Several weeks ago, in response to thoughts I had over the racial problems we have in our country, I posted on recapturing the Dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Find that post here. I also offered some suggestions for doing so. So far, I have not received any interaction from my black brothers and sisters, but I have received feedback from some dear friends who feel one of the problems we have in this country is racism towards whites by some black people. Though I do not deny that racism goes both ways, my basic premise is that Christians should take action in overcoming racism. One of my major goals is to encourage my white brothers and sisters to initiate the conversation. I believe that the three or four hundred year history of white domination has to be reversed. I do not mean that we should now have black domination. That would be the same sin. (I remember my senior year in high school, my friend John Green, who I respected greatly, and who is also black, called out the teacher over the term “Reverse Discrimination” as being racially charged. In other words, he meant racism is racism. Only someone from a superior position could call it reverse; thus the phrase is implicitly racist. I’ll never forget that day).
I am calling white Christians to become servants, to become slaves, to their black brothers. The history of slavery in America, followed by unjust Jim Crow laws, and the subversion of racism in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement, has created deep wounds in the culture of America, especially between whites and blacks. I believe that the current racial crises in America are symptoms of this deep cultural divide. To overcome this divide I believe white Christians must initiate. If you have been either overtly or internally racist, you should repent and doing so publically may be painful for you, but will lead to healing. If you have not been racist, but find yourself living in a world that is being shaken by these events I suggest you read the following response:
Dear white Christian brother, who has not committed racism overtly or in your heart,
A black person may feel a barrier to you either consciously or subconsiously. If it is consciously, then they are being racist, and I believe they need to repent. But your humility towards them may lead to their freedom. If it is subconsciously, (this is one probable cause of the overt racism as well) it is due to cultural wounds or to their worldview. If they feel no barrier, and many people are this way, it is probably because they have seen the problem with the worldview, whether the cause of seeing this be education, upbringing or self-reflection, or the counsel of a friend.
But, If they feel this barrier towards you, who has done nothing to deserve it, unless they realize the cause, then your relationship will be severely hampered. We don’t have to be friends with everybody to the same degree, but, as it says in Romans, as far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. As Christians, we have the “ministry of reconciliation.” Overcoming these barriers is a witness to the gospel whereby God destroys our barriers to him and brings us into his family.
If you desire a deeper relationship with someone, then you have to deal with the issue. Having the freedom to talk about the elephant in the room is the first step. As a Christian, if you sense that race is the issue, then showing some genuine understanding (emotionally) of the history is a first step towards growth. They probably assume, as is the case in every situation involving cross-cultural communication, that because you are not like them, then you probably don’t understand. In other words, its because you are white and they are black. But as we both know, the gospel transcends those categories. We have to put the gospel into practice and gently break down the barrier. In this sense, you are a servant of your black brother. We become their slaves for the sake of the gospel.