We don’t always need to talk about race

Many people, including Christians, seem to be obsessed with race and racial categories.

Rather than learning from the past, we seem to be re-emphasizing the old racial categories in a new way.

Surely we can do better?

Surely we should rather emphasize our common humanity and celebrate our cultural differences?

Surely those with more resources and opportunities should help those with less resources and opportunities regardless of the colour of their skin?

Surely emphasizing “race” plays into the hands of divisive politicians and leaders?

Surely we are all distant cousins in Adam and, if we are Christians, brothers and sisters in Christ.

Surely there are good and bad things in every culture that we can, with humility, learn from each other?

Surely Nelson Mandela’s dream of a Rainbow Nation was a good dream?

Surely we can say that a crime committed against any person, regardless of the colour of their skin, is a great tragedy?

Surely the colour of my skin should be as incidental to you in forming an opinion of me as the colour of my eyes ?

Surely in the pursuit of anti-racism we should not resort to racism?

Nine questions for those obsessed with “race”:

1. Can the black descendents of a black family originally from Africa living for generations in the USA be seen as “American”?

2. Can the Indian descendents of a family originally from India living for generations in England be seen as “British”?

3. Can the black descendants of a black family originally from Africa living in France for generations be seen as “European”?

4. Can the white descendents of a white family originally from Europe living in Africa for generations be seen as “African”?

5. How white do you need to be to be white?

6. How black do you need to be to be black?

7. Do you think that in the pursuit of anti-racism that many of the anti-racists have resorted to racism?

8. Could we (hopefully) say that we have moved beyond seeing people in terms of “race”?

9. Could we, additionally, start judging people by the content of their character, not the colour of their skin – as someone once famously dreamed about the future?

Two wrongs never make a right.

Let’s not repeat the same sinful, racial-categorization mistakes of the past.

Let’s appreciate and love people for who they are, and not what they look like or don’t look like.

Let’s help people who need help whatever the tone of their skin.

Let’s listen to the wisdom of others regardless of their degree of pigmentation.

Please don’t hear me to say we should not confront past and present injustices. We must. Of course, we must. But let’s not confront past and present racism with more racism.


Before you ask: Yes, I have read the book, “We Need to Talk about Race” and found it a very helpful. A great reminder that we must always seek to be mindful of and sensitive to the experiences and hurts of others.

I recommend the book, “The Madness of Crowds“. The author is not a Christian, but a gay atheist. The book contains a much needed critique of the crazy rhetoric and thinking around race, gender and identity in our world today. You and I may not agree with everything he says, but we may be challenged in our thinking in various areas.

I recommend we reflect deeply on Genesis 1-11 and it’s implications for #onehumanity, #onerace and #culturaldiversity.

I’ve written more on the subject here and here.


(Update 11/4/2020:)

I really appreciate this extract from the Freedom Charter signed by the ANC and others in South Africa in 1955. Awesome and admirable words:

“We, the People of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know: that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white…our country will never be prosperous or free until all our people live in brotherhood, enjoying equal rights and opportunities; that only a democratic state, based on the will of all the people, can secure to all their birthright without distinction of colour, race, sex or belief; And therefore, we, the people of South Africa, black and white together – equals, countrymen and brothers – adopt this Freedom Charter.”


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