And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’—Acts 17:26-28 (NKJV)
#racerelations, #onerace, #human race, #blackpeople, #whitepeople, #allpeople, #loveyourneighborasyourself, #theoriginofman, #theworldisblack, #blackexperts
I Heard a Whisper
As I was reading a book1 for my small group Lenten Bible Study on hearing the voice of God, I heard the Lord whisper these words to me: “The world is black.” It was not an audible voice, but His Spirit communicated with my spirit, and I “heard” it. Immediately, I knew what it meant and what He wanted me to do with it, but I began to overanalyze the thought. Was it even a relevant topic? I reasoned that everyone knows this already and that it is pointless to even mention it. I even thought that it meant something other than the original meaning that was given at the same time as the thought. Did God mean that “the world is black with sin”? Yes, that’s a possibility, but that’s not meaning He gave. Then, I began to doubt that it was even the Lord that “spoke” to me; and, thus, the paralysis of analysis kept me from completing the task of writing and/or speaking about it. So, I stewed over it for a couple of days, but the thought did not leave me. And, finally, I surrendered and told God that if He wants me to write/speak about it, that I will; even if it seems contrary to popular belief, I am going to obey God. So, if you want to hear more, keep reading.
The Origin of Man
If you believe in the origin of man, that the first human beings (Adam and Eve) were created out of the dust of the earth, then you understand that they were black. And everyone who descended from those two people is black as well. Given that we all come from the same place and the same people, we need to recognize that we are all one human family and stop all the prejudice, hatred, and racism that only makes us look like fools in the eyes of God.
The world is black; everyone is black, regardless of where you are, where you have been or who you think you are. If you are human, you are black; even if your color is not what you or I consider to be black, you’re black because you descended from a black man and a black woman. For too long, we have allowed man to classify us based on race, putting us into the main categories of “white” or “black”, and making white the more favorable category to be in. Yet, the only way that God ever categorized people was by geographical location, culture, or religious practices. So, while you may identify with a certain country, culture, or religion, at the end of the day, you are still a human being. And that makes you black.
I Did Not Know I Was Black
I did not know I was “black” until I saw people who looked different than me visit my island nation of Antigua. They were “white” tourists on vacation, riding around in the back of a pick-up truck taking pictures of different things and people. As I was walking one way on a road in my village, they were going in the opposite direction. When they saw me, they looked so excited and fascinated to see me, waving and smiling, and I waved and smiled as they took my picture. Somewhere in the world, there may be a picture of me, as a little girl, in someone’s album.
One day, we had a visit from the queen of England, when the school children got a half-day with treats in brown bags and permission to line the sidewalks of the streets outside our school to watch and cheer on the procession of royalty and guard in fancy cars as they drove by. As Queen Elizabeth drove by, waving and smiling in her black shiny car, I joined in the excitement of seeing her, waving and smiling with the other students. And I marveled at how pale/white her skin was.
At other times in my youth, I met people who were Indian, Asian or Spanish in varying shades of color. I never thought of them in terms of race as we know it today, but I noticed that they looked different than me and that they were from a different place or country. And I wanted to look like them or at least be lighter and have straight hair like they did. From my early youth, I understood classicism (before I knew the word) because it was well-ingrained in our culture that people with lighter skin and smoother or longer hair were more favored in society.
Then, I Came to America
I had already experienced classism within the “black” race, as people were rated according to the shade of their skin or the curl pattern of their hair. Many adopted the belief that the lighter they were and the straighter their hair was, the better they were. So, people of darker complexions and “nappier” hair often developed low self-esteem, as they were made to feel and came to believe that they were “less than”. And many straightened their hair and bleached their skin or married a lighter person with straighter hair to (hopefully) produce offspring with the qualities that fit the status quo.
Then, when I came to live in the United States as a teen, I really got a much better understanding of race, class, and culture. The underlying precedent was that “white” was the dominant race, “black” was the subordinate race, and everyone else wanted to be as close to “white” as possible to avoid the discrimination and stigma of being “black”.
The Shocking Reality
The stupidly shocking reality of all our struggle with race, however, is that the world is black. We are all black in the eyes of God. We are all related because we came from the same origin; and it is ignorant and foolish to think and act any other way. When we are prejudiced against or hate others because of how they look, were doing that against our own family, against our own selves. We have, sadly, been conditioned to think that “we” or “they” are “other” or separate from us; so, we may not realize that we are all one family. This failure to recognize the truth is the cause of division and strife in the world today. People are fighting each other, while the devil has a field day. And God is sad.
How Did We Get Here?
So, how did we get here? Apart from the natural geographical separation of peoples, what is the rationale for the racial division that we see today?
According to an article about the Definitions of Racial and Ethnic Categories for the (National Institutes of Health) NIH programs on Diversity, there are “five minimum categories for race: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White”2The census bureau also states that “the data on race were derived from answers to the question on race that was asked of individuals in the United States…and that these minimum categories are required by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and the Census Bureau collects racial data in accordance with guidelines provided by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and these data are based on self-identification.”3
While the five minimum categories are based on the geographic locations where people came from, the “…racial categories included in the census questionnaire generally reflect a social definition of race recognized in this country and not an attempt to define race biologically, anthropologically, or genetically.”4
In other words, race as we know it today, is what human beings have made it to be. Whether influenced by geography, culture, governmental guidelines, oppression, or just pure evil, the system used to classify us has mainly served to separate us. It separates us from people who do not look like us, nor speak like us, nor live like us. Yet, at the end of the day, there is only one race; that is the human race5, which is the black race.
The World is Black.
Most black people already know that they are black, but some are in denial. Some white people know that they are black, but many are in denial. Other “races” of people may proudly acknowledge and claim their cultural and ethnic identities, but many check the “white” box for political, social and economic reasons. And some check “Other” to opt out of being classified or due to confusion about which “race” they identify with. Yet, regardless of how you identify yourself or the “race” box that you check on the census or other official forms, you are black. So, to black people who hate white people, to white people and to every other people who hate black people or anyone else, you’re hating members of your own family; because, if you are human, everyone in the world (regardless of how they look, how they talk or live) is your relative.
The Only Solution
The only solution to the problem of racism is love; we need love for all people, whether or not they are biologically, anthropologically, or genetically related to us or not. Sadly, even many who profess to be Christians are guilty of behaving according to “a social definition of race” (See note 4). We say we love God (which is the first and greatest commandment); then, we act one way with the people we identify with and another way with those we do not identify with.6 Yet, when we choose to “love our neighbor (i.e. others) as we love ourselves, we are fulfilling God’s second greatest commandment.7 And God is happy. Therefore, let us wake up to the fact that the world is black; we are all black, and we are family.
1 Mark Batterson, Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah, 2018)
2 “Racial and Ethnic Categories and Definitions for NIH Diversity Programs and for Other Reporting Purposes” https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not-od-15-089.html
3,4 “About Race”https://www.census.gov/topics/population/race/about.html
5 “Blue eyes, brown eyes: What Jane Elliot’s famous experiment says about race 50 years on” https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/karinabland/2017/11/17/blue-eyes-brown-eyes-jane-elliotts-exercise-race-50-years-later/860287001/
6 “If we say we love God but hate any of our brothers or sisters in his family, we are liars. If we don’t love someone we have seen, how can we love God? We have never even seen him.”—1 John 4:20 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
7 “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”—Matthew 22:37-39