Only One Label Matters

Dear Christian,

You are not a Republican, Democrat, or member of any of the third parties. You are not a conservative, liberal, authoritarian, or libertarian. You are not black, white, or of any race. You are not from the west or the east. You are not African, Asian, European, or American. You are a follower of Jesus. That is all, in all, and over all. And as a follower of Christ, you are part of a family made up people from all sorts of backgrounds and experiences. The Biblical worldview does not include any one political platform and no racial creed. The words of Jesus are supreme. The spread of the gospel is all that matters. Name calling and label-making never saved a soul. Only the love of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the truth of the Bible can do that. For us, that is all the heartbeat of our life because we are His. And being His is the only label that matters.

Peace in Christ brothers and sisters

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Races don’t exist

af9874ec95caadf9fef66dafb6925b92272470bef7947dea95e5202b8f8a43e9The battle over racism has reverberated throughout history. Cultures have used the concept of race, or variations of it, to subjugate groups of people for millennia. In the US alone, we denied civil rights to particular groups based on the “color” of their skin. More than that, we used race to segregate large portions of our population from public areas and certain jobs. If that wasn’t enough, we even bound people in chains all because of race. However, all of these conflicts have occurred based on a faulty concept. There is no such thing as multiple races. That’s right! Races don’t exist, therefore racism is discrimination towards something that isn’t real. That, among many other things, should make racists feel great shame. How have we come to such a place where people are so hung up on belonging to a specific race? How did we ever develop a construct of racial groups in the first place?

Over 100 years ago, an American sociologist named W.E.B. Du Bois spoke out on this issue. He was concerned that race was being used as biological explanations for social and cultural differences between different populations of people. Du Bois criticized the idea of using white and black labels for discrete groups. He claimed that these distinctions ignored the scope of human diversity and were not biologically correct in the first place.

 

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Recent scientific research has supported Du Bois’ claims. Here’s a quote from Michael Yudell, a professor of public health at Drexel University in Philadelphia who has been involved in studies on the matter.

It’s [race] a concept we think is too crude to provide useful information, it’s a concept that has social meaning that interferes in the scientific understanding of human genetic diversity and it’s a concept that we are not the first to call upon moving away from.

Race has been a tool, not for understanding people or for preserving culture and identity, but to subjugate and segregate people groups within societies and without. The best way for racism to disappear in a society is for people to come to the reality that race is only a construct of their own imagination. Human cultures have been bred to see race. We’re constantly inundated with it. We hear about it in schools, in music, on movies, and in the news. But race, has no place, among the world of facts. I’ve written this topic in a post two years ago but the issue has only grown in our American media and mainstream since. So I feel compelled to share once again. Below are just a few reasons why race is a false title for you and me to apply to anyone:

#1- We all have the same beginning.

Race: a group of persons related by common descent or heredity.

Dictionary.com

Every single human being on planet earth has the same descendant.  It doesn’t matter where you live, what language you speak, or how you look. We are all related. Africans are related to Europeans, are related to Americans, are related to Asians. We are all one big family. If we are all related, race cannot exist. To discriminate against another is to attack your own family. But if we all started from the same two people, then why the variations? Why do we look so different? For the same reason why you don’t look like your distant cousins. Now multiply that by billions of people genetically mixing over thousands of years and it’s not too difficult to understand why humanity is so diverse.

#2- We are all the same color.

One thing people use as a race identifier is the color of skin. But what few people realize is that every single human is the same color. That’s right! So why the different variations?  It all comes down to how much melanin your body produces (which also affects eye and skin color). People have the ability to make multiple kinds and levels of melanin in their skin and that will determine the shade variation of your appearance. That is all determined by the combination of genes that have mixed and been passed down over the ages. The amount of melanin can be varied from very little, like in fair skinned people, to a lot found in dark brown skin. In combination with this is also the color of our skin cells. Most cells are clear and we can see the reddish purple of the blood through very pale skin, but in our outer skin the upper cells have keratin fibers for protection. Keratin has a pale yellowish hue. Variations in human skin shade also correlate closely with geography and the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. So humans have various shades based on the combinations from melanin production, keratin, the blood under their skin, and exposure to the sun.

#3- The concept of race is fairly new

Contemporary scholars argue that race was made common place as recent as the 18th century as people were searching for a way to classify people. Many disciplines have declared that the real meaning of race, especially in American society, has to do with social realities, as opposed to physical variations in the humans. In other words, race was created as a means of justifying abuses. And even today, race is being used to further drive a wedge among people within a nation. Prior to the 18th century, most civilizations viewed others in accordance with people groups and family lineage. Read historical texts, including the bible, and see how labels are used. So while persecution still existed in great abundance before the 1700’s, it was based on biases, a desire for dominance and power, socioeconomic status, and differences in cultural customs. You know who enslaved Africans first? Africans. You know who the “white” Europeans enslaved first? Other “white” Europeans.  All of the elements of discrimination that once existed still exist today, yet we’ve added the race element to it as well, and it has been tearing at the American nation ever since.

