Life + Culture

I am racist.

Rev. Diane Kenaston

The following comes from a Rev. Diane Kenaston (originally posted here), the pastor of University United Methodist Church in St. Louis, which has a vision of growing as a multicultural, intergenerational congregation where people of all ages, nations, and races can "Be You, Be Loved, and Belong." 

I am racist.

I participate in racist systems and structures.

When I take an implicit bias test, my result is a “strong automatic preference for White people over Black people.” This has been true for at least ten years. (Take the test yourself at https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html ).

This sickens me and I cannot ignore it or deny it. It is part of who I am.

If you think that other people have been unfairly blaming or labeling you ("how dare you call me racist!"), it's time to look inward.

Racism, sexism, ableism, and all the other -isms are the powers and principalities of our age. We are part of patriarchal, white supremacist structures whether we choose to or not. As my favorite academic dean is fond of saying, "The whole damn system is guilty as hell!"

Image resultIt's not just about overtly racist acts and language. If being redeemed from racism meant just avoiding certain words or not committing hate crimes, then I could earn my own salvation.

But just as sin is way more than "the bad things we do," the sin of racism is way more than bigoted acts.

Even our best efforts at "doing good" are going to in some way fail because we are trapped in this body of death, in this creation that groans and aches for redemption. Yes, Jesus has already won and the kingdom of God has begun — but the full working out of Christ’s reign and the ultimate reconciliation of the world to himself are still ongoing.

And as part of that ongoing reconciliation, I confess my own sin. I'm led to repentance. And that’s what we need. We need a whole nation of white Christians willing to look honestly at ourselves in the mirror and say, “Yes, that’s me."

Lord, have mercy.

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