I have to confess I was deeply disturbed by President Obama weighing in on the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case yesterday (July 19, 2013). In case you missed it, the President made an unannounced appearance at a White House press meeting, and spent time speaking about the case that has captivated our country for the past several months. And to be entirely honest, it wasn't the President's remarks alone that set me off. I've been concerned for a long time about how our culture addresses matters of color, inequality and racism itself.
The President said yesterday that the challenge of racism is becoming less of a problem. Really! I'm sorry Mr. President...I just don't see it. If the Martin/Zimmerman case is any barometer, issues of racism and racial profiling are just as serious as they've ever been—if not more serious. If racism were truly on the decrease in our country, we would have seen this case addressed simply for what it was: a tragic altercation between two men. The fact that Mr. Zimmerman was of Hispanic descent and that Trayvon was African-American wouldn't have even been mentioned. But the Media got a hold of the racial element and played it for all it was worth. (Or should I say, "Played us? I appreciate the comments made by Charles Barkley in an interview when he said: "I don't like when [racism] gets out there in the media...'cause I don't think the media has clean hands." I couldn't agree more!)
Do you remember John Lennon's famous song Imagine? In it, he wondered what the world would be like without the things he considered to be polarizing in society. He attacked religion, national borders and materialism as the great evils separating mankind. But what about color? Doesn't that continue to be the quintessential dividing line between people in the world? Why didn't John sing: "Imagine there's no concern over skin color..." ?
Let's look at two powerful words that are used in this ongoing discussion: color and race.
What Color Are You?
Today we talk about black people, and white people, and people of color. And all the while I'm thinking, Wait a minute! Are you seeing something I don't see? I am technically classified as a "Caucasian" but when I look in the mirror, I do not see the color white. What do we see when we look in the mirror? The answer is given us by Ken Ham in a recent article where he wrote:
"...science confirms that everyone is the same basic skin color—the main pigment is a brown pigment called melanin. There are no 'white' people or 'black' people—there are people with differing shades of the one basic color."
Wow!! Imagine that! We're all the same color—just different shades.
What Race Are You?
It's funny that when you're filling out some kind of form asking about your "race" there's no option for human. Because we are all part of the human race. Sure there are different ethnic flavors...but regardless of your particular ethnicity, you are still a biological member of the human race.
Isn't that interesting? The two words that cause so much trouble in our culture—color and race—really aren't a problem at all—since we're all members of the same race with different shades of the same skin color. And yet the world would have us believe the best way to fight racism is to highlight those differences. But have you ever had a problem actually get better by focusing on it?
The only way to truly combat the issues of racism and ethnic inequality is to understand man's origin from the standpoint of God's Word. Acts 17:26 (NIV) says: From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth...That means no matter what particular shade of the same color that you happen to wear on your skin, we are all created by God and are descendants of the same parentage.
No superiority—no inferiority—just people.
Focusing on that truth is what will truly set us free.