RACISM: Misappropriated Power

atthetable There are legitimate circumstances where we chose to place ourselves under the power and authority of a person, organization or government for our protection and production. We trust a tour guide that we have never met to lead us around a strange city in a culture we may have never experienced. We place our children in the hands of our schools to educate, equip and prepare them to become life-long learners and leaders or at least obedient citizens. Collectively we place our lives into the hands of government and its leaders for security of our welfare and the common defense. My participating in these relationships by choice. It is a choice to give each power to someone or to the group for our good and the good of others.

Racism is illegitimate use of power. It oppresses and only serves the best interest of those in power. Racism is the cancerous power grab that is does not ask permission because it does not value those over whom they seek to control, based on differences in physical and cultural characteristics. To dominate that one group of people are of greater value based on factors that cannot be changed is not legitimate. There racism is not exclusive to culture nor economy. Division of the human race into subgroups is neither consensual nor legitimate.

Here is an example. People who are right-hand dominate out number those who are left-hand dominate. Left handed people learn to use right-handed scissors as a matter of convenience and economy. The left-handed person could develop a different skill set but that would require intentionality of choice from that person or it might be done without their consent. But it is changing something about that person for the connivence of the group with power.

When a left-handed person is asked or made to compromise you might her them say, “Well you know left-handed people are in their right minds.” Which is a loose reference that left-hand dominance is a function of the right side of the brain, but the off handed message is that left-handed people are more intelligent and therefore superior to right handed people. If right-handed people response with a commend such as, “Well, I’d rather be right than wrong.” They seek to grab the power back in trying to equalize the fight. In reality a push invites a shove, and a shove welcomes a fight. And the punches of illegitimate power dance, dodge and divide. Yet, how often does hand dominance lead to slavery?

The solution to over powering racism is not easy. The solution must be mutual. Both parties have to be a process of common ground and build an new definition of relationship. Legislation might begin a conversation, but it does not build the new relationship. Both sides must affirm that the past and present relationship are not desired in the future. Together the powerful must relent power and the oppresses must be valued as partner. It is essential that both groups allow for a new partnership that is free from the assumptions and patterns of the past. [We must always learn from the past, but not be limited by it.]

Racism is a machine that is hungry for power. To stop the machine it must not receive the energy it demands to yield its goal. Imagine the same energy that is given to debating the state of South Carolina using the stars and bars as their flag, be given to conversations over lunch between opposing sides talking about ways to love and forgive our neighbors. So why don’t we go to lunch and start the better relationship?

Power. Power is the key. Those who have the power don’t want to deal with the conversation and those without the power don’t want to give up the fight. So there is no agreement that the future will be any different. Who is most likely to make the first step of grace and renewal? Actually it doesn’t matter. It must begin and continue to build a new path for us to journey.

Think of the times that Jesus confronts or is confronted by people who thought, taught and spoke differently. He draws the attention to God who loves us all. The answer is not found in feelings of offense; it is not in having equal quotas, and it is not in stirring up the media and politicians, nor about flags.

The answer to dis-empowering racism is in God who made the human race, God who creates us different and unique, God who values the genetic code in our design.  Think back to the story of our first relationship. In our first garden story, with Adam and Eve, power and freedom, choice and trust, first come into play with one another for humanity. What is the less learned? Every time we choose illegitimate power that is not ours it oppresses others and ourselves. There are consequences. We can forever dwell on blame or we can turn to God and find the garden made new with God’s love and help. If you don’t believe me, just keep doing what you are doing and let evil hearts rule. If you agree, yield yourself to God and be part of the new creation.

 

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