The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Facing racism by Derek Flood

A thought provoking article on racism from theologian Derek Flood author of “Disarming Scripture” in which he talks about how we should “remove the log from our eye before we take the splinter from our brother’s eye”.

What are your thoughts on it?

Here’s a related article “Subtle Racism and the Problems It Poses”

"everyday racism (is defined as) as “subtle, commonplace forms of discrimination, such as being ignored, ridiculed or treated differently…These are incidents that may seem innocent and small, but cumulatively they can have a powerful impact on an individual’s mental health.”

It gives many examples, but a church related one struck my attention:
"Say a Chinese American man visits a mostly white church for a few weeks but each Sunday no one talks to him. Moreover, few people even bother to greet him. Meanwhile, a white visitor to the church is invited out to lunch during his very first visit. Churchgoers not only talk to him but supply him with their phone numbers and email addresses. In a matter of weeks, he’s thoroughly enmeshed in the church’s social network.

The church members may be surprised to learn that the Chinese American man believes he was the victim of racial exclusion. After all, they just felt a connection with the white visitor that they lacked with the Chinese American man. Later, when the topic of increasing diversity at the church comes up, everyone shrugs when asked how to attract more parishioners of color. They fail to connect how their coldness to the people of color who do occasionally visit makes their religious institution unwelcoming to them."

One thing not emphasized enough is that black people are by and large much more racist than white, in this day and age. Black people themselves admit this, though they may feel ‘justified’ in their bigotry - which imo is no excuse.

I perceive that what’s not recognized enough is that when minority races who have suffered complain of subtle racism, the natural response of many in the historically dominant race is that those in the minority races are worse, and more racist, than they have been.

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Not a fan of Derek Flood’s theology. Don’t agree with him on this, either… Removing the log has nothing to do with the idea that we must be perfect to remove or point out flaws in others. It is more about hypacrasy in any given area. Like a computer specialist telling a carpenter how frame windows. Why don’t you first learn how to do it before trying to tell an expert how to do it. This doesn’t mean, like many apply it to mean, that a computer specialist should refrain for pointing out flaws with his specialty. Last thing we need, are people giving moral advice when they themselves are broken in a specific area.

Bob, I have read direct quotes from a number in the ‘black community’ that have made the claim that the members of that community are much more racist than most whites.
That’s where MY perception comes from.

I think our doctrine is relevant to the question of racism.

  • I believe that everything that has been made was made through Jesus, and that in the beginning, God said it was all good.

  • I believe in a literal Adam and Eve, made on a literal sixth day, and that we are all genetically descended from them, whatever our race.

  • And I believe that God, who is love, loves each person as much as He loves Jesus.

Regarding the rôle of Jesus as Savior, we read,

“Since THE CHILDREN have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—" Hebrews 2:14.

As a Christian who holds these beliefs, it’s not possible for me to concurrently hold beliefs of racial superiority or inferiority.

So, where does racism come from? We live in a fallen world. I would argue there are literal fallen angels who actively seek to manipulate and destroy mankind. And I think that blindness about this fact, and also about the many freely available benefits from the victory of Jesus at the cross, keeps mankind in bondage.

And I would argue that ideas of racial superiority, eugenics, and atheism are reinforced by the theory of Darwinian Evolution (the belief that all life forms on earth descended from a single unicellular organism, which itself arose from inanimate matter through spontaneous generation).

Given that background, I now want to express my disagreement with brother Derek Flood that “evangelicals today so overwhelmingly support Trump…not in spite of his racist cruelty, but because of it.” And speaking for myself, I haven’t observed that the “stance of 'aggrieved whites’ of course is the constant mantra of Fox News.”

I am an evangelical Christian, but I sure don’t naïvely expect the government or the press to act Christian; so as a Christian citizen, I have a responsibility to prayerfully discern what news sources to watch, and which candidates to vote for—and sometimes I have to hold my nose when I do so, since there is a limited selection. But it appears to me that on the question of how we are to correctly recognize and oppose racism, Derek has bought into political correctness at the expense of truth.

I’m not following your sense that removing our own logs is irrelevant. Isn’t recognizing our own hypocrisy and brokenness a central part of dealing with our own ‘logs’?

Yes, there’s plenty of racism to go around, and I do think minorities who have borne the historic brunt of racism often respond with their own racist outlook to keep themselves from feeling on the bottom. Indeed, I applaud blacks who recognize their own depth of racism.

But my perceptions come from interaction with many minority friends, and I don’t find that the view you’ve read is very dominant. I find most minorities understandably focus on the discrimination they perceive that the advantages of the majority race have inflicted on them, and tend to feel that the racism that historically has been able to inflict the most damage is that exercised by those with the most power and wealth, who are often a nation’s majority race (or those connected to European colonial powers).

But I hope blacks will increasingly recognize their own insidious racism, just as I think we in the majority race need to recognize the great harm that the submerged logs in our own eyes may perpetuate.

