I remember traveling home from the subway in New York City as a young person. Always on high alert. Listen for footsteps. Always looking for someone walking too close or too fast. As a teenager, you might be “grown” enough to go places alone, but grown people get hurt, too. Think of your child walking home alone after a quick run to the neighborhood store for some snacks. It’s pretty dark. But you’ve always reinforced the importance of being vigilant. Besides, your community is pretty safe and the store isn’t that far. Imagine your kid noticing a car creeping alongside the sidewalk matching a walking pace while a stranger leers out the window. But then the person gets out of the car and starts approaching on foot. What would you want or expect your child to do? Cut through a shortcut? Run? Fight? Maybe use their phone to call someone while they do all three?
Thank you for sharing such a heartfelt and important response. I was horrified by the original incident and THEN I read some of the local responses in bewilderment. I moved to the area half a lifetime ago, but still struggle with the lack of cross cultural understanding I’ve found here after growing up in a very diverse area. The two comments I see on this article reflect the dismissive and defensive attitude I’ve unfortunately come to expect. It breaks my heart that compassion and a desire to better understand those around us is not more common.
Wow, Where’s the love shown for ALL races in this article? No mention of how the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the most racially diverse church in the USA. No mention of how Christ brings all races together and we become one in Him. No mention of how we must overcome our preconceived ideas of other races and together warn the world of what’s to come. Why must we keep trying to divide the races? Stop watching the news headlines and read the Bible to see how we should love each other–Red, Yellow, Black or White, ALL are precious in His sight!!
John 17:21 That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me.
The insights of my fellow minister and clinical phychologist, Courtney Ray, remind me how challenging it can be to live either in the North American world or in the North American Adventist Church. Learning survival skills for the classroom, the street, and the worship hour can be so tiring. I have great sympathy for those who do not want to be “integrated” into the majority white churches. Attending a “regional” church must often provide a bright spot in one’s weekly spiritual journey because (at its best) it is a day filled with acceptance amid the shared experiences of life as a minority. I affirm her sense of grief that white children growing up in Adventist homes, churches, and schools, are not learning to recognize the challenges inherent in our racial divides. I share her grief. As a white pastor, I have tried, and often failed, to foster such awareness, sympathy, and caring. Jesus certainly tried with his story of the Good Samaritan, but I’m uncertain how many of his listeners, either then or now, got/get over their prejudice against the “other”. I quickly thought of a parallel missing curriculum in our schools: how to relate in a healthy, open manner with children, or adults, of other faiths. When individual parents and teachers do teach and model positive ways of relating to other cultures (whether of faith, ethnicity, traditions), it is wonderful to see. God bless Dr. Ray and all like her who continue the good fight against the evils that silently creep into the very fabric of our lives. My prayers are with her and all who hurt and suffer - and yet don’t give up their hope in our risen Savior.
Very informative. Thank you for sharing. I was particularly interested in this section:
“So we had to be trained on and learn about White culture. Aside from the official history curriculum that focused on Europe and European Americans, we had to learn about navigating society in ways that didn’t offend or alarm White people.”
My 12 year old daughter was continually taunted with racial and filthy slurs as she walked home from our Adventist elementary school (until the threat of expulsion). But the slurs were from older Black girls. How would you suggest that I process those experiences with her by, as stated, "train[ing]’ about Black culture? As good as your article is, I’ve read dozens like it and hundreds of blog posts supporting it. I have yet to read a single article that helps White people process and explain to our children why they are often the object of racial epithets from Black children. Actually, to even broach the subject often invites accusations of racism.
So there is this gap in the White community that I’m asking you, Courtney, to help us navigate. The gap is that though I have trained myself and my family on racial issues by intentially exposing them and talking about the demonic racist atrocities that Whites perpetrated on Blacks, there is this contrast within our (and our friends’) personal experiences, in that we have only been at the receiving end of racism or accused of racism. Is this being talked about anywhere or is the Black community addressing this at all? Your insights would be appreciated.
It sounds like your daughters experienced some terrible bullying. I’ve worked in schools for many years, and it is a serious problem with kids from all walks of life. I hope it was resolved.
