I have the fruit on the tree, if you will. For several years, I served in a number of ministries working towards racial and denominational reconciliation, most of whom lead by black pastors. My lovely bride and I spent fifteen years in inner city ministry. During that time, I served as teaching and administrative pastor in a mixed race congregation and community outreach center. We lived in a mixed race neighborhood for thirteen years that became a predominantly black neighborhood. I'm not saying all this to brag but more as a pedigree so that my credibility might be established.
It's so easy to stand against the obvious hate. The KKK and other white supremacist groups are overt and blatant in their hatred of other races especially blacks and jews. Since many people I care about fall into both of these groups, the idea that anyone would want to hurt them for no reason other than the color of their skin fills me with a rage that only time and prayer can calm. Opposing their filthy ideology is the only rational thing to do but not with violence. As the Scriptures say:
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
I have seen this type of overt racism on display all my life but not always from whites who hate blacks. I've heard it from blacks who hate whites and jews, blacks and whites who both hate Mexicans, Mexicans who hate everybody. Hatred and bigotry are universal. Anyone can be filled with this vile poison. The reason we left the neighborhood was because my two sons were jumped because they were white. They were kids who dared to walk down the street. Speed was their only salvation. Most of the people living there at the time and, I assume, to this day are decent people who harbor no ill will towards anyone. In all cases, it is the vocal and often violent minority that are the problem.
These are the easy ones to spot. Most of the racism I see today is not quite so obvious. The blatant ones are the people denying jobs or homes to people based on race. The far more devious beliefs are often masked behind seemingly good intentions. They're so deep and hidden that the people who hold them don't believe that they're are racist. Most believe that they're fighting racism.
I'm talking about the soft bigotry of low expectations. This takes the form of beliefs such as the idea that minorities aren't able to get IDs on their own so shouldn't be expected to have them to vote. Perhaps it's seen in demanding lower requirements for admission into colleges or job advancement. Although these seem like the right thing to do, in reality they are, along with anything else in this line of thought, the message is clear that those who believe them are a different form of white supremacist. They feel guilty about their beliefs but act and speak in ways that confirm that they believe that racial and ethnic minorities are inferior and can only succeed with the help of their superiors.
This type of bigotry is the root of the need to keep minorities feeling like victims. Anger and the assumption of racism are the result. Proponents of this racism teach minorities to assume racial motivations behind everything. This, in and of itself, is a form of bigotry and racism.
I dream of the day when we can actually come back together as one American people. Our currency reads the Latin motto, "E Pluribus Unim." This means from many, one. There will always be disagreements and there will always be hatred and bigotry. It's up to us, the Body of Christ, to be instruments of peace and reconciliation. We must reject all forms of racism and see everyone as individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender. The love of God must flow through us to break through and bring unity wherever we can. Hearts and minds are changed one at a time.
Reject hate. Reject violence. Embrace love and mercy.