Is Racism a Symptom or the Problem?
By Providence Crowder
In observing the recent hoopla over racist comments made by Los Angeles Clippers professional basketball franchise owner Donald Sterling in a private phone conversation, one thing remains painfully obvious about the state of our nation—race is still a toxic issue.
Even as toxic as it is, I want to take a moment to speak frankly about race, racism, and how I believe we as people should view the issue in order to become truly free—and move forward. Not that my opinion means much, but I do have one. Why does racism have such a powerful grip on the hearts and minds of people all over the world? What is wrong with people, and what is racism anyways?
I view racism as a belief of superiority that drives actions and attitudes. Racism is a by-product of hatred, pride, and self-centeredness—all results of sin. Racism is ugly. Racism is a part of what compelled and allowed some to accept and enforce slavery and Jim Crow as acceptable practices for hundreds of years in this nation. Racism drove some to refuse personhood and citizenship to people of color so that people of color would not be granted the freedoms and rights afforded to “persons” and “citizens” under the Supreme Law of the land, the United States Constitution.
No one denies that there are in this nation and in this world an abundance of injustices as a result of racism. There will always be some injustice for some group or some person because man has a sin problem. Greed, hatred, pride, and lust all fuel the injustices we as people experience and witness daily!
While people have suffered great evils and injustices as a result of acts of racism, sin is the problem of which racism is a symptom. Racism, sexism, classism, ageism, ableism—all these isms are rooted in pride and hatred. We cannot address the isms without addressing the fountain from which they spring.
If we are truthful with ourselves, we realize that racism has afflicted humanity since near the beginning of human history. Every nation, every people, and every time period has been stained by racism of some sort. Even the Jews, those chosen by God to be priests, prophets and missionaries to the world, and from whose bloodline the Messiah did come, became prideful in their position and despised the Gentile nations in which they were sent to minister.
Racism is a symptom. Sin is the problem.
Racism—and all those isms—are defects in the hearts and minds of persons who seemingly do not believe the Scriptures when God says that He created mankind in His image and likeness, and therefore every man is created in the image of God. The racist, sexist, classist, ageist, ableist, and all those ists, do not have a problem with you and I. They have a problem with God.
Without acknowledging that mankind’s sinful nature drives his propensity to serve his own pride and lusts, we will continue to be all consumed by the isms that result from sin. Racism has no allegiance to a skin color, or a political party. Racists come in all colors, shapes, sizes, nationalities, genders, ages, and sexual orientations. Racism has no allegiance to geography or time. In the Bible, we learn that God divided the human race into two groups: Jews and Gentiles— Saints and Sinners. Today it is no difference. God’s distinction is the only distinction that truly matters.
There is this push to make racism the ism above all other isms in this nation. There are those who aim to make classism the ism above all other isms in this nation. There are those who aim to make sexism the ism above all other isms in this nation. Some in this nation have found a convenient political target to address why we have all these isms: The Republican Party.
The narrative goes something like this: “Republicans are not for poor people. They are only for the rich because they want to reduce taxes on the rich. Republicans have declared a war on women because they are against abortion. Republicans are racist because they want to cut welfare and social programs.” So in other words, if you favor abortion, favor big government spending and welfare programs, and favor high taxes on the rich, you are not a sexist, racist, or a classist. Though this thinking is flawed, that narrative has become popular and the belief is held by many. The solution: Get rid of Republicans and their agendas, and America’s ism problems are solved! Right? Wrong. Many of these people I put in the “anything but God” category for problem solving.
Truthfully, our political choices are merely how we view government. Either you believe that government is a taskmaster over the people, or government is a servant of the people. That is the political battle all over the world, not just here in America. Being Republican or Democrat has little to do with racism, classism, or sexism. However, being a Democrat or Republican does say a little something about how you view government.
Racism, classism, and sexism are not affixed to a political choice. However, these evils can be imposed upon people through political choices when a political party as a whole articulates in their political platform that they do not believe that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Yes, these evils can be impressed upon people through politics when a political party defies science, logic, their own eyes, and more importantly, God, to grant their elected government and the court’s authority to redefine who and what a “person” is for political or personal gain. For this reason have some people been denied rights that others have enjoyed—such as the rights to live and be free.
These evils can be imposed upon people through politics when political powers use the long reaching arm of government to reach into wallets and raid the private properties of some people and take the loot and give it to others. And while in the wallet, these same political bandits take a few extra bucks for themselves because, why not? No one is governing the government.
These evils can be imposed upon a people when people deny God sovereignty over their lives and relinquish all moral authority and ethical resolve to a governing body of sinful men.
Racism, sexism, classism, and all those isms are rooted in sin.
So, how do we deal with the isms? Jesus commands us to love one another as He loves us (John 13:34). If God is impartial and loves us with impartiality, then we need to do the same unto others. Jesus teaches in the book of Matthew that whatever we do to the least of our brothers, we do to Him. If we behave as a racist, a sexist, or a classist, we are hurting or abusing a person created in God’s image, someone whom God loves and whom Jesus died for.
Let’s look at what problem truly is. The racist, the classist, the sexist . . . he or she has a problem with God.
If we want to really impact the world and help “rid” the world of acts of racism, let us be ministers of healing, and equip people to deal effectively with the pride, greed, hatred, and lust that consumes our hearts, through sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and putting God’s words into action. Be loving and kind to draw others closer to God. This message, of course, will not resonate with those who do not believe, know, or love God. But, for those who do, let someone know that God loves them. He loves us all, without partiality.