I believe you are asking this question sincerely, but I wonder, if the bullies had been white, would you ask a white author, of an article not written specifically about bullying, to explain what the white community was doing in regards to the situation? …or would you be more likely to see it as a problem linked with the older girls’ specific situation, such as their home life?
If it were general bullying, it wouldn’t matter so much who the author was. This was a racially motivated incident, and so I am soliciting the expertise of a Black pyschologist who has written about the training of Black children and how to protect themselves from White people within a White culture. I’m interested in what the anologous program should be for the rearing of White children exposed as the object of racism. A secondary concern is that when questions like mine are asked, it can be interpreted itself as racist so most White folk are keeping their mouths shut. I thought I’d go out on a limb a bit and see if this is a dialogue Blacks and Whites are ready to have.
actually, harry, white minority status in south africa was never the result of a trend…it was always a fact…this is why apartheid was so egregious…the vast majority of people were systematically dispossessed from their land, and kept in virtual serfdom…even now, scars run very deep…
but i think your point is well-taken…racism has nothing to do with whether one is a minority, or part of the majority…it’s a condition in the mind and heart that many people just seem to be born with…
In your response, you synonymize “God” and “America.” You speak as though the writer had raised a question about what God thinks, or prefers, re: skin color, as opposed to one about how white supremacy functions.
I mean, though God loves all, He probably made Black people first. That way, through genetic diffusion, “white people” would one day be possible; i.e., had Adam & Eve looked like Oskar and Rut, the world would have never known of Alek Wek or her kin.
“No Rule of Law mentality” sounds like a perfect description of white people on planet Earth, over the last half millennium, or so.
“Gang behavior” describes, well, how the Europeans carved up Africa for her resources, during the Berlin Conference, or annexed Hawai’i and Palestine.
“What you have is mine” would be a great opening line for everything the British did in India, or the Spanish did in the Philippines.
“Your body is mine” would be a fantastic slogan for the enslavers of Africans, over the centuries we were stuffed into the hulls of ships. But, to start, we should translate your catchy English soundbite into Portuguese (“Seu corpo é meu”), Dutch (“Je lichaam is van mij”), Spanish (“Tu cuerpo es mío”), and French (“Ton corps est à moi”), so as to reflect the market share in blood.
How convenient. I wonder what the Sioux, Comanche, Pawnee, Apache, Omaha, Iriqiuois, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Navajo, Osage, Shinnecock, and other nations holding broken treaties would think of your proposal?
Actually, @vandieman, no, that’s not true, unless you’re arguing that the Boers somehow popped out of the rich South African soil when the Xhosa did, ready to dominate.
Some “trend” put them there. In this case, it was immigration. You know: The same trend that white people are fighting against so strongly, today, everywhere. In South Africa, it was tightly controlled and regulated, and favored white people who could, having effected it, make apartheid stronger.
Well, it was egregious, in part, for the reasons I gave.
But it was also egregious because it interlocked with a global white ethos called white supremacy. A nation of such carnage, but in which the racial classifications of the oppressors and their victims had been reversed—Black people dominating white people—would not have been tolerated by the white nations.
Racism is white supremacy. This is its only functional form.
So, racism doesn’t necessarily “have to do” with who is the numerical minority. More, it has to do with who is the Effective Majority: Who are the people that a) cannot be overruled, and b) have the last word on what is thought, said, and/or done, in all areas of people activity: economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex, and/or war. Under white supremacy, those people are white; i.e., the White Nation.
Actually the South Africa situation is the entire opposite today than the apartheid years. The chances of farmers living very long in particular is not so high, and they are being forced into ghettos in some areas as their land is being taken from them. Hatred is a bad societal master. And lets not be coy about it, hatred dominates in every situation where a people have been wronged in the past. Please take a lesson from South Africa, and be very careful how you support the intended revolution, the anarchy that will result.
Is there an answer to the problem in the USA? It will not be successful if purely civil or secular means are used or implemented. Education will do some to help, but it is not be all end all that some in leading positions advocate. I mean how can we get it through some thick skulls that we all are of varying shades of brown. Some of us have more melanin than others, so what! That is genetic information in practice. Again, both sides need to get over it. We all come from Adam who was probably of a mid-eastern skin color according to geneticists.
