What is racism?

Today what passes for racist is often not and what is truly racist is often excused. This is because the new definition of racism, white supremacy, and the like is the action of any person with whom you disagree.  You discredit your opponents and their views by calling them racist.  Maybe you can shame them into changing their minds. You get credit as well for this shaming of others.   This is how the game is played and it is the most effective strategy for winning.

In addition, it has become popular today to inoculate yourself from the racist charge. People know that by speaking out against racism or acknowledging their “white privilege” means they can be safe from the charge of racism. Simply by using that term “white privilege” you signal to others that you are on their side in this fight; you should be considered one of the “in crowd”. It doesn’t matter how you actually live your life; you speak the lingo, you use a term someone on the other side wouldn’t dare use, so they know you are one of them and all others sins can be forgiven.  Maybe you will even be elevated to anti-racist status.  It doesn’t matter if the positions you take are true or make sense, only that you are inoculated from the racist tag along with the bonus of being able to label any view of your opponent as racist (life is good!).

If you don’t need to acknowledge your white privilege because you are not white, then you are safe from the charge as well, because non-whites are considered victims and the victim is never wrong and can never be racist these days. Even if you as a non-white do something wrong or something which might otherwise be considered racist it’s not your fault because someone else’s racism is to blame. Becoming a victim is actually a good thing in our warped culture; many actually seek victim status because it elevates them in the public sphere and it also means that all other sins are forgiven. Why else would Megan Markle claim she is a victim of racism? I don’t know about her past but she now lives a truly privileged life as she was elevated to fame and wealth simply through marriage. By claiming to be the victim of racism she elevates herself even further. She has it all now. She is now someone to be envied as well as pitied, and being pitied is actually a good thing because any of the crummy things she may have done while a princess can be forgiven.

Markle doesn’t even appear to be black, but because she can trace her lineage to black ancestors, she is now considered a person of color. She knows that because of this status anything she says about race is gospel and any statement she tells Oprah, especially those regarding race, are not questioned in the least. Oprah sits with open jaw while not asking for any proof or names of those evil palace racists who have mistreated the poor princess. The princess says she “gave up everything” for the man she loved. I sit open jawed at this one. She is lifted from an obscure acting career into notoriety, fame, and wealth and somehow she expects us to see this action as “giving up everything”? I don’t believe anything she says after that silly statement. Piers Morgan said he didn’t believe her either. Morgan loses his job because he doubted her, yet Markle is the victim? How do you figure?

Interestingly, using this definition for a person of color is reminiscent of the terms used to define slaves who had even one drop of tainted blood; they were called “quadroon” or “octoroon”, and treated as persons who could not be admitted into polite society. Today, we are somehow returning to this definition which was previously considered racist. From Wikipedia: In the slave societies of the Americas, a quadroon or quarteron was a person with one quarter African and three quarters European ancestry (or in Australia, one quarter aboriginal ancestry). Similar classifications were octoroon for one-eighth black (Latin root octo-, means “eight”) and hexadecaroon for one-sixteenth black.

A Letter to my Bishop

On the other end of the scale from Markle, we have those with white privilege who wish to inoculate themselves from being called a racist. We all know today that there is no sin worse than being a racist. It is the one sin for which there is no redemption. And from the perspective of many, it is good to have such an unforgiveable sin around because all you have to do is label your opponent as a racist and you are declared winner of every argument you have ever had or will ever have with that opponent. Nothing they say about anything from here on out will be credible. People know this terrible fate can happen to them, so they must, of course, make it clear that they are not one of those awful racist people. They are desperate to be considered one of the good guys.

This brings me to a letter I wrote to my Bishop last summer after the death of George Floyd. The Bishop made a statement about “systemic racism” in the church bulletin; I believed he was simply making a statement so he could say that he had done his part in the fight. He was inoculating himself, maybe without realizing he was doing it. He really hadn’t done his part despite his claim. He was on the popular side of the argument, while at the same time he missed an opportunity to call out other injustices. He had to say something or there would be those who might doubt his sincerity in the fight. He couldn’t say something that was unpopular either because then in might also appear he wasn’t with the cause. He was completely wrong about another supposed incident of systemic racism, but the facts don’t seem to matter in these incidents; it is your willingness to support the cause that matters to those in your audience. Take time to examine the facts please before jumping on that bandwagon. I include the full note below, a note for which I received no response, because I am sure I am seen as part of the problem.

