Racism isn’t always hiding in the depths of our thought life—it’s sometimes quite blatant. For example, I remember eating lunch with my friends in the cafeteria of our 99% white high school when a friend confessed that they were racist to some extent.
What tears me up even to this day is what happened next: “Yeah, me too,” I replied. If I remember right, I believe others agreed as well.
Out of everyone at that lunch table, I should have been the one to call out the sin. After all, unlike all of these kids who had grown up in this small white town, I had just moved from a suburban school that was the most diverse school I had ever attended—and I had a lot of black friends there! So what the heck was wrong with me all of the sudden?
The truth? It had something to do with music videos. I only lived in this white town for about two years, but somehow that was enough time for me to forget my actual black friends and reach the conclusion that all black people had the same lifestyle as represented in what I saw on MTV. My friends were no longer people, but gangsters who only cared about drugs, sex, money and violence.
Eventually, God convicted me that I was being a hypocrite. How on earth had I missed the fact that white music videos were all about the same exact things? Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll all go together, right? How could I have been so blind?
It hurts me to even retell this story, but if I can recognize racism in me, I can destroy those thoughts and begin to see it more clearly in both myself and others and begin to speak to it. If I hide it—or even worse, ignore it—I might revert to the version of myself that was sitting at that lunch table.
There must be peace among us. We must fight injustice. We must become what Jesus expected his church to be. Jesus is not coming back for a white bride, but a diverse one! He’s coming back for a bride whose genetics show signs of every race—one that is at peace within herself and not at war —one that represents what Paul called “the fullness of the Gentiles” (Ro 11:25).