There are those in peculiar religious circles who believe if they are white, and they can drag up a fictitious “lost tribe of Israel” image, they are practically in heaven. There are others (around Ethiopia) who claim the same for their skin color even though we might see them as being pitch black. We do not get such liberties from the Bible fore sure. GAL 3:28 alludes to that thought.
We all need salvation, the plan of redemption, a Savior, so what is the problem. Hatred that is festering in a society that loves to be seen as tolerant while it is anything but that.
The USA has a Constitution and Declaration of Independence that is unequaled in the world, yet so few can’t seem to get over the first few words of the Declaration itself, “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” What is so hard about the “all men” that so few seem so unwilling to accept?
When “whites” are in power, the “blacks” suffer. When the “blacks” are in power, “whites” suffer. Nothing, nothing but the love of Jesus will change that. People of European extraction brought a civilized type of society to many countries, so why not build on that and let go the prejudices on both sides - nothing but the love of Jesus.
i agree that s. african whites came in waves, but the point is they were minorities from day 1…this is different from american whites, who’ve been the majority from day 1…
that ethos still exists, and in fact existed from earliest times all over the world…there seems to be something about blacks that illicits animosity in non-blacks…
agreed…so-called black racism is really a reaction to white racism…
what needs to be studied more is how white supremacy has filtered into black communities so that white-looking blacks have more status that black-looking blacks…in some cases, i think white racism has caused blacks to hate themselves…i think this is the entire etiology of michael jackson’s so-called transformation…
NO KIDDING! Seems that all the time the author attempts to indict us because they felt that ‘if the child had freckles and red hair’ somehow more attention would have been given to the cause of the problem. Further, the author seems to have a literary ‘chip’ on their shoulder that does nothing to bridge the divide that only seems to be wedged wider by articles such as this. I am becoming more understanding of why there will be the need for the leaves of the Tree of Life that are to be given for the ‘healing of the nations’.
First off, I don’t know how to get the nice quote boxes, but I’m curious about this statement:
“…s. african whites came in waves, but the point is they were minorities from day 1…this is different from american whites, who’ve been the majority from day 1…”
How are you figuring that white Americans were a majority from day one?
They too immigrated in waves, and mistreated the people they found on the land.
Secondly, all this important conversation seems to get away from the main point of the article. The article asked us to empathize with kids who are asked to grow up too quickly. To view them as our own. And they are our own American kids who are being shot dead because they “look threatening” due to a toy, or a hoodie, etc. These specific real life heartbreaking facts had me in tears as I read them, and not fit the first time. I’ve cried over and over about this seemingly unending string of heartbroken families.
Yes, big picture racism is important to address, debate, clarify, fix, but maybe that all starts by just seeing kids as kids and mourning their loss, and realizing the great lengths families go to avoid these tragedies! After that, maybe we can stop making excuses for a society in which this has somehow become normalized.
First, click on REPLY, to open a window where you will write your comment. Then highlight the text you want to quote, and a little box ["QUOTE] pops up. Click on that and the highlighted text will show on your writing area.
Hope it works, if not, call again.
"More than two decades after white-minority rule ended in South Africa, most of its profitable farms and estates are still owned by white people, and about 95 percent of the country’s wealth is in the hands of 10 percent of the population. …
Under the rule of European colonists, South Africa’s Natives Land Act of 1913 stripped most black people of their right to own property, a policy reinforced decades later by the National Party and its system of apartheid, or apartness. A government land audit released in February showed that farms and agricultural holdings comprise 97 percent of the 121.9 million hectares of the nation’s area, and that whites own 72 percent of the 37 million hectares held by individuals. This tallies with the results of a separate audit released Nov. 1 by Agri Development Solutions and farm lobby group AGRI SA, which found non-whites own 27 percent of the nation’s farmland compared with 14 percent in 1994."
It appears that, here, more than “hatred,” what is taking place is that the current government is attempting to restore ownership of valuable land that was ceased during the reign of the apartheid system.
In other words, the goal is a significant amount of restorative justice.
So, hatred may, or may not, dominate, in these instances, though, as you warn, it’s not a sober adjudicator.