Bishop, I would like to comment on the racism message in the bulletin a few weeks back in which you commented on the deaths of George Floyd and Rashard Brooks. 

The death of George Floyd was certainly an injustice.  Nobody I know and no media commenting on George Floyd’s death thought his death was anything but unjust.  Businesses and celebrities galore stood up to say they too are against racism and appalled by the death of George Floyd.  You simply jumped on the “me too” bandwagon.  I don’t fault you for commenting, but it takes no courage for you and the other bishops to say you too agree this was an injustice.  It adds little to the conversation at this point.  What is troublesome is that George Floyd’s death should have been a unifying moment for America.  Everyone agreed that he was unjustly killed; yet, his death was used as a wedge to divide Americans and to justify rioting and looting, to justify condemnation of America as a whole.  This is the evil we must push back against.  Why does your statement stop with the death of George Floyd, especially since his death had so much significance in the ugly weeks that followed?  The mob has moved on from decrying the death of George Floyd to its more sinister goals; they seek to destroy, not to unite us or solve the real problems exposed by his death.  His death was simply a pretext for an alternative agenda. Please sir, use your platform to speak out against these hypocrites who seek to destroy rather than heal.  

Additionally, it is important to get the facts correct.  The death of George Floyd was, of course, an injustice, but one man killed Mr. Floyd; it was not America or systemic racism that killed him or condoned his death.  It is not even clear that the police officer who killed him was motivated by racism.   The death of Rashard Brooks is a different story, however.  His death should not be included in your bulletin message at all. There was no injustice done to Mr. Brooks and there is no racism to speak of in this instance.  Mr. Brooks assaulted the two police officers who detained him; he stole an officer’s taser and then attempted to shoot another officer with the taser.  The injustice was done to the police officer who did everything he could to subdue Mr. Brooks peacefully, but was later charged with his murder.  Mr. Books was a man with a long criminal record, including “cruelty to children” no less.  The officer investigating his death said Mr. Brooks would have been charged with ten different criminal counts had he lived.  Yet, instead the police officer who shot him is charged with murder for defending his own life.  This is unjust.  Yet, you choose this as an example of racism.  You makes the obvious point that that racism is a bad thing and the Church doesn’t stand for it, but please find a better example of the evils of racism.  Why do you even mention the death of Mr. Brooks, who may not have deserved to die, but certainly did as much as anyone to bring his own death upon himself?

In times like this the Church should stand up against all injustice, not just the ones trending.  It take courage to speak out about the other injustices we have all witnessed in the wake of George Floyd’s death, but I have heard few talk about the deaths of the many people who died during the riots that immediately followed his death.  Several law enforcement officers, including black men, were killed by rioters.  More than 20 people in all, many of them black as well, died during the riots.  Hundreds of businesses were destroyed while mayors of cities restrained the police from protecting life and property.  Our media and politicians made excuses for rioters.  They should be called out for what they have said and encouraged.  When a police officer who was defending his own life is being handed up to the mob as a sacrifice to those who want blood to pay for racism in America, you should not give aid and comfort to those who unjustly accuse him.

There is a witch hunt atmosphere regarding race in America.  I saw this a few months ago when a boy at my children’s school did something stupid which was deemed racist. The school administrators publicly shamed him by broadcasting his sin to all parents and expressed their desire to throw the book at the kid.  They basically whipped up anger among parents. My wife pushed back on Facebook and was told that the age of a child doesn’t matter and that she should shut up and not defend a racist.  Shortly after, I heard a 12-year old was arrested when he wrote something racist to a European soccer player.  There is no redemption when it comes to anything deemed racist.  Even kids are being held up as examples; there is no attempt to educate or to forgive or to have a real conversation. Our secular culture condemns the sin of racism and condemns anyone accused of it, but then ignores so many other sins; it really distorts the Christian view of mercy and justice.  We need to restore a balance of mercy and justice along with wisdom in dealing with such matters.  

