The Only Superior Race
I struggle with the public debate on race. It isn’t that I don’t think the debate is important. It’s just that I wish it was unnecessary. We waste so much time finding reasons to hate one another.
As I was preparing to enter my last year of elementary school in Indianapolis, Indiana, I was assigned to a new school as a part of a city desegregation plan. It was a difficult time in my life, as I was separated from most of my classmates and placed in a strange place under unusual circumstances. I was in my share of fights that year, including one with a switchblade pushed up against my ribcage. My attackers settled for a stomach punch and let me go.
The rest of the details are unimportant. What is noteworthy is the distaste I developed for prejudice. I dreamed of a day when people no longer judged one another based on a “book’s cover”, but on the story inside. And I was naïve enough to think that day would come.
I also thought Captain Kirk and Spock were like brothers.
One of the most disheartening facts of life is that as long as people have anything that distinguishes them from others, there will be a reason to hate. I am convinced, if there were a people group where everyone had a freckle on the top of their left ear, there would be some reason for those without the freckle to distrust them.
For this reason, although I would like to say we settled everything when I was in elementary school, I realize this is a fantasy. There are also layers of prejudice that cannot possibly be uncovered in a generation. Understanding is a process that never ends.
But lest we forget, I feel a need to remind us all of an ultimate reality: there is only one superior race. The good news is, we are all members of it.
The human race that is.
All of the ignorant things people say in an attempt to place one heritage above another fall flat in the face of Genesis 1:17 which reads, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Made “in the image of God” sounds superior to me.
Please realize, I am not blind to the cultural differences that separate us. These play into the stereotypes that perpetuate our prejudices. But it makes me sad when we use our differences as an excuse to hate rather than an opportunity to enrich our lives.
I have resigned myself to the high probability that prejudice will always be with us. I suppose we must all choose how we will proceed, but as for me, I am going to do my best to see people through the eyes of Jesus. The Apostle Paul once wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
As far as I can tell, there is only one distinction I should care about as a believer: whether someone knows Christ or not. And I am commanded to love both groups with the heart of God.
So, no matter what, the defining characteristic of those who are a part of the superior race is love.
If I can’t love, then maybe I’m not a member after all.