Posted by: Veroni Kruger | March 26, 2016

Does Easter Have Any Bearing On Racism?

Of course it has!

Jesus died for all humankind, and never made any distinctions between people of any race.

Last week I posted Alexander Venter’s Pledge on Racism and said it provided a good programme for anyone who wants to rid themselves of racism.  Today I want to lend some more assistance, utilising  the main points in the pledge and giving practical tips.  In order for us to rid ourselves of racism, we should do the following:

Examine ourselves to see if we are harbouring racism

In another context, Alexander Venter describes four different kinds of racists.  here are some extracts from his description:

  • Confirmed racists are those who are still prejudiced and are open about it.  The attitudes of this group are hardening.
  • Suppressed racists are those who are still prejudiced, but have suppressed it in the name of political correctness, or keeping-the-peace, or fear of reprisal, or because of self-deception and psychological denial. Recovering racists are those who have acknowledged and faced their racial conditioning—racism is inbred if you were raised in SA—and are taking responsibility for it by consciously working on their thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and actions.
  • Recovering racists are those who have acknowledged and faced their racial conditioning—racism is inbred if you were raised in SA—and are taking responsibility for it by consciously working on their thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and actions. They have dealt with their guilt and are free.
  • Suppressed racists are those who are still prejudiced, but have suppressed it in the name of political correctness, or keeping-the-peace, or fear of reprisal, or because of self-deception and psychological denial. Recovering racists are those who have acknowledged and faced their racial conditioning—racism is inbred if you were raised in SA—and are taking responsibility for it by consciously working on their thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and actions.
  • Pre-racists or innocents are those who are in the pre-prejudice stage—our children. They are the racially innocent people, unless their parents or others have already infected them with their prejudice.
pp.124-125 in Doing Reconciliation – Racism, Reconciliation and Transformation in Church and World. [http://alexanderventer.com/product/bundle-doing-reconciliation/ and http://alexanderventer.com/racist-polarisation-in-sa/

Where do we fit in?  As we all know, self-awareness needs to lead to repentance if it is to mean anything.  The following points are helpful in this regard.  We should:

Acknowledge our participation in our nation’s racism

Our whole nation is suffering under the burden of a national racist legacy.  In order to rid our nation of this, each one of us should admit to the fact that apartheid was an evil system.  Sure, we may not be directly responsible for its legacy.  Nevertheless, we are responsible for how we respond to it today.

Cooperate with the Holy Spirit in bringing about reformation in our own minds and lives

With God’s help we can remove all prejudice from our hearts and minds.  God, whose vision for us is that we should become like His Son, is eager to work with us to make sure we  “do not conform to the (thought) pattern(s) of this world, but (are) transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12.2, parentheses mine).

Undergo a change of attitude

Having renewed minds should result in a change of attitude.  This will lead us to respect the dignity of every individual regardless of race, and we should give evidence of this changed attitude practically, in what we say and what we do.

Take up the correct position

Adopt a position that is in accordance with our changed attitude.  We should see ourselves as standing in solidarity with victims of hatred and violence.  This means we identify with them rather than watching from a distance what is happening.  Does news of bad things happening to people of races other than our own touch us as intensely as when the same things happen to people of our own race.

Allow all of the above to manifest in our daily lives

Changed attitude and assuming the correct position should manifest in our daily lives.  We may find that we are so accustomed to using certain expressions (e.g. “… typical of such and such a group/race, isn’t it?”) that we have to watch closely what we say.  I recommend we ask close friends and acquaintances to help us here by lovingly making us aware where we follow old habits of expression and behaviour.

We will also find it necessary to speak up in situations of prejudice, racism and exploitation of any persons.  This becomes very difficult where we feel threatened by what other people may think and even do to us, e.g. in public.  (Have you considered how those who are being disrespected or exploited feel?)  It also becomes difficult when we are in a close relationship with the perpetrators of racism.  We need real wisdom from above to know how to maintain relationships while asserting non-racist principles.  Biblical advice on this is to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4.15).

We have the privilege to be involved in the ongoing dialogue on racial equality in our country.   To be effective in this, we should learn to listen and join the dialogue  with patience, understanding and respect. This means active participation at all levels – personal, social, religious, and civil.  You can make a difference!

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Responses

  1. I am sure reverse racism are becoming alive and well South Africa. I agree with this article but he same type of article is so necessary for the black people in this country. It is impossible to stop racism from one side only!

    • Thank you for the comment, Jimmy. Of course, I never intended the article to be directed only towards people who are not black. I was writing for all South Africans regardless of race.


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