Why ‘Racism’ Isn’t Wrong


In surveying the current socio-cultural landscape in America, it seems increasing numbers of individuals are either identifying as social justice activists or aspire to be one.

What began with the protestations of one individual over perceived systemic “racial” injustices being perpetrated against black people, primarily by those who occupy certain positions of authority (e.g. police officers), has morphed into a global movement with other notable athletes and celebrities remonstrating in solidarity.

Now, before I go on, I want to confess that the reason I placed the word racial in quotations above is because, unlike most social justice activists, I happen to not subscribe to the idea of “race” as an aspect of human identity. In fact, my personal perspective on the subject is more closely aligned with that of the late anthropologist Dr. Robert Wald Sussman, author of The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea who, in a 2014 Newsweek article, declared:

“What many people do not realize is that racial structure is not based on reality. Anthropologists have shown for many years now that there is no biological reality to human race. There are no major complex behaviors that directly correlate with what might be considered human “racial” characteristics. There is no inherent relationship between intelligence, law- abidingness, or economic practices and race, just as there is no relationship between nose size, height, blood group, or skin color and any set of complex human behaviors. However, over the past 500 years, we have been taught by an informal, mutually reinforcing consortium of intellectuals, politicians, statesmen, business and economic leaders and their books that human racial biology is real and that certain races are biologically better than others. These teachings have led to major injustices to Jews and non-Christians during the Spanish Inquisition; to blacks, Native Americans, and others during colonial times; to African Americans during slavery and reconstruction; to Jews and other Europeans during the reign of the Nazis in Germany; and to groups from Latin America and the Middle East, among others, during modern political times.”

Dr. Sussman is right.

And though science continues to provide the world with objective evidence to support his conclusions, it is not necessarily my intent that this blog post serve as an apologetic for Sussman’s, or anyone else’s, epistemology of race.

That said, I find it interesting, if not ironic, that many who do subscribe to the concept of race as a scientific reality, choose to engage in discourse about those who exhibit “racist” attitudes, either overtly or covertly, not from the standpoint of biology but morality.

This, in my mind, raises several questions:

Firstly, how can something whose ontological premise (race) is based solely on skin color become a matter of morality (racism)? After all, if such an attitude (racism) is simply a biological response to what is merely a product of biology (race), should not the remedy for such an attitude also be biological as opposed to moral?

Secondly, and, conversely, if in fact racism is merely a biological response to a biologically-produced attribute of humankind, then, why is racism ever “wrong”? In other words, at what point does morality supersede science?

And, lastly, by whose or what standard of morality would it be determined that racism is “wrong” and by whom?

In answering these (and other) questions, I find especially helpful the words of theologian and author, Dr. John MacArthur who, in his book Think Biblically: Recovering a Biblical Worldview, states that:

“…the doctrine of evolution (if followed consistently) ends with a denial of the reality of evil. If naturalistic evolution is correct and there is no God, neither can there be any inviolable principles that govern the universe. And therefore there is no moral accountability of any kind. In fact, if evolution is true, things are the way they are by sheer chance, for no transcendent reason. Nothing under such a system could ever have any real moral significance. The very notions of good and evil would be meaningless concepts. There would be no reason to condemn a Hitler or applaud a Good Samaritan.”

The book of Genesis records the first murder committed in human history – the premeditated taking of the life of Abel by his brother Cain. We know Cain’s actions were premeditated because prior to carrying out the actual act, God spoke directly – and specifically – to him about the attitude he was harboring in his heart toward Abel:

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it. Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against his brother and killed him.” – Gen. 4:6-8 (NASB)

Notice in the aforementioned text that Abel is twice referred to as the “brother” of Cain.

But notice also that it wasn’t for familial, relational, or genealogical reasons that God admonished him. God did not say to Cain, “It is wrong for you to murder Abel because he is your brother.” Nor did He say, “It is wrong to murder your brother because you both bleed the same color.” or “It is wrong to murder your brother because he is a man just like you.”

This is important to note because when it comes to matters of race, and race-relations, the ethno-ethos to which most people subscribe is predicated on our horizontal relationship to one another as opposed to our vertical relationship to God.

In other words, the assertion that racism is “wrong” is based primarily on the egalitarian proposition that we are created in the image of each other (imago homo) rather than in the image of God (imago Dei).

As the renown and highly-esteemed American poet, Maya Angelou, wrote:

“We love and lose in China,
we weep on England’s moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.
We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we’re the same.”

The problem with the kind ethno-moralistic relativism being espoused today by many social justice activists, is it preaches the delusive message of cura te ipsum (“physician heal thyself.”)

This mindset is why countless social justice activists are demanding a so-called “end” to racism because they believe sincerely, albeit naively, that the genesis of racism is biological (melanin) not spiritual (mindset) and, as such, that human beings inherently possess the capacity to “stop” being racist.

Which, again, begs the question: how is it that such a stabile, invariable, and constant characteristic as skin color can so affect the human heart as to result in the egregious maltreatment of others who don’t look like us?

“…and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth…” – Acts 17:26 (NASB)

The God of all the universe, in His infinite and unfathomable wisdom, created and fashioned you and me with the specific ethnic qualities we each possess.