#4- The One that created us gave us a real image

Race is more about image than it is anything else. We are physical creatures and we often view others based on their physical appearance and how they portray themselves and that goes a long way in determining one’s image. We aren’t black. We aren’t white. We aren’t anything that has to do with color. We aren’t meant to put ourselves in a tiny box labeled Caucasian or Hispanic or African American. Those labels should have no place in a society. They only serve to divide and brainwash us to view ourselves and others based on those labels. We all have the same inherent label and image. Once people can come to grips with that reality, the better we’ll be in treating and viewing others how they should be.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:27 (NIV)

Enough with Unite the Right. Enough with KKK and White Supremacy. Enough with Black Lives Matter and Black Power. Can’t we all see that this is all self defeating? Can’t we see that all this race talk is further making race a problem? We need to wake up America! There is no such thing as Black and White. There are only people. We are all the same race. We are all image bearers of the One that created us. You know how conflicts arise? Pride and jealousy over differences in people. Sin! It’s people developing images for themselves and others that are so distant from who we were created to be. We are all different. And that is good. Maybe a better way to phrase it is, we’re all unique and that’s how we’ve been designed.

Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, came to planet earth to destroy this social phenomenon of false imagery and discrimination. He came to unite His creation based on who He is, not based on our differences. We are created with differences, not to mistreat and label others, but so we will learn to be in community and use our skills to benefit humankind. Faith in Christ, unites. Faith in Christ destroys walls. Faith in Christ opens our eyes to see beyond physical appearance. Faith in Christ helps us to know who we really are and were always meant to be. Lets have a few less protests and a lot more proclaiming the love of Jesus. Lets forget about resisting the national anthem and focus on a revival of hearts on fire for Jesus Christ and His mission.

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28 (NIV) [my emphasis]

Color Blind

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“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Genesis 1:26-27 (ESV)

I know that I’m only 33 years old but I cannot remember a time during my life when the issue of race was so backwards in the minds of so many people as it seems to be today. The scenes of race riots in Baltimore and Ferguson, as well as protests of police brutality and the ensuing debates all over media, herald us back to memories of the civil rights movement when racial inequality was center stage in the United States. Since I’m a history teacher I’m pretty well versed about racism in the United States, as well as other parts of the world so I feel as though I have some foundation from which to address this topic but I also understand that experience is the best form of education and I am operating from a limited perspective there. However, I have no desire to solve the racial issues through a discourse on it’s history or by pointing a finger at anyone or any series of events. Instead I would love to solve the race issue for any individual, one at a time. I also would like to offer a bit of hope to anyone who has felt the sting of racism or believed the lie that world cultures have taught for thousands of years.

I heard a preacher give a message not long ago on this very subject. I have to admit that I am basing some of this off of his eloquent evaluation of this topic. The main point of his message was that we all have a common ancestor…Adam and Eve. Now for those who don’t believe in creation will have a very difficult time with this. You see, if we have one common ancestor, by definition we are all of one common race…humanity.  Before I go too far lets address what race is exactly. Race is defined as a way of classifying people according to physical traits and common ancestry. This is different from ethnicity which is a way of classifying groups according to cultural attributes. So I want to use the definition of race as an argument against race. Confused? Let me explain. If we are to understand that there are different groups of people known as races based on ancestry then how could there be more than one race? Even for the staunch evolutionist they would have to have a huge problem with this. Someone would have to argue that different people groups “evolved” from different sources. Evolution itself is hard enough to convince someone of. That would be nearly impossible. My point is, if we all have a common ancestry we are all of the same race. So how do we explain the physical differences? Well, I don’t want to get into genetic biology here but all you have to do is look within your own family to know that when people reproduce differences occur and no doubt as people spread throughout the globe, more and more differences will happen.

So why can’t we simply be color blind? I’m convinced that the only way to solve the race problem is to admit that there is only one race. There is no white, black, hispanic, asian, etc…There are only physical differences within the same family. We are all God’s creation rooted in the first created humans. God loves every skin shade and and physical difference we have. Therefore no one has any possible basis for an argument that any group of people is inferior to another and should in no way treat or look at someone differently. Instead, we should celebrate each other’s physical uniqueness because without it, this world would be awfully boring.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Galatians 3:28

God Bless