In this debut episode of the Lux Montis Podcast, we kick off a miniseries on race and racism from a Christian and immigrant perspective. We’ll be answering the question, can black people be racist?
We cannot possibly explore all the nuances attached to this topic within this series. Therefore, my aim is to challenge you to think differently and biblically about the issue of race and racism
In today’s episode, we’ll be setting the foundation by defining racism according to the Bible.
So what exactly is racism according to the bible?
Although the word racism is not in the bible because it’s a relatively new word. But when you boil it down, it concerns the image, identity, and value, of every individual and the bible has a lot to say about these. Let’s start with two bible verses:
Gen 1:27 – So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
In Acts 17:26: “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,”
From these, we can conclude that:
- God made everyone
- God made everyone in his image and likeness
- God made everyone from one man. We descended from one race
- From one man came many nations, ethnicities, and cultures with various melanin counts.
- God determines where you’re born, and to what nation/ethnicity.
This means that God is heavily involved in someone’s race. Your race or ethnicity isn’t trivial. It’s not by chance. It was ordained by God, your creator.
Why are we so intolerant of each other? Why is there racism, prejudice and discrimination?
The answer is beyond what our recent ancestors stole or did to each other. Every ethnic group has always and will always fight for superiority.
It started in Genesis when Adam and Eve sinned against God and from then they passed on their sinful nature to all who descended from them – Romans 5:12.
This means we now live in a sinful world with sinful people. As long as sin exists, Racism, prejudice and discrimination will always be a human disease.
Simply put, racism is the sin of hatred, partiality and prejudice based on someone’s ethnicity. This is usually due to believing your ethnicity is superior to another. We don’t really need any new-fangled definition. It’s this simple.
What does the bible say about partiality?
In Romans 2:11: “For God shows no partiality.”
In Acts 10:34-35, “Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation, anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”
Deuteronomy 1:17 – “You shall not be partial in judgment.” James 2, Acts 10:28-35
What does the bible say about hatred?
The Bible states in 1 John 4:20 that if anyone says he loves God but hates his brother, he is a liar. The word brother was used. What do you call people who descended from the same parents? Brothers and sisters. We are all brothers and sisters because we descended from the same parents. In John 13:34, God commands us to love one another.
What does the bible say about prejudice?
Prejudice is simply pre-judging someone. It’s often based on negative stereotypes rather than an actual experience. So using those beliefs to treat someone in a negative way. Prejudice can sometimes be positive too. It’s an assumption because someone belongs to a group. This group can be racial, economic, based on sex and gender etc.
Now, we know that prejudging someone isn’t actual justice. In fact, it’s injustice. The Bible has a whole lot to say about injustice. In fact, one of the attributes of God is that he is just. God hates injustice.
It’s amazing that in many scriptures, you see love and justice go hand in hand. I see Justice as a fruit of love.
Psalm 89:14 – Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. You can also look at Micah 6:8
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Psalm 82:3
“You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbour.” Leviticus 19:15 ESV
So back to the main question. Can black people be racist?
Yes! As we already defined, racism is the sin of partiality based on someone’s ethnicity.
Based on this definition, anybody from any ethnicity can be racist. It’s sad and wicked that some Christians believe that black people are incapable of racism. There is no sin that’s unique to just one ethnicity or race.
Best believe I’ve heard harrowing stories of white kids who grew up in ethnic minority neighbourhoods and experienced life-changing racism and discrimination from those ethnic minorities.
We need to stop treating white people as if they are the only ones guilty of this sin. Nobody is ever justified in hating anyone, whether you think they deserve it or not. I’ve also had to check myself and do a thorough soul search regarding a lot of racism I grew up around.
When you see injustice towards people of any colour, don’t incite by saying they deserve it because of what their ancestors did in the past. You don’t right the wrongs of the past by wronging the people of the present. The Bible warns us not to repay evil for evil.
If as a black person, you believe all white people are racist just because they are white, you are also guilty of racial prejudice.
Even if the majority of your ethnic group subscribes to an idea, it doesn’t make it right. When it comes to justice and righteousness, the majority does not automatically carry the vote. It’s crucial to our Christian faith to stand firm and apart from unrighteousness.
Do you believe what the bible says about the value of every single human being? I want you to remember that no matter who you are, your abilities, your ethnicity, your sex or your economic status, you are worth more to God than you’ll ever know. You are valuable to God your creator. You were created for a purpose and nothing about you is a mistake.