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Aug
18

That’s racist!

By

Author’s Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of CWAHM, the spectacular editor and counselor Jill Hart, or evangelical Christians.  As always, I encourage/invite you to appropriately comment or start a dialog if you are offended by this topic or by the opinions contained within . . .

globeRecently I’ve noticed that the teenage kids in our neighborhood have started joking about being racist.

At first I was shocked to hear, “that’s racist” used in conversation.  Then, to hear the context, made me laugh.  Everything involving color, or shade, is ‘racist.’  You have a black (that’s racist) dog?  I got some new black shoes – that’s racist.  My oatmeal turned a dark color – don’t be racist.  It is the natural result of their public school education and having the focus be on a hyper-awareness to being racially appropriate to people of Negroid decent.

It probably sounds awkward (even . . . “racist?”) for me to say ‘Negroid,’ but I actually have to differentiate between the group of United States citizens coming from African lineage with dark pigment when it comes to this trend in school.  There are all kinds of ‘color’ pigment and racial background at my kid’s school.   We live in Florida, so there are a LOT of ethnicities represented.

The idea of ‘multicultural’ (many cultures) is much different than my small town where I grew up in Indiana; there were maybe . . . 3 . . . ethnicities represented in the school I attended; and that’s counting Amish.  But Florida aside, we live in a much smaller world than I did growing up in the 80’s.  People would have to live under a rock, or, in certain areas of Tennessee or South Carolina to never see a person of non-white color.  And that was only said in humor, I’m sure people in Tennessee and South Carolina get internet and TV.  The point is, that the Unites States is OBVIOUSLY diverse and truly a ‘melting pot’ of different ethnicities.

Back to my kids.  They have black kids at their school, but a high percentage of students are Hispanic, or from the Caribbean, or Asian.  Florida is a melting pot of racial backgrounds.  There is a percentage of dark skinned kids that don’t consider themselves black.  Kids from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Trinidad or other nearby islands don’t want to be considered part of ‘black culture.’  One of the students that has ‘hung out’ at our house, is from England, and he doesn’t like to be called black; it makes him angry, even though his skin is darker than most of the kids I see with African descent.

But there is a hyper focus on race in the media, and kids pay attention to media.  Combine that, with the hyper sensitivity to racial issues taught in school, and you get everything being ‘racist.’

So, what is a dad to do about this issue?  We may not be able to solve racism for the world, but being grounded in multicultural diversity is definitely within our grasp.

Don’t condone racism:  Neo-Nazis, the KKK, Beyoncé’s pro Black Panther tributes, telling racist jokes, riots, racial slurs in song lyrics,  — all need to be called out to your kids, exposed, and condemned as a sinful act.  By the way, jokes that disparage another race = bad.  Jokes that point out the difference in racial culture = ok.  For instance, did you know that if you look in the bathroom mirror and say “Pumpkin Spice Latte” three times, a white girl in yoga pants will appear and offer you a Starbucks coffee?

It’s a fine line, but basically anything that puts down another person’s race . . is racist.

Celebrate Diversity! – God made all the people and races of the world.  Everyone is unique and special on purpose.  The fact that some of my friends look different than I do; is good.  Learn about other cultures and share those experiences with your kids.  Ask appropriate questions.   Experience different languages.  It’s a great way to promote racial understanding, and it really helps them as they grow to participate in global understanding since our world is becoming more and more digitally connected.

Don’t lock-step to “African American History Month.” It really seems unfair to focus on one racial background and neglect the rainbow of other ethnicities represented in the U.S.  The result seems to be that black ethnicity then becomes a joke.  Racism then becomes a disrespect for ethnicities; exactly the opposite of what the forefathers of racial equality envisioned.

As a dad, I suggest augmenting the school curriculum that only focuses on one ethnic group, with some information on other ethnic groups.  Or possibly highlighting the times African Americans were included and treated equally in history.  However, don’t forget to learn about Harriet Tubman; she was pretty amazing…

Know the Biblical background on racial diversity.  When I was a kid, no joke; I would hear people try to use Biblical justification for racism and bigotry.  I once heard an adult point to Scripture where Cain was “marked” for killing his brother (Genesis 4:15) and supposedly fathered all dark skinned people of the world. (And, of course, the mark had to be black, right?  Dark skinned people of Mesopotamia wouldn’t get a ‘white’ mark . . )  Or, possibly even worse was the time I heard an adult use Ham being a “slave” for looking at his naked father (Genesis 9) as a justification for slavery (and, to make that ridiculousness work, Ham also had to have dark skin . . . as opposed to his brothers).  I’ve also heard adults justify prejudice against mixed marriages or people using Old Testament references to associating with foreign nations (passages that were taken waaaaaay out of context).

Biblically, God spread out people by making them different so that they wouldn’t be so prideful to think they could compete with God.

Genesis 11: So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.

And in the Gospels, God seriously smacks down prejudice by the well-known story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.  There are others, but those are the ones you should know to be able to share with your kids.

Don’t buy into the media.  I met with a guy not very long ago that was very incensed with how police were mistreating the residents of Ferguson, MO and the resulting riots there.  The media sure made it seem like racial minorities of that area were rising up en masse to protest the police.  However, a little research behind the news shows that rioters were bussed in from other areas and that the whole fiasco was financed by a European . . .  yes, a ‘white’ European.

Lately the news outlets are full of situations like these.  People don’t realize that murders and violence statistically are less than they were in subsequent years.  However the media makes the most money when there is controversy and tragedy.   Teach your kids to look behind the “news” into the truth.

Look to your leaders.  I pointed out earlier that Jesus was a champion of diversity, and he struck an eternal blow to prejudice by just telling a story.  He didn’t revolt, riot, burn down buildings, and the only thing he disparaged, was pride.  I have a great respect for other leaders that enact great change while following in the example of Christ.  Martin Luther King Jr is one such leader.  Nelson Mandela is another.  Gandhi is another.  Chief Joseph is another.  The world needs more leaders who embody the Scripture “overcome evil with good.”  People you see in the news recently do not follow such principles.

Don’t try to solve society.  It’s easy to get angry and take a global view of racial issues.  But very few of us are in positions to change the mindset of city officials or correct all the ills of society.  What we can do is to vote our beliefs.  We can teach our kids to be aware of the world, pursuing truth, and to be loving of all races.  And, of course, we can set the example as leaders in the world for following the leadership of Christ.

I invite you again to comment or e-mail if you agree/disagree.  That’s another thing that makes the U.S. great: freedom of speech.

Also, I saw someone post a little snippet from an interview with Morgan Freeman the other day.  It echoes much of what I wrote above, and, it’s Morgan Freeman!  Here it is:  https://youtu.be/GeixtYS-P3s

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brad Washburn is a father, husband, and Director of a Christian counseling center in Tampa, Florida. He has helped hundreds of people over the last 15 years. In particular, he desires to see fathers be “men after God’s own heart” — a description of King David in the Bible who was a lover, fighter, sheep herder, and harp player . . .

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