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Why does one race feel they are better than another? Why does one religion feel they are better than another? Why does one political party feel they are better than another? The answer to every persons prejudice can be found in the state of their heart.
It is only through humilty in God that we can purify our hearts and have a proper attitude toward one another.
Imagine this: It’s been a hard day and you are looking for some laughs, so you and some friends go out to a local comedy club. You are ready to be entertained and the comedian begins yelling inflammatory racial epithets that neither you nor your group find very funny. In November of 2006 that’s exactly what happened; former “Seinfeld” co-star Michael Richards was doing his comedy routine at the Laugh Factory comedy club in Los Angeles when after being heckled by members of the audience he went off on a racial tirade that reverberated across the nation. But what was the difference between Michael Richards' racial tirade and the many racial tirades of the comedy great, Richard Pryor? Richard Pryor made race the cornerstone of many of his comedy routines yet his comments were received differently from Michael Richards. It’s not that what we do is not important but God is more concerned with why we do what we do because the reasons for our actions go to the source which can only be found in our heart.
In December of 1865 the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolished slavery in America. The government can legislate laws that govern people’s behavior but at the core of racism are heart issues, one of which is the belief that one race is superior to another. Overt racism, as with Michael Richards' comments, is considered to be politically incorrect; however, more subtle forms of racism exist such as in the real estate industry where there are reported cases of black people with the same credit score not qualifying for specific loan programs especially when the homes were in certain neighborhoods. An even more stealthy form of racism is when a person is not hired because on their application they have an afro centric name or on the telephone the person sounds as if he or she is black. Let’s not forget that racism is a double edge sword. In the past the Nation of Islam has advocated Yacub’s history which in essence taught that the black man created the white man as a genetic experiment that went bad; as a result all white people were considered to be devils. Willie Lynch was a British slave owner who taught that the way to subjugate slaves was to instill fear, envy, and distrust amongst the slaves. He taught slave owners to have the women turn against the men, the light complexioned slaves to turn against the dark complexioned slaves, and those with higher status against those with lower status. In 1988 Director Spike released his feature film “School Daze” which took place on a fictional historically black college campus. The movie highlighted the same rifts that Willie Lynch used to keep black people in shackles. Although racism is alive and well in America, black people perpetrate their own prejudices on one another whether it is their complexion, social status, or the intergender contempt that exists; the answer is found in the state of our heart.
Racism is not just in the DNA of America, the genocide of the six million Jews that were slaughtered during the Nazi holocaust is a terrible example of the state of man’s heart. As long as we look at racism on the surface we will never understand that at its root, is pride and the feeling deep within man that one person or group is better than the other. Palestinian Arabs share the same racial heritage but the militant political party of Hamas is responsible for killing members of the more moderate Fatah political party. Iraqi Muslims share the same faith in Islam but Sunni’s and Shiites are killing one another on a wholesale level. So then why can’t we all get along? The Bible says in Jeremiah 17:9 “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked who can know it?” People don’t get along on racial, political, or religious lines because we have an enemy that seeks to kill, steal, and destroy, but also because of the state of our hearts.
At the end of the day we need to look in the mirror before we judge one another because the mirror is not only for reflection but for correction. We have to be honest about ourselves because no man can pass a human audit. The mirror will also reveal that we were all created by the same God in His image with our forefather being Adam. With our forefather being Adam, that ultimately means that we are all family; in the broader context we belong to the human race. The reason that we cannot get along with one another is because God has never asked us to do anything that we can do by ourselves. While it is true we need to apply political, cultural, and social solutions to racism, ultimately we need to ask God to transform our hearts so that we may have His heart in all our relationships.