Race relations, part 2: What are the “solutions” rooted in?

What does “racial reconciliation” look like?” Is it just a shorthand, high-sounding platitude that masks revenge or reverse oppression, or does it represent a true and honest attitude towards achieving God’s design for harmony in human relations?

I am going to start by citing an example of the WRONG WAY to approach racial reconciliation, chromosome/melanin “diversity”.  A leading Christian University, Biola, fired a white male long term exemplary employee for his chromosomes–XY–and low melanin content–caucasian level–and replaced him with a less experienced, less qualified person with a more acceptable chromosome pattern–XX–and the “proper” attitude towards melanin content, though if her melanin was greater she would have been even more welcome! biola controversy

For her doctoral studies, Deborah Taylor had conducted a racial and ethnic diversity related study of six “predominately white” Christian universities in California, including Biola University, in 2007. She interviewed faculty members about their views concerning university commitment to diversity, minority students’ experiences and their strategies when teaching students of color. Some noteworthy snippets from Taylor’s dissertation:

  • “One of the greatest powers associated with white privilege is the enjoyment of a number of unearned advantages without even recognizing or acknowledging them … Because white privilege gives White individuals the choice to ignore or engage in racial issues, perceiving its presence and understanding its implications is often difficult for White people …” (citations Page 43).
  • “First, inaccurate beliefs about diversity and cultural differences are prevalent on university campuses, and confronting these beliefs can be quite uncomfortable … Second, researchers advised that a cognitive understanding of diversity is not enough; people must experience a real change in their affective attitudes and beliefs in order for diversity initiatives (i.e. chromosome melanin–italics mine) and programs to succeed … Finally, the literature clearly indicated that changing these attitudes and beliefs among White faculty will require leading them through a process of white identity development and examination of white privilege” (citations Page 78).
  • “Although many of the current racial problems in contemporary society are rooted in painful memories of historical oppression, White evangelicals have difficulty seeing the significance of these historical factors in shaping current diversity issues … While people of color experience daily reminders of the impact of race on their efforts to succeed in American society, it seems particularly difficult for White Christians to understand the dynamics and implications of race” (citations Page 83).
  • “Due to a surprising level of ignorance regarding structural inequalities, White faculty are prone to see students of color as being individually unprepared, rather than seeing this as a societal issue of inferior school systems within many ethnic communities. (this is the one I have the most problem with–can you see Ben Carson or Thomas Sowell or Clarence Thomas or Booker T. Washington using this excuse? Mr. Washington was born a slave! Here are his own words BTW society) As a result, when a predominantly white Christian university makes a commitment to recruiting a more diverse student body, the faculty often view this as lowering the academic standards of the institution” (citations Page 67).
  • “In order for faculty at evangelical Christian institutions to fully embrace both relational and institutional change, this study confirms … that developing culturally competent faculty must be rooted in scriptural framework for diversity, racial reconciliation, and justice” (citations Page 238).

LET’S HEAR IT FOR “SCRIPTURAL FRAMEWORK. If she really believed that, she would have stood up for Dan Paschall, the guy she replaced! Three passages from the Gospels are more than sufficient to demonstrate the scriptural framework.

Matthew 5:43: You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Matthew 22:33: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

John 13:1: Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”

What we need in this country, this world, our communities, schools and churches is more humility and less superficial and false narratives. mr. rogers feet