I find myself this month returning to the subject of racism, not only because it dominates our national discourse, but also because I am astonished.
Astonished by the ignorance or unwillingness of many to acknowledge that racism and subsequent human enslavement is a universal travesty that has been perpetrated on the species since the beginning of time. Every race and every people group has suffered the indignities of slavery.
In the Judeo-Christian worldview, the shadow side of humanity (which we call sin) is, unfortunately more often than not, the dominating behavior we see. For those who have no desire to align with the Sacred and let Divine Love transform their hearts, they are left with sins proclivities towards unrighteousness:
There are six things that the Lord hates,
Seven that are an abomination to Him:
17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
And hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that run rapidly to evil,
19 A false witness who declares lies,
And one who spreads strife among brothers.
We have all sinned. We are all guilty. Sin in its extreme form fosters the most egregious acts by humans upon other humans.
The universality of slavery includes: Muslim-Arab slavery, slavery among Africans, slavery among Native Americans and Native South Americans, White slavery and slavery in Asia and India.
The following excerpts are taken from an article I read this week, What American Schools Should Teach About Race, Racism, and Slavery, by Dennis Prager.
It was the West, beginning with England and America, that abolished slavery.
Unlike the slaves under Arab-Muslim rule, most black slaves in America were allowed to have children and form families. Tens of millions of African slaves under Islamic-Arab rule were not allowed to form families (most males were castrated). About 340,000 African slaves were transported to America, while 12 million were transported to Brazil. Far more blacks—about 3 million from Africa and the Caribbean—have come to America willingly than came as slaves.
One of the greatest economists of the past half-century, Thomas Sowell, wrote: “More whites were brought as slaves to North Africa than blacks brought as slaves to the United States or to the 13 colonies from which it was formed. White slaves were still being bought and sold in the Ottoman Empire, decades after blacks were freed in the United States.”
None of that would be taught to diminish the evil of the transatlantic black slave trade, let alone to justify it. America’s schoolchildren should, of course, be taught about the horrors of the slave auctions, of the separation of many families, of the rapes, the beatings, and the lynchings. But nothing in history is understandable without perspective.
Unfortunately, there are those drawing us back into racial wars and segregation once again when we should be celebrating the resilience of people everywhere. LIFE IS SUFFERING. LIFE IS HARD. And yet, from my own experience and those of so many I know, we dig deep within us, in the most difficult of circumstances, and like the phoenix we rise from the ashes. We don’t choose victimhood; we turn our setbacks into comebacks.
On this Good Friday, we celebrate the shed blood, the cross at Calvary, Jesus the Christ, who paid for our sins and purchased our redemption.
Humankind can never pay the price, can never make reparations for the sins we’ve perpetrated on one other.
There is only one who can. It is finished.
In him, there is no more Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female; all are one in Christ Jesus.
Let us celebrate our “Oneness” and lay aside any racist thoughts.
Let us live resiliently.
Let us receive the Redemption purchased for us.
And as always, “Yet there is one ray of hope: his compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his loving-kindness begins afresh each day.” Lam. 3:22-23
Praying you find a new mercy today and everyday,