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    Decrying the Racism Within

    December 15, 2017

    It’s easy to decry the racism that marches in on a city, unmasked and carrying torches.

    It’s much harder to identify the subtle, masked racism that dwells within my own heart, a racism I could otherwise be blind to.

    One rarely admits to being racist. Even the KKK has a code of conduct that sounds noble at first glance, interlaced with Scripture.

    It takes effort and intention to detach politics from your religion and examine what has become unrecognizably entangled.

    It takes vulnerability to admit that the problem isn’t “this is not who we are as a country,” but that we’ve whitewashed and retold those parts of our history to maintain a romanticized national narrative.

    It takes silence…to hear the voices of those who have been silenced for centuries, and to know that in the recording history, it is most often the people in power who get to tell the story; but that history is never only the voice of the dominant.

    It takes courage to realize that we naturally try to drift towards people who are most like us, but that there is a line that is easily crossed when we begin to believe that “different” means inferiority or reason to be feared as a threat. (In Christianity, we sometimes like to blame “conviction,” “a sensitive conscience,” or the Holy Spirit for what is in actuality, feeling uncomfortable with something that is unlike us. In both the secular and sacred worlds, it’s easy to become fearful of what we do not know, and to let that fear turn into something else.)

    As a wise man once said, “The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear.” And as another wise man — a survivor of the consummation of fear and hate, the Holocaust — also told us, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

    I posted this on my personal Facebook all the way back in August, in the fallout of Charlottesville. But I felt it warranted being posted here, too.

    Photo: Unsplash

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