Doing something about racism

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Racism is continuing it’s ugly manifestation in our society in the form of escalating anti-Asian rhetoric and violence over the coronavirus pandemic. Claims that the virus appears to have originated in China have caused it to it be dubbed the “Chinese virus” by some of our leaders and media, legitimizing the anger and throwing fuel on a fire already burning. In the last two weeks of March, there were over a thousand incidents of racism against Asian-Americans in this country many of them violent, including stabbings, throwing acid on people or deliberately coughing in their faces. The official name for fear and loathing toward people with origins from another country is xenophobia, and it has no place in the company of those who love God and all those who are created in His image, not to mention that it doesn’t have a place in America, a nation of immigrants.

As followers of Jesus and representatives of the Gospel of Welcome — Grace Turned Outward — we need to make sure we do not participate in these attitudes in any way (remember, sometimes doing nothing is participating) and attempt to stop it when and where we can. It can be subtle — a side comment or a joke — but if you see something, say something.

These are ways in which you and I can make a difference in the world around us and perhaps get an opportunity to explain why we hold deep respect for everyone because of what Christ has done for us all on the cross. How can we hold contempt toward anyone for whom Christ has died?

The problem with race is that it lumps huge groups people into only one category and then you can dismiss them all. As in: all blacks are criminals; all Muslims are terrorists; all Asians are conspirators. It’s absurd, but it’s the way we think. The way to break out of this kind of thinking is to get to know people as individuals. Asian Americans are one thing; MemberPartner Shari Yamamoto, Millennial leader Richard Park, and my urologist, Dr. Singh are something else. Suddenly the category falls away and you realize there is a real person behind that nomenclature and everything changes. Whenever there is talk of race, put a name of someone you know to it and change the picture.

I’ve heard there is a Christian group of Asians and concerned individuals who have coalesced to form an association of people committed to educating everyone about this racial issue and providing some guidelines as to what can be done. Look up Asian American Christian Collaborative if you’d like to find out more. And let’s all commit ourselves to treating everyone with the respect due a child of God, and to putting names on our hearts instead of races, ethnic groups or other classifications — names of people we know and care about, and are getting to know better. That’s the quickest way to get rid of racism.

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8 Responses to Doing something about racism

  1. kellief4 says:

    My sister-in-law is Filipino, my niece married a Vietnamese man, so I have a niece, two nephews, and two great nephews and a brand new great niece who all look various stages of Asian. So far they have not had trouble, but they also live in Panama City area where there are large populations of Asian folks from all countries. I’m praying that neither they or their friends have any trouble. I’m not sure why we have to categorize people so much. We need to celebrate the differences in our cultures and appreciate them. It’s what keeps things interesting!!

  2. Mark D Seguin says:

    What about the Spanish flu & MIR the M stood for Middle East – Suggest turn of MSNBC & CNN and consider stop reading the Newspaper that may report opinions as fact and think about opening your mind to watch one of the 3 C-Spans Channels!!!

  3. Mark says:

    Agreed, That’s not Jesus. Also agree with Kellie regarding diversity keeping things interesting. I love meeting people from other culture, including Asian. My primary physician , Dr. Hom (Chinese) I have watched quite a variety of news coverage. If you’re a racist, xenophobic person, you will likely see/hear through that lens I suppose. No question, things could certainly stand to be worded more carefully and delicately so as not to inflame those who are bent on hatred. From what I have heard, listening through my lens, the “Chinese Virus “ narrative was not intended to disparage the Chinese people either in China or elsewhere. My take on it was that it was for the point of identifying where it originated (could have just as easily originated in U.S. ) and expecting some accountability to those in charge of an oppressive, communist regime for what seems to be apparent reckless behavior at best. Reports are, that the powers that be, did their best to contain it in Wuhan, but thought nothing of flying it out to the rest of the world. perhaps that’s American propaganda I don’t know. For years I have cited the Chinese as being the world’s latest slave laborers. No one seems to care much for their plight. The common people are the victims all around. No place for hating on them. They need our prayers, support, love and the Gospel for sure.

  4. Bob Pusey says:

    Thanks John for sharing this, it’s so important right now! It’s so easy to judge on outward appearance. I am blessed to have family and friends from many different backgrounds, and so I really appreciate this!

  5. Grace Adams says:

    The Virus knows no race. My prayer is that we will get to the point where we view all of God’s children as just that–ALL OF GOD’S CHILDREN! Until we do that, our society will continue to be fractured.

  6. peter leenheer says:

    Thanks for this racism Catch. “Let’s all give each other respect due to a child of God”
    Have you ever noticed that all people in the world are just like we are. It is only the outward appearance that is different. We all have emotions, opinions, ability to love to name but a few things. The blame game started in the Garden of Eden, and after how many thousands of years? we are still struggling with it in the form of racism. If we look to our own foibles, flaws and outright grotesque character shortcomings and focus on repentance we would not need racism to soothe our need for being better than others.

  7. Tom Faletti says:

    Thank you, John, for this timely message. We need to work together to overcome racism in all its forms. Your call to see each person as an individual, not lumped together in a stereotyped group, is important. It’s exactly what God does. He calls us each by name, and we need to see every person as someone who is called by name by Jesus and loved personally by Him. Thanks for the reminder.

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