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Segregation Needs No Bridges

If there is anything that gets almost universal condemnation these days, it is the recognition that slavery that permeated the American south in the 18th and 19th centuries and the prevailing discrimination and segregation that lingered throughout America for a hundred years after slavery was abolished, was wrong. Segregation was wrong then and it is just as wrong now without regard to the purveyors.

This week Rick Warren of the Saddle Back Church in California held a "black-only" service. His well-intentioned attempt at aiding "those in pain," served to reinforce the idea that there is actually such a thing as "black" and "white" people. This is what makes segregation morally reprehensible. The idea that we are different based on the varying amounts of melanin in our skin can only be taught as we age because if you've noticed 2 year-olds and how they react towards each other then you realize that they have not been socialized with "race" enough to realize that they should treat people differently based on their skin color. This is what Rick Warren is doing. He is fostering the idea that people should be treated differently based on their skin color. Not only does that contradict the scriptural message that identifies that we are all "one" in Jesus Christ, but it also likens his actions to those who use those differences to incite ill-will towards people of different skin tones. I'm sure that Pastor Warren doesn't want to do that but it is an inevitable outcome.

"If you treat people differently based on the color of their skin then you will treat people differently based on the color of their skin."

Segregation is wrong because of the principles upon which it rests. It rests upon the idea that we belong in separate rooms, classes or ideological boxes based on "perceived" differences. The point is that these "perceived" differences are meaningless. Of course, historically some people with ulterior motives, intentionally gave them meaning and those contrived meanings with their self-serving aims are what we're still trying to resolve today. I am ardently trying to convince you that skin color should have been meaningless from the beginning for determination of anything and people should have been evaluated on their character, aptitude and ability. So what stops us from doing that now? We've been "racialized." It's just like "radicalized," which happens to people who become terrorists, but it's different when we cling to "race" because this ideology is accepted and supported by our society, not realizing that it is wreaking terror on its citizens. That's why you have "White Nationalists" who will die for their cause and you have NFAC and Antifa members who will die for their cause and then there are ordinary Americans who are not quite that radical but will cling to the concepts of the "racialization" they've undergone since birth.


The "racialization" tells us how to think about the differences. We can all acknowledge that there are variances in our skin tones. I have brothers who are not my skin tone, but because we are in the same family, we ignore that difference as infinitesimal. The same should be done for those in the family of humanity. Skin shades vary but they are infinitesimally small when compared with the 99.9% of our alikeness as science now shows us. So why do we continue to separate people by skin color? It is because with all of the evidence to the contrary, we still believe in the idea of "race."


Our belief in the concept is not unfounded. We were taught it from birth by a culture that created it. Of course since I began this trek 2 years ago, I've spent countless hours thinking about how to best convince people that we have all been wrong for believing that there was ever such a thing as "white" and "black" people. How can we convince others that we really are so much more alike than we are different and how can I prove that we are as The Black-Eyed Peas sang "One Tribe?" Further, how can I convince all Americans and all humans for that matter that we are of one blood, one family, and one race? The simple answer is one word upon which I base my mission of ERASE Race and that word is "relationship."


Probably most everyone reading this posting has a relationship with someone of a different skin tone and can speak to the truth of how well they get along with that person without regard to the skin issue. However, when that relationship context is removed, these vary same people are prodded, pushed and cajoled into participating in the "race" game of settling into a skin-colored group which then creates an oppositional stance towards their friend. And here's the key: that's exactly what "race" was designed to do. "Race" was created to impose a hierarchy, a stratification of people groups necessary to support a system of slavery and subjugation. "Race" is the last relic of an antiquated and outdated lifestyle that would be best thrown on the ash heap of history so that we can truly begin living out the founding reality of our country that "all men are created equal." We must take hold of this idea and build relationships, thus breaking down the ideology of difference that is fostered by "race."

This is where we are and while the answer may seem easy, it is difficult to accomplish because it begins with each of us choosing to not only, NOT believe in "race," but go the extra mile to build intentional relationships; to actually be a bridge that connects you to others who perhaps don't look like you.. Relationships need bridges. Segregation needs none. Will you be one?

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