Systemic racism in America ended more than 50 years ago, yet many tell us no progress has been made in over 400 years.  This is an absolute lie that must be countered.  The demand for racist incidents in America today far out-paces the supply of racism.  The truth is America and Western Civilization were the first to abolish slavery, an institution that has existed since the start of civilization.  Many in our history: Lincoln, Franklin, Hamilton, Adams, Mercy Warren, and others were passionate abolitionists; their persistence led to the end of slavery in 1865.  One hundred years later, in 1965, Martin Luther King’s movement ended the last vestige of systemic racism in America with the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts.

I grew up in the 1970s, was bussed to a black school in fifth grade, and lived in an integrated South for most of my life.  The America I grew up in was not then and is not today systemically racist.  In my life, I have encountered a few people who held on to the racist notions of old, but today they are dinosaurs, few and far between.  I never met or encountered a single member of the Ku Klux Klan or personally seen anyone persecuted for their race in the last 50 years; everyone I know thinks this would be abhorrent.  America today is a far cry from the America my father told me of when he first encountered racism in 1950’s Georgia, yet the lie that America is and always has been racist is being pushed forward today.  This lie is giving rise to a new form of systemic racism that seeks to take over the institutions of power.  We need to put down this lie.

Below are some examples of racism today that we can all speak out against.  These are not trending or ones that you will be lauded for speaking out against.  Our American and Christian values are under attack.  Our way of life is worth defending; it will be saved only if there are enough of us to speak up and defend it against the mob outside of Lot’s house.  Light and truth are the best remedies, but  we must shine the light in the darkness.  This war (and yes, it is a war) is easily won if enough voices speak out, but if we don’t take affirmative action, we will lose.

Examples:

Earlier in July, a statue of Jesus was torn down and beheaded in Miami Florida.https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/miami-archdiocese-urges-police-to-investigate-decapitation-of-jesus-statue-as-hate-crime/ar-BB16PPaD?ocid=uxbndlbing

Mostly ignored were stories of attacks on Jewish synagogues in Los Angeles, during recent riots: https://newsblaze.com/usnews/national/los-angeles-rioters-destroy-jewish-synagogues-stores-jewish-orgs-silent_165662/

A Philadelphia Eagles player recently said: “Hitler was right about the Jews”.  A few people, but not enough, have spoken out against him, certainly, not as many as spoke out about Drew Brees when he said he was proud of the American flag and his grandfathers who fought in the war.  https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/philly-jewish-sports-hall-fame-reaches-out-desean-jackson

Shaun King, an American journalist, recently called for the destruction of statues of Jesus:

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2020/june/activist-says-statues-of-jesus-christ-are-a-gross-form-of-white-supremacy-tear-them-down#:~:text=Across%20the%20country%2C%20protesters%20have%20vandalized%20and%20torn,down.%20They%20are%20a%20form%20of%20white%20supremacy.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/christian-figures-symbols-targeted-amid-black-lives-matter-protests

In Portland, protestors ostensibly protesting police brutality, are now burning bibles. 

https://thefederalist.com/2020/08/01/as-they-turn-to-burning-bibles-portland-rioters-show-their-true-colors/

Black Lives Matter is not simply a slogan; it is also an organization which wants to destroy the nuclear family, tear down all American institutions and institute Marxism in the U.S.:

https://nypost.com/2020/06/25/blm-co-founder-describes-herself-as-trained-marxist/

We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.

We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).

Nick Cannon, a TV celebrity, called white people savages and animals:

https://www.tmz.com/2020/07/14/nick-cannon-accused-black-supremacist-white-people-animals-savages/.  Again, there was only mild condemnation for this and earlier anti-Semitic comments.

