowing of God without a deep knowing of self and no deep knowing of self without a deep knowing of God.” ~ John Calvin

“Observe all men; thy self most.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

“And you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father…” ~ First Chronicles 28.9, NRSV

How do we wish to be known and how do we come to discover ourselves?  Stumbled upon or inherited, our identity can be something we work for or that works against us.  Who we are determines who others will be to us.  How we see ourselves influences the manner in which we view others.  But, who or what knows us best and how is our identity determined by it?  Is it our gender, our parents, our race, our God?

Race makes the knowing of ourselves too easy, too predictable.  Simply to be seen is to be known.  Our physicality is inventoried and conclusions drawn: You are black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige.  But, do we really know ourselves if what we have learned has been repeated for hundreds of years to every person of the same social coloring or cultural background?  If it has been used to maintain social hierarchy, cultural divisions, faulty notions of beauty and power, can it be trusted as a reliable source of our identity?  If that identity does more to conceal our true nature and its purpose?  If it is an identity lived in and for and through our flesh and its appendages?

No. I want to be known and I want to know myself beyond the social coloring of my skin, the size of my lips, the texture of my hair and the shape of my nose.  I want to be known for more than my socioeconomic ranking, educational background, geographical location and workplace title.  And I want to know myself as God knows me, spiritually, deeply and truly– without all of the lusts and lies that get in the way.  If not, then I will die a stranger to myself.  Oh God, help me to know myself and to be known without race and apart from stereotypes.  Amen.