Monday, January 27, 2014


What I'm about to say is not said to shame, condemn or even fix anyone. It is an observation of mine that I hope is REALLY spoken in love because I am a bit disturbed by it. But I do, however, want to give some evidence that racial bias/prejudice/elitism may not be far from the minds of many, including many of us as Kingdom kids, unfortunately. Yet I'm just as sure that this charge would be denied by most of us at first glance. Someone may think this to be a small thing, but racism is NEVER a small thing in my opinion. 

My evidence is simply a challenge offered to each of us to think about this question the next time we use the descriptive word "black" in a statement about ANY person of African-American ethnicity___"Would I use the word 'white' were I speaking about ANOTHER person in this way were they Anglo-American instead of African-American?"___The test could use any ethnicity as an illustration, Chinese American, American Indian, etc. 

For example, when speaking of a groomsman or a bridesmaid you saw at a wedding that you are describing to a friend, would you identify one who was African-American [black] as "a black groomsman" or "a black bridesmaid" when just casually speaking about him or her to someone else?

Then, my question is, would you ALSO identify either one as Anglo-American [white] when just casually speaking about him or her to someone else? Why not? Why do we think of identifying one [black] by their skin color but not the other? [White] This illustration would hold true for the reverse as well, since racism is not the sole prerogative of the white race.

Could it be a latent, but real, embedded racism/prejudice/elitism that we deny and maybe even wish wasn't there? 

No one is saying that skin color of any shade is not something to be proud of as a part of that particular ethnicity. It is, in fact, something about which we can be proud whatever our color. It just need not be at the expense of others being depreciated with a continual reference to skin color when there is no need for it being referenced at all. That may reveal the subject of the post without our realizing it, if I'm correct in my observation.

[I'm sure it's rather obvious no one is speaking about a police call giving a description of a crime suspect or other pertinent exceptions.

I for one, believe that in true Kingdom living ["Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."] we Kingdom kids are to rise above this with regards to race, gender, or social status and when we do, it will EVIDENCE a major change of our heart by grace as we relate to our culture in a truly non-racially biased or elitist manner. I believe this to be true whether one is white, black, red, or yellow. And remember what I said earlier. For me, racism of any nature is NEVER a small thing.

May it be a work of the Spirit in me first!

Paul B. 


Victorious said...

hmmm...I'll have to think about this for a bit. Off the top of my head, I see using the word black as an identifier much the same way one might say "the redhead" or the guy whose "bald"; the person on crutches; or that woman wearing a Islamic veil. It's nothing more than an identifier and not necessarily a signal of racism.

But as I say, I'll put some more thought to the possibility of an indicator of racial bias.

Thanks for making me think, Paul!

Paul Burleson said...


Thanks again for reading AND commenting.

I would agree with your thought except for two things.

One__ There has never been a civil war fought [I know you know this] over redheads or bald guys.

This sounds a little silly, but this DOES give us a history that, to my way of thinking, will never permit racism to be thought about as other non-issues.

Interestingly, My wife and I were hired as "extras" yesterday in a movie being shot here in Oklahoma and our scenes were the Lincoln/Douglas debate over African-American citizenship and whether or not "All men are created equal" was intended by the Framers of the Constitution to MEAN only white people [The position of Douglas] or include black people. [Lincoln's position] It's probably the catalyst for my post this morning.

Two__From the point of view of a person who IS black, it will be more likely understood than from the one who is white. This is probably because of the lack of whites experiencing negativism created against them as has been done historically by whites against blacks in our country.

In other words, it may be like not asking a single man or woman for views about having children, since what they have to offer is limited.

You're also right that it's good to think and talk about it. Thanks for joining me in the discussion.

Aussie John said...


"racism is NEVER a small thing in my opinion".

That is a truism to which I also adhere!

Rather interestingly, having grown up with many of our indigenous people as close friends; a relationship in which neither my friends or I, and several other "whites" never "saw" a difference in appearance.

It wasn't until I was in my late teens that I became aware of the differences, interestingly, via the visit to our indigenous communities, of some of your countrymen, who identified themselves as "Black Power" representatives.

Soon after, I became aware that most of my "black" friends were very cool towards me; indeed, seemed embarrassed by mine and other "white fellers" presence.

My own observations cause me to believe this distinction, although decried by many, is now regarded as a matter of tribalism, with some, on both sides of the discussion, and for reasons not relevent here,fervently wanting to maintain as the status quo.

For what it is worth, the Body of Christ is color blind, and needs to understand this is a matter of reaching out to individuals, sharing the good news and making disciples (as opposed to simply making converts).

Remember the song we taught our children:
Jesus loves the little children, All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,All are precious in His sight?

There is a funny side to this: There were two aboriginal men with whom I spent a lot of time doing manual work; Tom and Cyril. On a particularly hot and humid day, Cyril said to me,"You white fellers think us black blokes stink". Then, with an enormous grin, "Us black fellers think you white blokes stink; really terrible".

We three,Adamic descendants, on this hot and humid day, had B.O. (body odor), the great leveller and identifier of humans :)

Victorious said...

From the point of view of a person who IS black, it will be more likely understood than from the one who is white.

I can relate to your post on the basis of being female. I can relate more to black persons than to a white male. I understand the sense of entitlement some have based on race, ethnicity, and/or gender.

As a young girl living in D.C., my brother and I used to go to school via bus and then transfer for the balance of the distance to streetcars or trolleys as they might be called today. While waiting in the subway for our streetcar, I was aware of a person standing very close to me. As I looked up (I was only about 9 yrs. old), there was a very large, black woman looking down at me. Upon making eye contact, she spit at me. From that day forward, I was afraid of black people.

Fast forward to 35 yrs. old. A friend was dating a black man and asked me to pray for them as they were encountering a great deal of negativity about their relationship. I said I would. But when I tried to pray, I found a block. I couldn't pray for him. I did pray for her. I was unaware of the reason as I had long forgotten that incident as a child.

Then I had a dream. There were many beautiful white doves, each in a square of a trellis lining the ceiling resembling the Sistine Chapel in Rome. I was overjoyed at how beautiful and peaceful they were when out of nowhere came a large, fierce black bird flying like a torpedo toward the white doves. I gasped and was terrified. Then...I heard a voice (in my dream) say, "Don't be afraid. It's one of the same species."

That dream ended the fear that I had but had buried deep because it was so disturbing to me.

Since that time I have been blessed to have some very close friends who were black and I thank God for that healing dream.

So I do understand now, the pain that can be inflicted by labeling others in a way that's totally unnecessary.

"Equal but different" is insulting when privileges are denied to one group by another.

Thanks for challenging us to examine our words and feelings for traces of prejudice.

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

Your comment is on target , as usual, and your story about the "Great leveller " of the human race is spot on as well.


I think what you said is as profound as anything I could have thought of to illustrate where things really are and I say, "you are welcome" as well.

You too, have made this comment sections worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

Here are two verses of a song we sang in Sunday School.

" In Christ there is no East or West,
In Him meet North and South;
All Christian souls are one in Him
Throughout the whole wide world.

Join hands,then,members of the faith
Whatever your race may be!
Who serves the Father as His child
Is surely kin to me."


Paul Burleson said...


I haven't heard that particular song, but I LOVE it. Thanks.