Yesterday, you may recall that we discussed how all races have at one time been victims of oppression. The pages of history are positively bursting of sad examples to this end. Using Michael Eric Dyson’s explanation, since a person cannot be racist if that person is part of “the oppressed” . . . then by definition racist feet have never once set foot on this planet.
So . . . racism doesn’t exist?
Then what, pray, do we call those in Japan who refer to anyone outside the Japanese culture as “Ganga,” a derogatory term for the same? Equally in that thread is “Gringo,” a derogatory Spanish term for white Americans, just as “spic” is used to refer to Mexicans.
Tell that to the Jews living in Jerusalem upon whom Palestinian bombs fall daily.
Tell that to the Chinese, who intra-racially discriminate against those in their own culture whose eyes are a different shape, and to the Native Africans who were sold into slavery to the Europeans by members of neighboring tribes.
Tell that to the victims of the notoriously heinous Salvadoran “Mara Salvatrucha” gang, or MS-13, who would be pleased to know that racism doesn’t exist; as would the family members of British soldier Lee Rigby, who was beheaded in the streets of London by Islamic radicals Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo.
Tell that to the masses of early European immigrants to this country—to the Irish immigrants, for example, whom many non-Catholic immigrants referred to as “Micks” out of disdain for their practice of Catholicism, or to the Polish immigrants, whom the Italian immigrants referred to contemptuously as “Pollocks.”
Tell that to the family of Chris Lane, the Australian student gunned down by James Edwards and two other “bored” friends.
Racism is a sinful human quality . . . not a tendency held by only one race. “Human nature dictates that we’re all a little bigoted and narrow-minded, even if it is against members of our own group,” writes CNN’s Ruben Navarrette Jr., “It’s easy to believe some stereotypes, or to think of some people as inferior to others. And being the member of a minority group doesn’t make you immune to those impulses.”
Interestingly enough, when in his podcast Michael Eric Dyson explains why he “hangs with black folk all the time” . . . he summarily displays the very charge he attempts to place on the white population alone. In other words, to suggest that black Americans cannot exhibit racist tendencies suggests that he believes that his race is superior. What is the belief that your race possesses qualities superior to others? Racism.
The next time you, or someone you know raises a hand to claim some kind of justification for behavior that is, indeed, racist . . . consider Corrie Ten Boom. Though not Jewish, her Dutch family paid the price for helping the undesirables in their Nazi-run society. By virtue of her capture and mistreatment by the Nazis (and according to Dyson’s definition of racism), she would have had every right to hate her captors, and propagate such a sentiment to her family, friends, and her fellow countrymen. By human standards, she would have had every right to continue picking the wound of what anyone would agree was a terrible fate. She’d have every right to “knock off” some Germans, as would victims of the notoriously racist Jim Crow south, and its enforcers, the KKK would seemingly have every right to “knock off” (as James Edwards put it) some “woods.”
Some years after her release, Ten Boom was again face to face with one of the worst guards in the concentration camp where she’d been. Ten Boom had been giving a talk on forgiveness, and this former guard (who had since become a Christian) approached her to . . . beg for her forgiveness.
Unlike racism, which is part of a set of deplorable base human tendencies, forgiveness is “an act of the will.” It’s not hard to be racist. It is, however, extremely hard to forgive it.
As she stood there trying to force herself to take this former guard’s outstretched hand, she prayed, “’Jesus, help me!’ . . . ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’ And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust out my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.”
Imagine for a moment if the murderers of African Americans like Martin Luther King Jr. or young Emmett Till were to have come forward to beg the families’ forgiveness. Imagine how every fiber of their human beings would be screaming at them to reject the murderers’ sorrowful plea . . . imagine how hard it would be to take their hands. Our human natures would dictate that they’d have every right to kill THEM on the spot. Racism, and the violence it often incites, is hard to forgive.
The New York Times recently reported that, per a Pew Research Poll, “Fewer than one in three black Americans and not even half of whites say the United States has made ‘a lot’ of progress toward achieving racial equality in the half-century since the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared he had ‘a dream’ that one day freedom, justice and brotherhood would prevail and that his children would ‘not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.’”
You want MLK’s dream? We’re all going to have to walk the walk. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. No asterisks; no conditions. Can you imagine if God’s message of forgiveness had come with an asterisk? “For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever* believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
(*except for those dirty rotten scumbags who beat me to within an inch of my life, nailed me to the cross and shoved a spear in my side. . .)
Does racism still exist? Of course. Is racism justification to be a racist yourself? NEVER. Does our government have laws to protect people against racist behavior? Now it does. Is that an excuse to simply become a dependent part of our nation? It had better not, or the actual condition of the purposeless life outside of revenge, hatred, and racism in all its forms will never change in the African American community.
Finally, instead of justifying racism, we must—as a human race—recognize that we’re all capable of this terribly trait. Instead of repaying racism with racism, pull a Corrie Ten Boom and instead, bestow forgiveness on those who have done you ill . . . not more evil. Emulate Martin Luther King Jr., not Michael Eric Dyson.