Here is something I read on Facebook.
by Nathan Finn
I was raised to not be a racist. My parents did not tolerate racial slurs, they encouraged my brother and I to have friends who didn’t look like us, and we were taught that slavery and Jim Crow were evil and that the mid-20th-century Civil Rights Movement resulted in needed changes in American society. What my parents taught us was reinforced at our church. I’m thankful I was raised that way.
I have noticed in recent years that many white folks, including many white Christians, respond to arguments about communal and structural forms of racism by acknowledging that, while there are racists out there, they aren’t themselves racists. I take them at their word. Perhaps they were raised like I was, or they came to their non-racist convictions through other means. Thank God so many white folks are not racists!
However, both the witness of history and tragic recent events remind us that not being a racist is not enough. Followers of Jesus Christ should not just not be racists, but should be anti-racists because of our beliefs about the gospel and its implications. This is not a distinction without a difference. Simply not being a racist can lead to an over-reliance on the sort of individualistic responses to racism that are wonderful for your own interpersonal relations, but do not address communal or structural forms of racism. Being anti-racist means to not only embrace a non-racist posture in your personal life, but speaking out and seeking change where there are communal and structural forms of racism.
Let me speak more directly to my fellow “white evangelicals,” a term I don’t like but one that has become part of our public discourse. The vast majority of us are motivated by our faith to labor for the end of legalized abortion-on-demand. This is a godly priority. But if we are just “not for abortion,” while that would be great for our personal lives and families, it wouldn’t bring any change to society. Not for abortion is not enough. Because I am pro-life I am also anti-abortion. My personal convictions inform my public engagement that will, Lord willing, help bring about public change to evil practices and the systems that reinforce them.
This is exactly the posture white Christians should adopt toward racism. It is a good thing to not be a racist. Being a racist is incompatible with the way of Christ. But that alone won’t help to fix what is broken in our society. Our non-racism should lead to us becoming anti-racist in the same way our pro-life beliefs have led so many of us to be anti-abortion. Becoming anti-racists means we want things to change and we are committed to being a part of that change in ways that extend beyond our personal lives and families. In so doing, Lord willing, we will become part of the answer to our prayers that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.