Dan Popp
The cure for racism
By Dan Popp
August 14, 2017

...And He made from one man every nation [ethnos] of mankind.... (Acts 17:26a, NAS95)

Since I've written against black racism and those who profit by it, it's incumbent on me to condemn the white racism that ultimately led to death and injury over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

It's all just so stupid.

You didn't do anything to get into your race, and you can't do anything to get out of it (third-rate celebrity attempts notwithstanding). So if you have no control over what race you are, how can you be "proud" – or ashamed – of your race?

You can be proud of an accomplishment, or ashamed of a bad moral choice, but your race is neither an accomplishment nor a choice. You might as well be proud that you're left-handed, or ashamed that you have dimples!

I would like to be able to say, "There is only one race: the human race," but I suppose that's not technically true. The New Testament does use the word ethnos, usually translated "Gentiles" or "nations." There is some idea there, I think, of different people-groups aligned around different ancestral origins. But wherever Christ goes, "there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all." (Colossians 3:11b)

And ultimately we're all descended from the same ancestor, Adam, as Paul taught in Acts 17.

I think many people on this particular day are feeling as I do: Can't we get past this?

Of course we can get past race. People do it all the time! We can get past race – but not by focusing on race. Leaving racial divisions and prejudices behind is a very simple (I didn't say "easy!") matter of ignoring race.

If the first thing you want to know about someone is his ethnicity, then racism will continue to thrive. If the first thing you want to know is whether this person is a moral person or a criminal, whether she's competent or incompetent, whether he brings assets or liabilities to the community, then we'll be doing all we can to throttle racism.

Take it off the census forms, off the college admissions forms, off the employment applications. Get rid of it. Stop thinking about it. We'll never get to Dr. King's "content of their character" world if we keep obsessing over the "color of their skin."

Ignore it.

And I'll tell you something else we should ignore. I don't care what the white racists were protesting in Charlottesville. I don't want to hear their grievances. They lost me at the swastika flags. As in our dealings with terrorists, asking, "What do they want?" legitimizes them.

So these racists protested in Virginia. Then some counter-protesters showed up. See the problem here? They showed up. They couldn't just let the kooks vent some steam in their little corner. They paid attention. So other people paid attention. As they say online, "Don't feed the trolls." Take away their media oxygen: ignore them.

By seizing upon this as an opportunity to raise their profile as well as more funds, the "anti's" built a giant, free platform for the people they say they would like to shut up. Racism plus stupidity is a lethal combination.

There's one more thing we must ignore if we want to get past racism: rationalization.

You can't blame the other guy's past actions for your current bad actions. "Well, what did you expect, with Antifa rioting and Black Lives Matter rioting?" was a common question on my twitter feed. That's how you perpetuate bad behavior. Until you can stand up like a man and say, "Forget the provocation, that was just flat out wrong," you're going to be stuck forever in counter-productive resentment. Rationalization, as we've seen, is the road to perpetual grievance. And in this case, endless racism.

© Dan Popp


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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