This is a reprint from a few years ago that seems worth recycling. I had recently read and posted to Facebook an article by Walter Williams about race labels. Surprisingly the link is still good.
I tend to avoid such topics overall lest I be accused by one minority or other of speaking from a position of ignorance. There is truth in that. I can never truly understand the experience of being other than what I am. I might lay claim to some experience of prejudice or discrimination because of my blindness, but that’s not the same. By the way, I choose not to think in those terms.
On one level, racial tension is just one more symptom of the fallen state of humanity. If we all had the same skin color, we’d divide ourselves by hair color. I suspect there isn’t a difference among us from what we look like to where we live to how we live that hasn’t been exploited to create disunity. We’re selfish in our unregenerate state and we tend to elevate ourselves and those most like us above the rest.
That reality brings us the present state of affairs in this country, but it’s aggravated by agitation from those with something to gain from racial disharmony and those who have bought the lies they promulgate. Mr. Williams is right. I’ll take it a step further. I think I’ll start calling myself African American. After all, go back far enough and we all originated in Africa.
Allow me to make an example of my own life. Though the topic came up, we were not taught to see differences in people based on race. It would not have occurred to me growing up to make any assumptions good or bad about a person based on color. It’s foolish to ignore statistical realities, but each individual must be received on his own merit. Each is loved by God and must be loved by us.
I regret and resent the fact that I have to work at that same objectivity today. I doubt no less than ever the equality of all men, but the constant focus on the race issue sets up an entirely different set of prejudices. I find myself afraid to speak the truth, lest I be accused of bigotry. I find myself making assumptions about how someone thinks based on what the media has told me they think. If I dare to speak at all I quote someone who happens to be black because he somehow has more right to say it than I do.
I know the answer to the clichéd question, “can’t we all just get along?” That answer is, “No, at least not until Jesus comes back and purges sin from the earth.” We’ll always find a reason to fight. I do wish we could put this one behind us, but as long as someone has something to gain from it, we won’t stop.
It doesn’t help that oppression does continue. The difference is that now we call it compassion and fund it with tax dollars. Some of us who participate in this oppression actually do think we’re helping, but we’ve only replace the evil of discrimination with another evil that masquerades as good. Under the guise of compassion we have set up a system that destroys the family and discourages the very things that would lift the poor from poverty. Blacks who were in times past oppressed by real prejudice and thus make up a disproportionate number of the poor are now presented with the false security of the welfare state. We promote abortion and put clinics in poor neighborhoods where they live. These are the things that should anger us all and move us to demand justice.
I know that there are still problems. I know that there are still old wounds that never healed. I was humbled to speak a few years back with a coworker who can remember having to use separate water fountains and bathrooms as a little girl. I will never know what that feels like. Though I continue to believe that much of who we are and what we experience in life has to do with our own choices, I recognize that there are real problems and real feelings that I can’t fully understand. I would welcome insight from those who have been there.