Race in America

08.05.09 | Comments[0]

BioElizabethW  Race relations in America- the most talked about topic in our nation. The old adage of seeing things in either black or white seems ironic in today’s society as we appear to be living in a time with a heightened awareness to the color of one’s skin and the actions of others. I don’t believe it’s an awareness that has ever disappeared following the Civil Rights Movement—it’s just an issue we stopped talking about. In the last year, due to the election of our first African-American President, the issue of race has come back into the limelight and seems to be the center of every media story. The most recent is the famous story of the Harvard Professor arrested by the Cambridge police officer for what was thought to be a home break-in but was later considered to be racial profiling. This case still seems rather bizarre to me; I have multiple unanswered questions that would go a long way in helping my own opinions be clarified on how much of a race issue this really is or if it’s more an issue of a civil servant making a tough call.

However, I am glad this unfortunate scenario occurred because it allows us to stop and take a deep look into the real issue at hand: Do we still judge by the color of skin or rather by the content of character? The color of your skin should not be relevant in today’s day in age- it should not make you more qualified or less qualified for a job, it should not make you more likely or less likely to commit a crime, and it should not make you more likely or less likely to succeed in life. That being said I am not naïve enough or innocent enough to believe skin color is totally irrelevant today. Sadly, it’s not. We still live in a time where racism, prejudicial behavior, and bigotry exist.

To add fuel to the existing fire, the media and public have become crazed with trying to find the “racial undertones” to every comment and situation… sometimes adding tensions in situations aren’t racially charged. I believe racism, bigotry, and prejudice are wrong and hurtful, but I also believe trying to invoke those tags or feelings is wrong. A white policeman arresting a black professor is not always a case of racism and it should not be automatically assumed or believed to be.

I am not here to say if the case of the Professor and the Policeman was racially motivated or not because I don’t know. I can’t read minds and I don’t know hearts. What I do know is that rather than casting judgment and aligning ourselves in one of the victim’s camp, we should use this opportunity to ask the question: Why is skin color still such a big deal? By continually accusing or instigating the issue of racism are we helping racing awareness or rather perpetuating the cycle? How can we truly guard against the effects of racism? Can we take preventative steps through education and mind shift to keep hate crimes from happening? Racism isn’t an issue that will ever be resolved in this lifetime but I still believe it’s something we should and need to work hard to eradicate or at least, diminish. It’s a process starting with a mindset change- one that looks passed the outward appearance and sees a person’s heart and soul, not their skin. It is the call of Christ for all of us to love our brothers and sisters for who they are in His eyes, and in His image. Don’t you agree?

 

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