April 24, 2006

Racial Issues

I was inspired to post by Jeff's post on racial profiling at God Don't Make Junk, that I picked up through the Wesley Daily.

Without a doubt, some places still need a lot of growing up to do. I've experienced enough racial profiling second hand, myself being a very white Caucasian, bordering on translucent with red hair. One experience was very similar to what Jeff wrote about, except it was with a Caucasian-Mexican friend of mine who looks quite Mexican. That was the only time I've felt threatened being pulled over by the police - hands on gun holsters, looking nervously at my friend in the back seat. (I-44 highway in Missouri.) I have a game I play here in Kansas City KS/MO, and I-70 into Saint Louis, it's guessing the race of the person who's been pulled over by not one, but two police cars. I'm rarely wrong, because it's always an African-American or Latino who's been pulled over.

Much less threatening, yet still annoying is my Indonesian wife who gets carded for using her credit card 95% of the time she uses it. And when I say carded, I mean carefully studying the card, looking at her face, then looking over the card again carefully. Caucasians, how often do you get carded for using a credit/debit card? It only happens to me once or twice a year.

It's very sad. Equality is not a balance of power segregated by race lines, but all of God's children seeing each other as such without color and race. The biggest beef I have with racial anything is that no one seems to focus on this, rather they are focus on segregated balance. I don't feel that helps stop or slow racisim, and feel it's a reason we've only made it this far yet. Individuals seem to want recognition as upstanding citizens of their race, rather than human beings or children of one Father. I think this is due to a couple prominent factors.

People confuse culture with race.
Race is genetic, culture is experiential. I am an Austrian-Hungarian, Croatian-Bohemian, German-French-Irish individual … and I think I missed one or two in all seriousness. The fact I'm Caucasian with hazel eyes and red hair in no way binds me to the culture I've experienced - period. Hold onto your culture, lose the racism.

People are naturally more comfortable with those whom they have more in common with, whether by race or culture.
Pull up some multi-racial situations in your mind. How often do you see all races equally dispersed, sitting amongst each other? More likely than not, you'll see groups segregated by race or culture. Why, because they're all racist? No, because people drift toward others whom they have more in common with, more likely by culture. I think this bends us naturally toward segregation.

You know what we all have in common though? Humanity. Can we focus on this instead?

1 comment:

Andy B. said...

Nice post, Brian. I'm north of the river here in KC, and this area is rapidly becoming one of the most culturally diverse in the region. We are right across the street from North KC High School, where 25+ languages are spoken. Although there is some cross-cultural mixing, for the most part people "drift toward others whom they have more in common with, more likely by culture." The key is seeing beyond the surface to the common humanity within.