Rethinking The Racial Issues


Last night, I had a disturbing dream.  I dreamed that I was a slave and living under harsh and horrible circumstances.  I awoke, thinking it was odd I was dreaming about such a matter.  I could only chalk it up to weird pregnancy hormones because this had not been a current topic of conversation or thought for me.

I have also come to see that God has in different situations revealed truths to me through some of my dreams. In this case, I wondered if it was to turn my thoughts towards important issues in regards to today’s racial tensions and issues.  Otherwise, I am sure I would not have been thinking about such a topic early this morning.

As I began to think about today’s racial issues, I began to realize anew that the conflicts and dilemmas we face as a nation in regards to this matter continue to our present.  We think we have made progress, and we have in many ways.  Yet, there are many issues that remain, and the heart issue persists.

As I pondered this, I realized with great sadness that it is because two groups of people still have unresolved conflict.  One group of people has truly never fully “owned” or claimed responsibility nor repented for the grievances of its people enacted on another race.

The other group of people still harbors much bitterness and unforgiveness towards the group of people who committed such gross atrocities against themselves and their ancestors.

What is not recognized is that unforgiveness perpetrates the crime.  It keeps the unforgiving group imprisoned by its own bitterness.

The other group remains “imprisoned” through their own lack of repentance.

The evidence is before us.  We see a culture of co-dependency.  This speaks of great bondage.

One people group is still being kept under another form of oppression or “slavery” because the other people group has treated them as sub-standard, less capable, less intelligent, and as dependents upon themselves for survival.  Creating or causing another group to become dependent upon us unnecessarily can also reveal an attitude of superiority.

The other people group perhaps subtlety enjoys the feeling of power and a false sense of worth by keeping the other group co-dependent upon themselves.

There are reasons why it is sometimes good to give some assistance so that a person or group has opportunity or at least the same resources to succeed.  Yet, too much assistance actually is an injustice.  It victimizes and produces weakness and dependence.

For example, as a parent, if I do everything for a child who is capable of doing things for himself, I speak of disrespect and distrust towards him/her.  I will, in the long term, create weakness and dependence in my child and will ultimately lead to that child having less ability to succeed.  A child to whom I give responsibility and much trust speaks of respect and worth and independence.

It is not an honor for my husband to be demoted to a job that requires little or no skill.  It is an honor when he gets a job promotion that speaks of authority and requires skill and trust on the employer’s part.

Yet, we think by giving unnecessary assistance, we are helping one people group to be given opportunity.  I would challenge this actually speaks of great disrespect and dependence and reveals a major heart issue at stake.

Our heart attitudes are still regressive when it comes to how we treat one people group verses the other.

Have we not as a nation expected nothing more from one people group then to be barely above the capabilities of the lowest sector of the other people group (African-Americans lumped in with “White Trash”)?

I know this is a sticky subject, and if misunderstood, many may react to this.

Why is this so sensitive in nature?  Because there are still so many hurts and abuses.  Why is that?  Because this nation has truly not healed from generational sins that have been passed on for decades.  There is still unresolved conflict because the heart issue hasn’t been truly recognized and resolved.

What is the solution?  Following my dream, I had a picture of the one group of people lining up city to city, suburb to suburb, across from the other people group.  One group of people steps forward and with sincerity and humbleness owns up to the grievances from past generations and ongoing grievances that have and are being inflicted on the other people group.  Forgiveness is asked with tears and true repentance.  The other people group then steps forward and extends hugs with tears and simply states, “I forgive you.  I forgive your people.  I forgive your ancestors.”

Do you know what such an occurrence would do?!!!

Then new policies would need to be set forward.  This time with respect and healing and opportunity in mind.  Both people groups coming together for the purpose of bringing healing and restoration.

Until we truly recognize that the way we have dealt with social issues among the races continues to perpetrate a dependency and therefore spirit of bondage between one people group to another, we as a nation have yet to heal and to deal with the racial tensions that have plagued our nation.

Co-dependency speaks of bondage and unresolved conflicts.  It reveals that the heart of our nation has yet to heal.

May we as a people be convicted and enlightened as to the truth of these matters.  May true healing finally transform this nation into a nation that is truly “One Nation Under God … indivisible… with life and liberty for all…”

One thought on “Rethinking The Racial Issues

  1. A very insightful quote from a friend that I wanted to include: “I’d like to agree with what I think are Amy’s intuitions here. It is true that all of our ancestors were persecuted here or there, and we are where we are. But, most of us do not live in a reality that has been shaped by that persecution to any significant degree. This is not so for African Americans. Now, it is easy to say, “They should just work hard and get out of their condition,” and some do. But this seems to me to be neither (a) a very Christian notion nor (b) a very reasonable one. Where did all of us learn the virtues of working hard, independence, etc? Usually it was from imperfect but stable communities and parents. This is precisely the condition which is lacking in African American communities, where generation after generation of family, economic, and cultural instability has led to the same. And think for a moment about why this is. Slavery lasted for hundreds of years and it cut right across family and community lines. Fathers and mothers were torn from their children and a single people-group was treated as property for hundreds of years. In this process, they lost almost all ties to their cultural past, including tradition, language, etc. And then they were unleashed overnight (after hundreds of years of cultural and familial instability) into a world which not only required such stability, but required it more so than normal. Jews after the Holocaust, for instance, have done very well – but that is mainly because they have still been able to maintain their cultural heritage, values, extended family connections, etc. Not so with African Americans. The problem took hundreds of years to make. And it is not surprising that it hasn’t been fixed in a mere 150. How long does it take to build stable society and family structures from scratch? Again, there are always (and always will be!) remarkable exceptions and exemplars. But when looking at “the whole,” it seems to me that the issue is, as Amy put it, “complicated.” I certainly don’t claim to have any answer, but I’m quite confident that it is more than “pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” And so while I’m not persuaded there is anything useful about anything like a formal apology (I’m not sure what that would even mean), we have inherited a condition from our ancestors which I think it is our inter-generational responsibility to address. Of course, it is their responsibility as well. But any solution to the problems has got to be two-sided.” Thanks, Joe!

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