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Mississippi man gets 11 years behind bars for burning cross outside black family’s home

I thought I was clear, but may not have been. The idea that we must first be perfect is NOT a requirement to apply this rule. One just merely needs to be have overcome/gone through that particular issue to be able to assist and point out the fault of others. I can give people solid fitness and diet advice, but there are other areas where I am better to just shut my mouth and work on whatever problem I see in others, that I also tend to share.

People are using this verse to essentially say “You are not perfect, you have problems too! so you shouldn’t say anything at all” - I disagree with that interpretation of the verse. If someone has been through drug addiction, came out the other side, they are perfectly qualified to point out the destructive natures of drugs and be a guide for the way out. The fact that they might be a sex addict, or whatever else that exists, has no bearing on being able to assist in drug related addictions. They have been there, been through it.

Thanks, if he’s claiming that we must be “perfect” before we point out what’s problematic in another, I agree with you. Still, as a progressive myself, I appreciate Flood’s point that we need to be slower to uncompassionately condemn our opponents as having a corner on racism.

The problem I have is the PC nature of a bunch of white Christians. I am calling it out, because I see it. My bi-racial nephews (black!) consider that pathetic ilk. They see people, who want to to see everything as racist. The last few polls taken recently, have shown that the left is FURTHER left on racism than people of color. That is hilarious to me!

This chick on Quora has the PERFECT response to “white guilt” phenomenon.

https://www.quora.com/How-do-you-deal-with-white-guilt

Anceline Noel, studied Psychology & French Language and Literature at Bryn Mawr College

Updated Apr 26, 2018

A few months ago, I was sitting in what was a required equity, diversity, and inclusion training at my office. We were separated into pairs, and I ended up partnered with one of the managers who just so happens to be tall, blond, and male.

As soon as we sat down I noticed that he was tense, awkward, and apologetic. I confess that I am not a meetings kind of person, and my patience was probably not at optimal levels. So, when the first thing out of his mouth was something along the lines of feeling bad, because I had gone through life experiencing far more racism than he had, I simply squinted, raised an eyebrow, and asked him how in the hell he could possibly know that. It seemed to give him some pause, and then he had to admit that he really didn’t.

White guilt is stupid, and I say that as a person of color, who has experienced some really unpleasant racist incidents in my time on this planet.

Personally, I have absolutely zero desire to punish people for things that happened in the past, for which they couldn’t possibly be expected to have any ability to have stopped in the present. I also have zero desire to guilt people for their subconscious biases – of which I have plenty myself.

I don’t want apologies, I don’t want reparations, and for the love of God, I do not want everybody’s misplaced guilt. Its awkward, and its cringe inducing, because how in the hell am I supposed to forgive someone for something that they didn’t even do and/or didn’t consciously set out to do?

What would be nice, is if everyone could simply acknowledge that some f***** up things were done, that those f***** up things were done not overly long ago, and that their effects are still impacting the way we all relate to one another and the way that society operates today. Privilege is a real thing, and even as a poor, victimized person of color (sarcasm), I have it in some different forms. I’m educated, I come from a financially stable family, my speech patterns conform to the dominant culture, I have a pretty face etc. I freely acknowledge that I have these things working in my favor and that they have given me a leg up. What I don’t do is feel guilty and apologetic over them. I am who I am, and I have never consciously set out to hurt anyone else. However, simply given the fact that I exist as I exist in this moment, I am inadvertently hurting someone and/or something, somewhere, some way, and somehow. That is true for every single person on this planet whether they want to acknowledge it or not.

And, perhaps if more people did acknowledge that fact, maybe instead of playing the blame game, and the he owes me this for that game, people might finally be able to acknowledge that it would be far more beneficial, if everyone could start trying to figure out how to move forward in a way that didn’t continue alienating entire groups of people from one another. Because, that has pretty unanimously been deemed to be bad - at least, in the way that society currently conceptualizes these sorts of things at this point in time.

Racism is illogical, but so is blaming and expecting apologies from an entire group of people for things that were done before they were even born.

Time for me to shut up now.

I work with a guy that that would probably get verbally destroyed by both of my nephews in person and he sees himself as a hero of anti-racism. Yet my nephews are about as far left as Bob… So we know it aint right-wing brainwashing.

Amen, I hope I wasn’t advocating being PC. I hate it when the left or the right runs with their PC stuff. And the words from the “chick” you quote nicely sum up the need I see.

I think Flood was trying to call out this PC stuff where he says:

“It’s easy to write of racism as a problem “over there” in evangelicalsm, or in the South. In fact, it’s really common for progressives and liberals in an attempt to “out-woke” each other to condemn others for the sins of racism and white privilege. People will be shamed and ostracized on social media, calls will go out for people to be fired and shunned for some insensitive comment or act. In that atmosphere of self-righteous progressivism, it’s really no wonder people react defensively. They act like they are being attacked and condemned because… well, they are. Progressives see themselves as champions of compassion, but boy can they be merciless.”

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