Taking a step back to think about racism

Staff Writer
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Mineral Daily News-Tribune

To the Editor:

if I thought that Steve Martin type "wild & crazy" ideas only applied to COVID-19, this past week or so has proven me mistaken on that.

Some of the race-related things we're seeing in the media coverage (print and otherwise) has given me great pause about the mindset around the country. Some of the things being said or proposed are anywhere from shocking to alarming.

So...we need to take a step back to reflect on all this - before we damage our society even more.

First of all, I have no intention of dwelling on my personal opinion. What I think is of no value whatsoever, unless I can show it coincides with what God has to say on the subject.

So...what I'd like to share today is mainly what God has to say about all this. (Including some supporting science). Knowing, of course, that 2nd Timothy 3:16 says "All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." So what God has to say should be of interest to all of us, because we'll all have to give account for ourselves when this life is over.

So, for instance, if we have some wrong thinking about people of a different color...now's the time to correct that. So, let's get started on the several points we'll ponder today:

A. Just how many "races" are there anyhow? Well, if you fill out a job application there's apparently a number of them - including black and white, of course.

And people throughout history have used this idea of different races to exterminate or subjugate other peoples who looked different than them.

But...we're told in Acts 17:26 that God "...hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth...". And, because we're all of "one blood,” the Red Cross can give a black man a white man's blood, or a white man a black man's blood. And it's the same for all other peoples - whether Eskimo, American Indian, or an Aboriginal Australian.

So, the Bible's clear...there's only one race...the human race.

B. But what about the "evolution" of all the races? Didn't they evolve separately over maybe a million years?

Well...not according to God they didn't. 1st Corinthians  15:45 says that Adam was "The first man...". And a recent scientific study of mitochondrial DNA of individuals on the various continents throughout the world traced everything back to three "nodes" only thousands of years ago. That suggests that all of present mankind can be traced back to three starting points.

Hmm...that's interesting.The flood of Noah was about 4,500 years ago, and there were only eight people who survived and walked off the ark: Noah, Mrs. Noah, their three sons and their three wives. Hmm...three nodes and three young men and their three wives.

So...assuming Mrs. Noah had no more children, it's entirely plausible these three nodes represent the three wives of Noah's sons.

C. But what about this “black” and “white” business? That’s real isn't it?

Well...let's examine that with a little science. Did you know that all humans have something called "melanin" in their skin? And some have more than others. And the amount of melanin determines the coloring of your skin.

So, you say, what's the big deal about that? Well, go try a little experiment in front of your bathroom mirror. And if you consider yourself “white,” then hold a piece of plain white typing paper alongside your cheek. Well...go ahead and try it.. you'll discover you're not as white as you thought you were.

Now, if you consider yourself “black,” then hold something black like an iPad up alongside your cheek. And you'll quickly realize that no “black” man is black.

Now...what does all this mean? Well...nobody is black and nobody is white...we're all just different shades of color. The more melanin, the darker the skin. The less melanin, the lighter the skin. And that's all there is to this business of “white” versus “black.” It's not real...it's bad science...and it's a terrible reason to think you're better (or inferior) to someone else.

So, now you ask, what do we do about all this? First of all...let's not make it worse. Racism is a problem of the heart and mind. You can't make somebody change. They have to decide that for themselves. Passing laws never changes what's embedded in someone’s heart. Neither will holding a sign for them to read. That tends to provoke anger - no matter how noble your intentions.

And we have so much anger and bitterness already, that I'm reminded of Paul's counsel to the Ephesians to "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you...". So, we should avoid becoming embroiled in any of that.

So, what can we do? Well, we can teach racism is wrong to others in our homes, schools, and churches. And we can touch the hearts of others by the example of our lives - and win people over one at a time.

So as I close today, I'd like to share with you the story of someone who shaped my heart on all this many years ago. Her name was Lizzie Harris. She and her son Alvin lived next door to my grandmother, and my parents moved us into the neighborhood when I was three. They were “colored” - no one was “black” yet in the 1950s.

And Alvin was one of my very first childhood friends. We often played in the dirt behind his house. And I remember so clearly how Mrs. Harris treated me. When it was time for lunch, she didn't send me back to my own home like most other parents did. She took me into the kitchen, where I could see she'd already fixed me and Alvin a sandwich and a glass of milk. But first, she would direct us boys to stand over by the kitchen sink. Then she'd run some warm water, and take her old worn wash cloth and carefully wash the dirt from our hands and mouth before we ate our lunch.

She treated me like I was one of her own kids. She didn't care that I was white...and I sure didn't care if she was colored. That kind lady molded my attitude for life, although I didn't know it then.

We sure need more people like Lizzie Harris today. And we should all aspire to be that kind of positive influence in the lives of others.

Sincerely & respectfully,

Gary Klavuhn

Short Gap