Race Is Now the Elephant in the Room Even When There Is No Elephant
We are in real danger of doing deep, lasting damage to the very fabric of our nation by making everything into an issue of race. In fact, the more we blame every problem on race, the deeper our race problems will get. We will see things that are not there. We will misdiagnose the symptoms. We will overcompensate. We will make things worse.
In the end, we will deepen the divides that do exist and create new divides where they do not exist. And rather than foster reconciliation, healing, unity, and progress, we will produce bitterness, resentment, anger, and condemnation. We will go backward rather than forwards, all in the name of justice and equality.
Yet every day, from our children’s schools to the popular culture, a false and dangerous narrative is being pushed. We either confront it, or we implode.
Mary Margaret Olohan stated concisely that, “CRT holds that America is fundamentally racist, yet it teaches people to view every social interaction and person in terms of race.”
If someone is rude to you, it’s because of race.
If you get fired and another person gets hired, it’s because of race.
If you get sick and your neighbor doesn’t, it’s because of race.
If you get a poor grade in school, it’s because of race.
That’s because everything is about race and America is fundamentally racist.
If you are white you are guilty by default; if you are a person of color (especially black) you are a victim.
That is now the lens through which everything must be seen. That is the filter through which everything must be interpreted. That’s why I said that soon enough, we are seeing things that are not there.
Consequently, since many things have nothing to do with race, yet we are told that everything has to do with race, we end up ignoring the real issues that are race-related. And so, rather than focusing on valid concerns (which do exist), we create new (and non-existent) areas of concern. We regress rather than progress.
When we claim that math is racist and grammar is racist and reading classical literature is racist, we actually create racial tension, as many push back against this crazy social engineering.
When we pull the race card unless there is equality of outcome, we exacerbate the victim mentality.
And when we put a constant emphasis on the color of people’s skin that becomes the main thing we think about. Ironically, this leads to the exact opposite of Dr. King’s dream that his four little children would one day “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Today, we’re doing the exact opposite, putting the greater emphasis on the color of one’s skin, as if skin color were more determinative of a person’s character and potential than what is inside of them.
And when we constantly make everything into a matter of race, then race becomes the first – and primary – thing we see.
It’s like telling someone you’ll give them $1,000 if they don’t think about pink elephants for an hour. You’ll never have to pay the bet since they’ll constantly think about pink elephants for the next hour.
Right now, I’m in Tupelo, Mississippi speaking at a marriage and family conference hosted by the American Family Association. And the conference has a great ethnic mix, with people of different colors joining together around common spiritual interests.
We are focused on Jesus, on the Scriptures, on God’s plan for marriage, on holy sexuality, on raising godly kids in a godless culture. And there is a great feeling of unity in the air.
In an environment like this, we could have candid discussions about race relationships in America. We could share different perspectives on what we see as the most important priorities for healing our nation. We could give each other license to speak candidly, eager to see if we had blind spots.
That’s because we would be starting from a position of unity, of love, of oneness in the Lord.
But if race had been the focus, with the presupposition that America is fundamentally racist, there would be suspicion. And mistrust. And anger. And resentment. And finger-pointing. And self-loathing.
Rather than viewing each other as part of the same family, we could divide over race and ethnicity. Division, not unity, would be our starting point.
I recently hosted sports commentator Chris Broussard on my radio show, but not to talk sports (although he indulged me by answering a few sports questions at the outset, just for fun). Instead, I asked him to join me on the air as a Christian leader with an important Christian men’s ministry.
Specifically, I asked him to present his ideas on a biblical case for reparations, not as a penalty but in pursuit of righteousness.
To be sure, there are few subjects more controversial than this. And I said plainly at the start of our conversation that, in the past, I associated reparations with the radical left rather than with the Bible.
Yet we could have this discussion openly and honestly because of our unity in Jesus and because of our mutual respect for one another in the Lord. That was our starting point.
In the same way, it is only by recognizing that America today is not fundamentally racist and that most Americans want to see an equal playing field for others that we can make progress where we need to.
It is by starting here, with the understanding that I care about people who are different than me, that we can have the difficult conversations we need to have and address the real issues of concern.
Otherwise, we will end up chasing phantoms and demonizing good people. And by making everything into a matter of race, will end up creating a much worse, much more dangerous racism.
America, what will it be? We will unify and make progress together? Or will we deepen the divide?