As Christians, we know that racism is a sin against God. We all were created in the image of God (Genesis 5:1-3). Because each of us was created by God, we are all united together with Him and each other. Racism is an attack on the image of God because it rejects the idea that each of us is valuable. In Mark 12: 28-31 we are additionally called to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Racism goes against the commandment of love. Deuteronomy 10:17-19 echoes God’s love, saying He cares about His people regardless of ethnicity, nationality, or social status.
These basic principles are universally agreed upon across denominations and people. However, what to do about combatting racism is not something as widely talked about. It is not enough for Christians to say they are not racist. We must be allies that are anti-racist, meaning we stand up to the injustice that we see. Part of Isaiah 1:17 states, “Learn to do good; seek justice; correct oppression…” The Bible instructs us to do our part in making the world a fairer place for all.
There are many ways that you and your church can stand up against racial oppression, but they may not have been promoted towards you and therefore you are confused what to do next. Here are a few that you can start doing immediately to show your support for the minority communities around you.
Call racism what it is, a sin.
As people debate over the politics intertwined with racism in our country, it is the job of Christians to simply condemn it in all its forms. Do not be afraid to remember the basic truth: racism is a sin. We must renounce the hateful ideology that comes with it. Ephesians 2:14-18 reminds us that Jesus can remove hostility and introduce harmony. When we shy away from the topic because we fear confrontation or how we might be perceived, we are sinning against God. We are called to publicly stand up for those that need it, just as Jesus stood up for the oppressed in Luke 4:16-19.
Recognize the privilege you have.
If you are not a part of a minority community, you likely have some sort of privilege. Racial injustice plays out across social, economic, and political environments. It is deeply rooted within the foundations of the United States. One of the best ways to eliminate these injustices if by first recognizing it within yourself. For example, white privilege is something regularly talked about in the news today. White privilege means being able to find band-aids in your skin color and seeing your race well represented across media platforms. It means you are not followed in stores because someone is thinking you will steal because of your race. It does not mean that you will not face your own struggles in life, but the struggles you face will not be due to your race. There is even Christian privilege. For example, the holidays you celebrate will always be acknowledged by your work. There is also socio-economic privilege, gender privilege, and heterosexual privilege. If you are someone who lives a life of these privileges, you can use it to your advantage when sticking up for the oppressed.
Listen to people of other races.
One of best ways to stop racism in yourself is by listening to other experiences. Just because you have not experienced racism does not mean it does not exist. We should not be afraid to discuss oppression and discrimination openly with other communities. Ignorance is not bliss in this situation. When we advocate against domestic violence, we ensure to listen to survivors. Racial injustice is no different. We must create a space where people of color feel empowered to share their stories. This way we can learn about how racism continues to affect our society. This includes challenge the ideology that we should be “colorblind” to race. When someone says they are colorblind, it devalues the real and scary injustices that minority communities go through. Recognizing someone’s color is recognizing the struggles they have gone through and validating those experiences.
Call out racist “jokes” and statements.
We all have that weird uncle that makes inappropriate jokes about race during Thanksgiving dinner. As a Christian, it is your duty to speak up for the oppressed and let the person know that theses statements are not okay. Creating a culture with more justice starts in the home. Do you want your children to repeat such language? The minority communities should not be expected to teach white people how to treat them with respect, decency, and honor. Jesus already has taught us how; there are just people who choose to make insensitive comments anyways. Not saying anything against these statements or even laughing along implies that you agree. Staying silent is not an acceptable option, and we must start having hard conversations with our loved ones.
Become an activist.
There are ways you can support minority communities outside of your home and yourself. Signing petitions, joining protests, or donating to important causes are all great ways to lift up these oppressed communities. Try to shop at small, minority-owned businesses. Invite people of color to your church or give them opportunities at your workplace. Seek out organizations in your local area that could use your support.
It is not enough for Christians to say they do not stand for racism; they must take action against it. Jesus called for us to be stewards of His Good Word and live out our lives as Jesus would. Jesus regularly gave a helping hand to all those in need, especially the oppressed and devalued lives of the time. As a Christian, you also must take a stand.