What Is Race?
I want to ask some questions of you that no believer or nonbeliever has been able to answer for me.
Why am I called black if my skin is brown?
From Negro, to Black, to African American, to People of Color. Why has no one polled me on what I want to be called?
Why do we say African American but not European American?
Why are white and black people given colors, but Asians are named after a continent?
Doesn’t Hispanic mean Spanish speaking? If someone speaks Portuguese, what are they?
Why is ‘people of color’ appropriate, but not ‘colored people’?
If a white person goes to Asia, do they become a person of color?
An Asian person’s skin is closer in hue to a white person, so why are they called people of color?
I’m not surprised racism continues to be a hot topic in American society every few years. Our obsession with race should make the aforementioned questions easy to answer. Should. Though the reality is that we as people are more prone to complain than we are to seek understanding or gratitude (Exodus 16:1-3). Even Cain and Abel found themselves to be two divided men, and there were fewer people on Earth back then. Today there are over 7.8 billion people. With so many people, there are so many more reasons for hate, discrimination, abuse, and other sins. And we have all played our part in something (Romans 8:28).
With mankind’s tendency to not only disobey God, but seek division, we must make an effort to find unity through seeking the truth. The truth is that racism will never end, so long as there are people with different doses of melanin. More profound – the truth is that race does not exist.
See, there is only one race – humans. Acknowledging different races is equivalent to acknowledging humans existing alongside elves, orcs, or fairies. Such an idea sounds like the world of a fantasy book. Race is a fantasy, a political concept that is not based in reality but on the human nature of sin.
The American Association of Anthropology and the American Association of Physical Anthropologists have reported on the social concept of race and mapped the concept’s origin to the 18th Century. Race was an ideology that was created during the colonization of America as part of the Great Chain of Being. This mode of thinking rationalized how settlers treated African slaves and Native Americans. Simply put, racism did not breed slavery. Slavery bred racism. In order to continue to treat an entire group of people inhumanely, settlers had to believe that these other humans were anything but humane.
Sadly, the idea of race did not die with slavery. People of all complexions still cling to their proverbial race cards. In the church, too, the ideology of race has taken firm root. Unsurprisingly, the divisions between people continue to exist because we keep acknowledging our skin-deep differences.
There is no white race, black race, or any other variation of human races. We have no difference in blood or bone structure, no matter our skin color. The differences we witness in eye shape, eye color, height, hair texture, and more, are a result of diet, climate, genetics. Not because there are different races.
As I have stated before, either we are all people of color, or none of us are. Racism is not an issue of the church or one country in particular. Racism is an issue of the human heart, but there is a solution, a change we can bring about within ourselves. This change begins with a four-letter word called love.