Yes, racism is wrong, but it isn’t wrong for the reasons you think.

Racism isn’t wrong because we all bleed red.

Racism isn’t wrong because we all belong to a collective “brotherhood of man.”

Racism isn’t wrong because we all breathe the same air.

Racism isn’t wrong because of our sociological, anthropological, or biological similarities.

Racism – a word I personally loathe but will use for the sake of this commentary – is “wrong” not because you or I declare it to be so, but because it reflects a sinful heart-attitude that disavows the glory of God by deliberately harboring hateful biases toward those who, like you and I, have been created by God to reflect His image to a sin-sick world that does not know Him as Savior and Lord (Gen. 1:27; Matt. 5:13-16).

It is the objective, never-changing truth of the gospel that makes racism wrong, not the subjective, malleable ethics of mankind. So, to those who are calling for an “end” to racism, I applaud you, and I have the utmost respect for you. Nevertheless, I often wonder, do you truly understand what you’re saying when you say that? Do you have any idea what you’re really asking (Matt. 7:2)?

What you are actually demanding, whether you realize it or not, is attitudinal and behavioral perfection from every sinner who resides on this planet (yourself being one of them.) Now, consider, please, my brother and sister, how do you propose to achieve this level of collective holiness? Through more protests? More laws? More social media hashtags? More race-based or socio-economic class-based government programs that will help “level the playing field”?

You know, don’t you, that none of those is really the solution to the concerns you have? Of course you do. And the reason you know it is because you understand fully that the real problem is not the darkness of a person’s skin, but the darkness of their heart (Mk. 7:17-23).

You don’t end racism.

You repent of it.

Like any other sin.

Humbly in Christ,

Darrell

Image credit: galleryhip.com

13 thoughts on “Why ‘Racism’ Isn’t Wrong

  1. Great perspective. Thank you brother.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amanda O'Bryan 25 Oct 2017 — 1:19 PM

    Oh my goodness! I love the way you word things! This is so true, so clear, so perfect for these times! I have asked myself, so often, why? Why is racism so prevelant today? Why is it all we hear about in the news? The answer is that so many are rejecting God in every aspect of society and on every continent! Unless we frame our lives with Gods word and with the heart and head knowledge that we are His creation (everything is His creation), we will never respect or love each other. Oh! Come children and drink The Living Water!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved your understanding on this subject, of which is becoming more prevalent. Even though it has always been a persistent problem around the world, you have shed light onto something that has had light shed on it before, to the extent that people have become blind to.
    You are also alluding to something that I align with and has been spoken about for some time, and that is: “you can not legislate morality!”
    Wish we could, that would take on the sin problem as well. Not gonna happen.
    Thank you Brother Darrell, for sharing what God has given you, that others might have their eyes opened; even a little bit opened!
    Keep on for Jesus………

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patricia Amey 25 Oct 2017 — 2:36 PM

    AMEN! THIS my Brother, is the TRUTH, whole TRUTH, and nothing but the TRUTH! This encouraged me as a Believer that there is STILL a remnant in Christ that can discern straight up Sin from social issues and speak out BOLDLY against it! Keep holding up the banner of Christ and SOUND BIBLICAL teaching!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brother Darrell, You are going to be hated by some who have read the title of this essay, and nothing more. You are going to be hated by some who have read and yet do not quite get the points you make. And you are going to be hated by some who read, and understand, and yet still burn because you undercut some of what they are basing their lives and beliefs on.

    So please allow me to say I agree completely with you, and they can hate me too.

    I’m also going to say, while I sincerely believe it is wrong to judge or hate someone because of their appearance and so forth, I judge young men who wear their caps backwards and their jeans too low; I judge men my age who have beards to their chests and long hair; I judge women who look as if they are maxing out their credit cards to look like they/their husbands are millionaires; I judge young women who wear those “fashionable” torn jeans. Can’t seem to help it. I’m human, we all are.
    But greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world, and I can do all things who Christ who strengthens me. Praise God!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you, Darrell, for speaking some biblical sanity back into this whole issue. It does, indeed, seem that even well-meaning Christians have lost sight of the real problem, and have,
    Therefore, lost hold of the real hope – the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I wish everybody could read this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish everybody would read this!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. There are two Biblical reasons why racism is wrong. You got the first reason. The other reason is because racism is a denial of the Total Depravity of mankind. As Paul writes, “For I have already charged that all, both Jew and Greek, are under sin.” Racism is wrong on this front because the racist must assume that he is somehow less depraved than his fellow sinner, and, conversely, that the other sinner from a different race is more depraved than is the racist.

    How arrogant. Total Depravity is the great equalizer for every single person in mankind’s fallen state.

    Hence, a double admonition to heed Darrell’s EXCELLENT closing thought: “You don’t end racism. You repent of it.”

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Déborah L'Abeille 4 Nov 2017 — 5:08 PM

    Having been on the Left, I can testify first-hand to the hollow and unsatisfying nature of Marxist oppression theories. Ever since returning to faith and rereading the Jewish Bible, I found a far more satisfying groundwork upon which to base my belief in justice. And that starts with the idea of a just God.

    Liked by 1 person

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