However, Black South Africans appear to have just claims in the area of land ownership. Ideally, the world will recognize this, and support the new nation’s attempts to compensate the victims of a blatantly white supremacist system.
I may mostly agree to this.
I suspect that Black people will get over this difference when white people do, since they are holding the handle and we are holding the blade.
We do all come from Adam, but he probably looked more like someone from Sudan.
I don’t understand what this means.
The problem is that we have a big sin problem, in the form of white supremacy. It’s a roiling, hurricane of a beast.
I think it’s that the very men who wrote and signed the documents owned men and women.
So, by their actions, they effectively said to their heirs, “You don’t have to take that part seriously; it’s just a cool-sounding opening line.”
We haven’t had a chance to actually prove this, though I am inclined to believe it would be true. I say that because I believe that people are sinful.
This is why the people who share my views on racism often say RWSWJ: “Replace White Supremacy With Justice.”
Well, because that’s nonsense: “People of European extraction” didn’t bring “a civilized type of society,” anywhere.
They decimated the civilizations that already existed all over the globe, then, through ruthlessness, guns, disease, and drugs, made those civilizations vassal states.
This has nothing to do with the love of Jesus. But His image was also Europeanized. So, getting through that mess is taking longer than it would, otherwise, too.
Looks like we agree on some things. The problem is when people trust what comes out of the mouth as probably happened in the past to the detriment of those with colored skin is reversed now where SA is heading. People will not forget the “Other cast” in the past and stories are blown up into gigantic scale full of half truths and exaggerations. The slave trade was one of the most horrible of crimes against humanity, yet in current times, some want to punish others of the same skin pigment level as the persons who did these crimes a century or three ago. They may be removed several generations from those times, or even came over as refugees or emigrated to the country say in the last 60 years, and themselves worked hard to establish families and work or business situation. But this doesn’t matter because they have the wrong level of skin pigment.
You are white, you are black, you are brindle, etc., therefore I hate you, and because this happened in the past (not to me mind) so you will pay. And in the vitriol against the now generation, it is the persons who view themselves as the loser in the past, be it war, or being “colonized,” who now want to tear down the society that now has been built of the past endeavors. Such fail to analyze when these same happenings have already been played out in recent years, particularly in some countries in Africa, they have debt that has gone through the roof and genocide in those places is horrific – yes, even against the same people who thought they were supposedly “on their side.”
“Well, because that’s nonsense: ‘People of European extraction’ didn’t bring ‘a civilized type of society,’ anywhere.”
I am thinking of hospitals, modern medicine, especially in the way of trauma medicine, transportation systems, modern motor vehicles of all kinds, services like the utilities - electricity, gas, water, the list could go on. These were never going to happen in the tribal societies who often fought against themselves before the “not civilization” came. The road has been rocky, but still, where would most of these countries be without the process. They were not civilizations that were “decimated all over the globe” unless you are going all the way back to the work of the Jesuits in areas like India and South America for example. I had hoped not to add that extra dimension to this discussion.
I wish your response to my thought that whites or blacks suffer according to who is in power is revealing. You are so positive on one, but the other, I got a “maybeeee” even though we have situations happening in several locations which make the maybeeee into an absolutely. But putting aside color or whatever irks you, think of all the genocides of the last century. Many have been against their own country men. The USSR conservative figures are at 50,000,000 and more likely 70,000,000. Cambodia, China is a vast numbers in ethnic cleansing and in the pursuit of Communism, the two world wars, the list goes on, but does lessen thankfully.
So how are you going to address these past wrongs? Should we hammer every last German citizen for their past parents/grandparents’ being deceived by dictators motivational speeches? Take their country from them and turn them out saying they do not have a right to live in peace? Or the ruling parties in any democratic society? Overthrow them and replace them with anarchy. That will be the result. If you live in a democratic society, be thankful, it could be a lot worse. You could be one of the undesirables marked for elimination. I probably would be.
We agree that people are sinful. But I sadly feel you would not rule out hate crimes in the here and now against a people or peoples for the past generations, which in itself is – sinful. But there is a remedy. We, and others have talked about that before. The Bible has proven that forgiveness is far more powerful than hate.