The CRC’s stance on race mirrors that of the larger society: most people say that they oppose racial discrimination—and yet when the costs of racial integration might actually start costing something, they tend to get indifferent.
There are intentional forms of racism, but race also works as a social force that structures our perceptions, values, practices, institutions, etc. We need to distinguish between the intentional and structural varieties.
Here I am, remembering my slavery as a confession for you. It is uncomfortable to admit. It is an act of vulnerability. In my social justice circles, it looks dirty and embarrassing and unintelligent. But if I truly care about justice, freedom, and loving my neighbor, I must start with myself. I must remember. Will you consider doing the same?
Many people in the U.S. seem to think there is some magical date when the nation achieved victory over racism. Maybe they trace this social V-day back to 1964 when the Civil Rights Act was signed into law. Maybe the date is 1965 with the passage of the Voting Rights Acts. No matter the date, we have not crossed any historical line into a society where race is no longer a salient category.
Between the World and Me is in some ways dire. But in a world rife with sin and misery, why is that surprising? We should be asking questions about how we can imagine better, how we can empathize better. What can we do as Christians to support each other across racial lines? What can we do to identify deeply with human beings—like Michael Brown—who have been made in the image of God?
I am a white mother of a beautifully multiracial family, with four kids from four different countries and a fifth on the way. And though I have spent the last decade of my life believing that my sweet children (black and white) were equal and beloved in the eyes of my community, my country, and beyond, the past few years have eroded that belief—and broken my heart.