Racism: Dead or Alive?

Let me start off by saying the views expressed here are solely of my own opinion, and I have tried to avoid offending anyone. I intend this article as a means for constructive conversation among the students here at NCU.

To me, racism is a joke. I have many friends of different races and nationalities, and I have never thought of them as any different than anyone else. To us, racism is something to joke about. The idea of actually treating each other differently due to our skin color is not even a possibility in our minds. I’m glad that the question of race, at least for my generation, is a moot point.

race

I believe this is due to a generational shift in thinking about race. Our parents grew up in a different time, where inspirational leaders such as Martian Luther King Jr.  and Rosa Parks were challenging the cultural norms of the day. Schools were being desegregated as the idea of separate but equal was overturned.  It was a time of great change for America, and most of it was for the better. My parents grew up in this period of change, and to them issues about race are no joking matter.

Yet today, things are different. I did not experience the volatile changes my parents went through, and to me being friends with those of different origins is a simple fact of life. No need to question it, or even think twice.  I, along with my friends, view jokes about race and cultural differences to be okay among friends. Our perception is that only someone truly ignorant would still be a bigot in today’s world.

Yet therein lies the rub. Today’s world, while better than it was, still remains racist. All one has to do is turn on the news and see that people still fear and hate others who are different than them. Recent events, such as the Trayvon Martin case, have highlighted race issues in our country.  As for my own views, I believe that geography certainly plays a factor. I have lived, and probably always will live, in the Pacific Northwest. This is not an area that has deep-seated issues with race. Maybe if I grew up in the South, where claims of racism are more widespread, my views would be different.

What does this mean for us as Christians? I believe we have a duty to spread God’s love to everyone we meet, not just those who look similar to us. Jesus told His disciples to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” Mark 16:15 ESV. Clearly this love crosses all boundaries, and is meant for every person on this planet, not just those of a certain race or nation. Christians need to be on the front lines of this war against hatred and oppression, and do our best to promote God’s peace and love to all of mankind. Our generation has the chance to stamp out the weed of racism. I hope that one day, regardless of where they grow up, I will be able to raise my future children in a world devoid of arrogant prejudice.

Please leave me a comment and tell me your thoughts on this hot button topic. Is racism the problem from a previous generation, or is it alive and well? Is racism ok to joke about among friends? What can we do as Christians to combat this hatred of our fellow man (and woman)? Please keep your comments respectful!

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2 Responses

  1. Kelly Bivens says:

    Well, there are a number of items here that remain vague, rendering it difficult to properly respond. For starters, it is never specified what “joking about race” means, whether among friends or not.

    It’s understandable that you find intolerance as a practice laughable, especially among like-minded friends who feel themselves open to those around them regardless of background. But racism, whether overt or more subtle, is not something that one can reduce to being a problem of our various past generations; it isn’t something that is so much on the decline it is a foreign concept of a bygone age.

    People regardless of region suffer, and I put emphasis on that term, suffer the repercussions of racism, bigotry, intolerance, a lack of acceptance upon which Christian views should be entirely steeped in. Kind souls are physically, emotionally, and spiritually assaulted over their birth aspects. I am a jokative individual, and I oft reduce potentially offensive or harmful situations into jest because it is how I deal with them best. Therefore, I do understand the idea of joking among friends.

    But as to what we are able to do as Christians? First, we need to open our eyes and realize every corner of this nation seeps with intolerance in some form or fashion. We need to not assume ourselves above said intolerance either. Next, we need to take a stand each and every time a man or woman, adult or child is attacked for their base attributes. We should not feel complacent we personally don’t indulge in wanton intolerance, but instead feel outrage there are brothers and sisters being reduced in human value due to their base attributes. This is the role of human empathy, and especially our duty as Christians.

    I sum this up with: it’s fine to joke about racism, but racism is never a joke.

  2. Crystal R says:

    While I enjoy and agree with most of what you have to say. I do feel that you need to know about the KKK, Sun down towns and the current Skin Heads here in Oregon. I’ll save time by linking you to websites that can specifically help give you insight to the history of racism in the north/northwest.
    http://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/entry/view/ku_klux_klan/
    http://sundown.afro.illinois.edu/sundowntowns.php
    http://skinheads.net/community/threads/skins-in-oregon.5239/
    These aren’t all completely, academically sound, but it’ll give you an idea of what I’m getting at. I do love what you are advocating for! The root of racism, from my personal analysis is one side: the need to control, and on the other side: fear. Racism is still alive because people feel the need to control others, and on the other side, fearing people are those who have had generations of parents and grandparents who were hurt by the people who felt the need to control them… Also, Racism was most certainly not dead in the 1850’s when people began to migrate to the North from the south and midwest. They brought it with them. And though in some pockets we are fortunate to not directly deal with racism, it is still here, prevalent in many pockets of society, and must not be ignored.
    An example of what we can do as Christians to break past racist barriers is going out of our way to reach out to the exchange students by showing them God’s love. Since His love is greater than any bounds, theoretically, being introduced to a different way of love will eradicate (perhaps slowly but surely) the individual’s need to control and/or the long standing fear of those who seek control. (This is just as example, not a one deal fits all).

    Overall, I agree with you and would love to see students/alumni of NCU getting involved in making the community more aware of where racism is still present and solutions of how to fix it.

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