Diplomatic Notes

Conquering racism and other ‘isms’

One of the most contentious topics in the world today is the topic of racism – and rightly so. Racism is heinous and utterly destructive and should be combated with all of the resources available. Racism should be rooted out and overturned wherever it exists. The only problem with the discussion of racism is that many people who are zealous about racism are misguided because they have focused on a person’s skin color – leaving the impression that racism is inherent or intrinsic to a skin color. Racism is not about skin color. It is about ideology that has infiltrated races and ethnic groups. You can never destroy racism by attacking a person. Racism is destroyed by attacking a flawed ideology.

One of the biggest mistakes made when it comes to racism is the belief that racism is a black and white thing and that white people are inherently racist. While racism in recent times has been perpetuated by white people, history reveals that racism is a part of the legacy of every race. There are Black racists, white racists, Asian, African, Arab and every other ethnic group has been racist and are racist in one way or the other. Historically, white people were once enslaved and discriminated against by Asians, Arabs and other ethnic groups. Arabs have and still do perpetuate racism against Black, white, Asian and others in the Middle East, and other areas of the world. Racism is universal and should be looked at from that perspective. Any group can and has been racist in the past. We have to combat the ideology of racism wherever it exists, and in every group or culture that it exists.

With that said, racism is just one of the “isms” that are affecting us negatively. I just returned from South Africa for the fifth time and was able to speak with various tribes who described how Black people were racist against each other; they call it tribalism. Some tribes in Africa enslaved other tribes that they deemed themselves superior to – and even to this day, there is tribalism that has very racist overtones. Being Black or Asian does not free you from the possibility of being racist. No ethnic group is exempt. In Black communities, there is the problem of colorism. People are discriminated against based upon the shade of their skin. Black people of different shades had been judging one another based upon their shade. The list and spectrum of racism and colorism is infinite.

The bottom line is that we need to destroy the ideology of all “isms” and get to the point where Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We should fight and protest against racism. The negative consequences and inequities of racism should be corrected, including reparations in the right context. If we ever stop at racism perpetrated by white populations, then we perpetuate an illusion that racism is a white problem. Racism is a human problem that has been with us from the beginning of time and will be with us to the end of time.

All “isms” should be treated the same way and we should seek to change the ideology or not allow the ideology of racism or any other “ism” to persist. All races must come together and fight racism. Within races, the ideology of colorism should also be destroyed and placed in the same waste bin as racism. People are people and capable of good and evil in every skin color. What motivates them and causes their behavior is the ideology that drives them. This should be the focus of our attention if we are to defeat racism and other “isms”.

• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to pastordaveburrows@hotmail.com. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.

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