It took a few minutes to formulate this question because I am looking to generate responses that address “is,” not “should be.” Most of us with some semblance of moral values recognize that no one should be judged by race, color, ethnicity or creed, but whether we practice it in day-to-day relationships, is the question. As an African American who has lived in a world marked with racism, even I find myself making decisions based on race. I say “even I” because I understand feelings of inferiority expressed toward one based squarely on skin color. “Well,” You say, “Everybody has been discriminated against at sometime in their lives.” I emphatically agree! Therefore, abrupt changes were made in many of those instances to adapt to the status quo. It’s a bit difficult to change one’s skin color from black to white, isn’t it? Well . . . let’s get back to the question!
There are many levels of racial discrimination, ranging from subtle to overt. I think the most disastrous level occurs in thoughts where the person has convinced himself that he would NEVER discriminate against another person based on skin color. It winds its way into one’s thoughts in many disguises. Typical ones are’ “That’s just the way we’ve always done things” or “We just want everybody to fit in!”
From the African American viewpoint, one hears, “I know why THEY chose her/him instead of me” or “I’m the only black person in the group!” What are the hidden agendas behind these exclamations? In the first example, the Caucasian is saying, “Let’s exclude him because he is black, but make the world think it is something else.” There are two modes of thought operating in the African American comments. One is saying, “White people take every opportunity to discriminate against me! I can do that job just as well as that white guy, and they know it! They didn’t give it to me because I am black” In the second example the person feels “special” because the white man chose HIM. “They must see ME as one of THEM!” All of these stem from decades of deeply embedded racism. How does one change it? First, at the human level, recognize that there is only one race–the human race, and secondly, at the divine level, gain a better understanding of the man created by God.
There are basic commonalities that all human beings share irregardless of religion, race, color, creed or ethnicity. We are all flesh and blood–bleed the same way and mend the same way. All of us share physical, mental and emotional suffering. Harsh words, unkind treatment and physical abuse cut the white man just as deeply as it does the red or black man. No man is more intelligent than the next; some merely have better educational opportunities and financial connections than others. Racial prejudices usually originate from economical desires and greed; and through decades of use, mature into ethnic, racial and religious discriminatory practices. The love of money is truly the “root of all evil.”
Spiritually, God created man in His image and likeness. That likeness is not material but spiritual. What makes a man spiritual? Two key elements are: having no other gods before the one God, and loving his neighbor as himself. Man is made up of ideas. He is a compound idea of God. What does that mean? It means that he expresses all that God is–His love, kindness, patience, strength, intelligence, abundance, activity, faith, hope, courage, equality, impartiality and perfection.
We are governed by divine Law, not man’s law. The attributes of this Law have no race, color or creed. They are neither black or white, Christian or Muslin, Jew or Gentile. We are all children of God. This level of thought is what makes us treat each other as we wish to be treated, dissolve the hatred, and conquer the anger. Each day, one should learn to listen to the “still voice of truth,” before embarking on generally accepted practices. On numerous occasions, I have listened and corrected my thinking, which invariably led to non-judgmental decisions and practices.
Discrimination is not one-sided. It stems from many sides, from many sources. No one group is more discriminatory than the next. We are all victims of past prejudices. The dominant group may have the upper hand in practicing discrimination, but God searches the soul, not behavior. If a man thinks evil, he may as well practice it because he feels it in his heart. The effects may be better, but the reality is the same.
Why did I choose this subject? This is my way of saying to the world, “Let us stop hiding behind what is”politically correct” and genuinely seek to uncover and destroy the prejudices within ourselves. Let each day find us practicing the Golden Rule–“do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Remember, no one enters into the “kingdom of heaven” by skin color!