Race is a sociopolitical construct, a long word and a long way of saying that human beings made it up. Not revelation brought down from a mountain like Moses in Exodus but it was built into a system of oppression from the tip of tongues up, which is why I talk it down and break race down to what it is. A four- letter word, race curses all of us. Made in the image of God, race is an idol that gets in the way of human beings seeing ourselves clearly.
It is another golden calf that strips us down to next to nothing.
Mere skin and bones, all body but no soul. Race leaves out that God- breathed inspiration that makes us unique living souls. Because we wouldn’t fit into the box. Because if we knew this truth fully, then we wouldn’t check the box. Because it is poppycock.
So, we have to tear it down.
Yes, racism exists but it is supported by a belief system. Race begot racism. We cannot have one without the other. Racism and its progeny are the children but race is the mother.
Close our mouths and shut her womb, we could speak about each other differently. We would, in turn, see each other differently. Because we are not beige (that is, “mixed race”), black, brown, red, yellow and white people, physically. Race is a contract that we have agreed on for generations and as a society— without reading the fine print and taking note of all the fees and penalties. It’s adding up. It’s too much.
Tear it up.
We are just words away from a new world and the new way of being that we pray: “God’s ‘kin-dom’ come.” Most often recited on Communion Sundays, we remember Christ’s body and then color him in as our own. Because he is Savior only if he is one of our own. “If he ain’t skin to me, then he ain’t kin to me,” right? Wrong. Life and death of this old world and old way of seeing ourselves and others as color- coded is in the power of our tongues (Proverb 18.21). Besides, we are not supposed to know Jesus that way.
Paul wrote about it:
“For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way” (Second Corinthians 5.14-16, NRSV).
Yes, race is all we have known and it is not even skin deep. Because race is not foundational our identity. Instead, it creates a limiting, binary reality: black and white, us and them, majority and minority. And the world is so much bigger than this small thinking. So, tear it down.
By Starlette Thomas