Nicole Hannah-Jones, a New York Times writer, who has gained prominence with her “1619 project” called the white race “barbaric devils”: https://www.bizpacreview.com/2020/06/26/founder-of-controversial-1619-project-called-white-race-barbaric-devils-in-1995-letter-939663

The 1619 project is a rewriting of American history which claims that America was founded not in 1776 but in 1619 with the introduction of slaves into the American colonies.  She claims all of American history, including the American Revolution, can find its roots in slavery and oppression.  According to her, nothing else in American history besides slavery matters.  It is foundational and seminal in her opinion.  Her account is absolute garbage, but she was rewarded with Pulitzer prize for her writing. Hannah-Jones still works at the New York Times and is now collaborating with Oprah Winfrey on a 1619 project film. 

Tim Kane, current U.S. Senator and former Vice Presidential candidate, claims that the U.S. invented slavery: https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/06/what-tim-kaine-gets-wrong-about-slavery-and-why-it-matters/   This is an absolutely ludicrous claim.

These actions will continue unless they are exposed and condemned. In fact, they will go even further if there is no pushback.  This is the start of an effort afoot to target Jews and Christians as racists and white supremacists.  This charge gives folks an opportunity to legitimize their attacks on religion.  We can and should condemn injustices like the death of George Floyd, but we also need speak out about the racists and iconoclasts who are trying to do much more than end racism or protest police brutality.  They are being given a platform to spout hatred and they are not being called out for their disgusting comments.  What is being tolerated today, will become mainstream in a few years.  Edmund Burke said long ago: “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”  Let’s not be afraid to take action.  We must all speak out or it will get worse.   Religion will be the next icon targeted; we are just seeing the beginning of it today.

Conclusion:

Our media and politicians are doing their best to be apologists for all of these comments and incidents; they want to minimize their exposure to the public at large because if more people understood what is going on, there might be more backlash.  Instead, they hope to increase their power by painting a false narrative, catering to this constituency, and blaming their opponents for everything.  Michelle Obama said recently at the Democratic National Convention that the simple phrase “black lives matters” is met with derision by so many in America.  This is simply not true; but the demand for racist incidents in America today far out-paces the actual supply of racism. Such demagoguery is used to stir up hatred and blame large groups (e.g. police officers, Republicans, the white race, America) for the unforgiveable sin of racism.  Our media and politicians who facilitate this must be called out for their pusillanimous roles in spreading this hatred and not using their platforms to stop it.

I urge you and the other bishops to continue to speak out about racism and hatred, but please speak out against all forms of it, especially the most dangerous forms that are openly espoused today.  Martin Luther King in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” said he was “greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership . . . I do not say this as one of the negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church.  I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church.”  Timidity of the Church in his day hampered his cause and I believe timidity and the unwillingness to call out evil in our time, will have very negative consequences today. I too speak up because I love the Church, our faith, and the hope it offers the world.  This letter is meant to encourage you and other church leaders, not to discourage.  The Church has a massive platform and if used to shine the light of truth can do so much good in today’s troubled world.

Another Letter

As I stated above, there is a witch hunt atmosphere regarding race in America.  My wife and I saw this a few months earlier when a boy at our children’s school did something stupid which was deemed racist. The school administrators publicly shamed him by broadcasting his sin to all parents and expressed their desire to throw the book at the kid.  They basically whipped up anger among parents. My wife pushed back against other parents on Facebook and was told that the age of a child doesn’t matter and that she should shut up and not defend a racist.  Shortly after, I heard a 12-year old was arrested when he wrote something racist to a European soccer player.  There is no redemption when it comes to anything deemed racist.  Even kids are being held up as examples; there is no attempt to educate or to forgive or to have a real conversation. Our secular culture condemns the sin of racism and condemns anyone accused of it, but then ignores so many other sins; it really distorts the Christian view of mercy and justice. We need to restore a balance of mercy and justice along with wisdom in dealing with such matters.

Here is the note sent to all parents:

We are heartbroken, and quite frankly outraged, to share with you that a student who attended Gray Stone this past year was one of the individuals in an image of despicable content shared through their personal social media.  This post and others like it are clear acts of hate and racism that are without question unacceptable.  While this did occur outside of the school, we have a moral obligation to hold students to a higher standard.  We are appalled by this, and we will adhere to legal guidelines for public schools as they relate to the discipline of a minor.  The Board of Directors is exploring options and will take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and well-being of all of our students and staff – especially our students of color.

