June 16, 2005

Bigotry in the suburbs

Yesterday my son, who just turned 15, experienced the racist attitudes of one of our white complacent citizens.

We are a 'white' family living in a mostly 'white' suburb. In reality, most of us are descendants of European immigrants. One of the things I miss about my native town of San Diego is the cultural diversity. I miss the music, foods, smells, celebrations, and traditions of the peoples of San Diego. I think this is why I dig all the cultural festivals in the metro city I'm near.

Missing the cultural experience is one reason why I kept 2 of my 3 oldest in a city schools as part of the district transfer when we moved to our suburb. One those 2 is now in the local school & enjoys friends of all backgrounds due to the 220 program. If a white child in the suburbs wants to go to a citywide school they have to apply for a special district transfer, and vice versa for a black student wanting to attend a suburban school.

One of my children is still in a that citywide school, and I just LOVE seeing all the little faces of children from different ethnicities. The small metro city I live near is home of a gazillion festivals, most of which are meant to celebrate a wide variety tribes and tongues & we go to as many as we can. My oldest son's favorite is Asian moon fest. I'm partial to Irish fest, being of Irish descent. There's a fest for everyone.

My children have been exposed to racist attitudes, jokes, & stereotypes through other kids, the media, but nothing really personally. When my son was skating around town yesterday a grouchy woman did the predictable and threatened to call the police. When he informed her that they had just talked to the police and their skating up the sidewalk was perfectly legal she was even more predictable by getting nasty & carrying on about "no good skaters". He told her they weren't criminals, dope pushers, axe murderers, or hoodlums & she was being paranoid. They just want to skate on the sidewalk & they aren't hurting anyone in doing so.

My son and a few other boys also happened to mention that if members of the village would vote YES to the purposed skate park, she would see a lot less of them skating by her store. Her reply was, "then we'd get more blacks coming in here."

My son was quite annoyed by this point & even more so by her statement. He informed her that he knew of very few African American skaters in the area, and even still, so what? I also wonder. So what? So, what if more black kids came into our town? And the problem is?

Sadly, I know that such attitudes also exist in the Church. I've heard the belief that black people are a result of a curse on Ham, that they are related to "ape men" of evolutionary beliefs, and that interracial marriage is forbidden. (wrong, the Bible instructs to not marry into a different faith)

Not true, not true, not true. In fact, how can we marry interracially, when humans marry humans? I never understood this as a child, and I was so glad to learn I wasn't the only one when I stumbled across a website a few years ago called
Answers In Genesis. They've done quite a bit to help in racial reconcilation, dispelling myths, ignorance, and bigotry. AiG has put together a great section called racism questions and answers. There's some good stuff to be read there.

I implore us all to remember that we're one race. The human race. We may have different shades of melanin, hair color, eye color, and physical characteristics, but we can all be traced back to one man and one woman. We're one blood. Through Adam, God made all the nations. (Acts 17: 24-26) I believe that today's tribes also come from a man named Noah & his family.

Oh how I want to know why do we still have so much hate and fear alive and kicking in today's world? In today's churches?

Racism is wrong. Period. I'm especially sick to see racism & bigotry in Christians. We need to purge racist thinking from our hearts, minds, and churches. If we think we our "race" is somehow better then someone else's, let us remember God's word.

Colossians 3:
11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Let us also remember what the greatest commandments are.

Matthew 22: 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Now, there is some powerful truth. So who is your neighbor?

Everyone is your neighbor. Every man, woman, and child, of every race, creed, and religion.