While we are addressing this particular issue, it raises the concern about what we should be doing as a school to address the systemic problem of racism.  Every student has a voice that deserves to be shared and heard.  We must encourage those voices and we must listen carefully when they do.  Students need to be heard.  Our country is hurting, especially our communities of color.  We can do better and we will do better.  No student should face harassment of any kind whether that is based on religion, sexual orientation,  race or economic background.  We continue to ask that any act of harassment be reported to administration immediately. Each will be met with swift investigation and there will be no tolerance for any act of racism.

In closing, we need to reflect on where we have been and create dialogue on where we go from here.  We can no longer accept to teach about change in the past. We must be a catalyst for change in the future. Gray Stone has to be a school where no one person feels unsafe or attacked.  We recognize in the past we might have missed opportunities to be more vocal and clear on this front; but let us be blunt now in stating that we are committed to standing against racism and the harassment or degradation of people of color. 

Thank you for your continued support through these challenging times. This is a defining moment in our great country’s history and together we have the opportunity to ensure that the next generation of young minds will leave it better than the last.

Here is my reply back to the school administrators for which I again received no response. Again, it seems to me they are simply trying to inoculate themselves and not really seeking justice:

Sir, why do you feel it is necessary to alert us all about the actions of one individual student?  Is it the standard practice of the school to inform all parents and students when an individual student requires disciplinary action?  You should take the necessary action to discipline this student and to alert his parents, but informing us all that one student did something inappropriate seems hardly necessary.  I wouldn’t want this highlighted to the whole school if it were my child who had been disciplined for some action.  If this were a group of students or some trend at the school, I would understand the need to alert us to a serious “systemic” problem, but you indicated this was just one individual and from all I can discern from your note not a systemic problem at our school.

My wife and I teach our children to respect everyone and to judge others strictly on their merits and their actions.  You may believe, as many others in media and politics regularly tell us, that we all need to be lectured about the problem of systemic racism, but I really don’t want my children to be told they must atone for the actions and beliefs of a few others or actions and sins of the past, actions that they are in no way responsible for themselves.  Children have enough to account for with their own actions; they don’t need to be burdened with the sins of the past or actions of others.  I don’t know what your intention is when you say you want to be a “catalyst for change” or “what we should be doing as a school to address the systemic problem of racism”, but I want to raise my concern in any case.  I don’t know exactly what this student did, but I know the student had no relationship with my children. Children should be held accountable for their own actions or possibly for inappropriate actions that they condone from others around them, but not for bad actions of others, and certainly not for the particular student you refer to, not for the systemic racism that they did not create and do not condone (and do not even fully recognize as a truly “systemic” problem). 

So, yes don’t condone racism or hatred.  Don’t condone the harassment or degradation of any student, no matter the reason, no matter the student.  I expect no less from any school I send my children to or any teacher or administrator they come in contact with.  This really ought to go without saying in my opinion.  Or perhaps you feel it necessary to send a virtue signal to all of us given the events of the day?

Next Post

In my next post I want to highlight a new form of racism which I see creeping into our culture. I alluded to a few of these problem examples in the letter to the bishop, but there are so many more. I can say confidently there are five more examples not yet happened that I will be able to tell you about this week. It doesn’t matter when I begin accounting the examples; they will be replete and easy to find. There is nothing so toxic and dishonest as our discourse on race in America. The lies, insanity, double-standards, and hypocrisy are ubiquitous. Maybe our bishop and our school administrators were being sincere and trying to right an actual wrong (although they failed to think things through and I am disappointed for their lack of courage in responding back to me, but I can believe they were trying to be sincere), but the folks I will highlight for you next are not sincere at all. They are playing a game. They want only to win that game and they don’t care what lies are told or what silliness they spout in order to achieve that end. They are truly fomenting the big lie; their hypocrisy is so obvious when you scratch the surface, but yet effective at fooling so many. I don’t care if the topic is radioactive and will boomerang to me. The lies and silliness must be exposed.

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