“The Struggle” is the hottest thing to talk about today regarding race relations
There is no doubt Ferguson is a tragedy. But so are all of the other times someone’s life is taken too early. To only have a discussion on this one example is disingenuous. As the Huffington Post points out, the murder rate for black Americans is four times the national average. This is clearly a big problem. But we are not going to work through it by writing articles like the Washington Posts’ blaming “… White Rage Against Progress” on the Ferguson issue. This argument comes up in popular culture too. The TV show “blackish” is about a Father who is dealing with his kids losing their black culture in a white affluent neighborhood. I just watched an episode where he continued the talk about “the struggle.” The struggle he is talking about is the horrible history of African Americans throughout American history and how he thinks his kids are losing their black heritage.
I want to explain why “the struggle” is such a toxic way to approach reconciliation:
There are some very real problems with focusing on “the struggle.” It ignores the details of individual events. It deflects us away from the real struggle; our struggle with sin, it places the blame of our ancestors on today’s youth, and ignores the other relevant issues that give insight into today’s problems. As a society, we must be able to discuss all of these things to move forward. Excusing the existing problems by blaming another race is disingenuous and hurtful. We simply won’t move forward until we deal with more than “the struggle.” Let me dig into this a little deeper:
Is logically flawed
It is a logical fallacy to take individual’s who are bad actors and assume that an entire group of people are bad actors because they look the same. It is also bad thinking to do the opposite. You can’t immediately look at a particular instance of a bad act and presuppose that it had something to do with race. Should we call all black people thugs because some are? No more than we should call white people privileged and guilty because some are.
Another logical problem with “the struggle” is it fails to place both discrimination and blame on the proper people. There is almost a 100% chance that youth today were not allowed to go to school or kept someone from going to school; were forced to the back of a bus, or forced people to the back of a bus; or were slaves, or slave owners. In fact, it is extremely likely that they wouldn’t even know somebody that knew somebody that did.
“The struggle” mentality seeks to replace justice
We have a justice system in the country and it is one of the best in the world. One thing that has come out of “the struggle” mindset is the belief that they have the right to usurp the judicial system. Before even looking at the evidence of an event, demonstrators demand indictments and prosecution of those they deem to deserve it.
Why did Ferguson burn? Because rioters believed they were the ones who could determine justice rather than the court system. Where did this come from? A flawed logic that concluded Wilson was guilty because of race. It was not based on evidence. In fact, a grand jury made up of peers concluded that the actual evidence supported Wilson’s testimony, and so did several black witness.
The only way to protect innocent people and prosecute guilty people is to base justice on evidence, not on race.
The struggle we should be talking about is our struggle with sin
If we want to restore America, we better change the dialogue. The real struggle is with sin. When the human race fell in the Garden of Eden, the land became cursed and sin entered the world. Ever since, our struggle has been with sin. God’s response was to offer us His law in the Old Testament so we could know what was and wasn’t sin. Ultimately, our sinful nature kept us from meeting that law. In response, God sent Jesus to pay for our sin to redeem us and all we have to do is accept His free gift of salvation. This is the framework we are working under today. As Christians, we are called to bring people to Jesus, not to seek multiculturally relevant fairness.
These two ways of thinking could not be further from each other. “The struggle” emphasizes a generations-long battle between races. It defines people by race and sets them opposed to each other. It takes the sin of some and places it on others, usually their offspring generations later. At the same time, it emphasizes to African Americans that they are owed something they don’t have and happily points to white people as the cause. The “white rage” article is nothing new, it is just wrapped up in different packaging.
While “the struggle” breaks people into different categories, the Christian perspective is a unifying one. Sin is by nature personal. We are all unified together throughout race, history, and economic status in the conviction of our own personal sin. It levels the playing field and points out who wretched we all actually are. We are in desperate need of a savior.
Personally, I don’t know how a Christian can get wrapped up in what is essentially modern moral thinking. It is simply an incorrect way of thinking and is extra-biblical. As a Christian we unify people through Christ because of the conviction of personal sin. Romans 11:17 talks about how we are grafted together. I simply don’t see how it is possible to graft together if we frame our issues by defining us into opposing races like “the struggle” does. We need to get past that to move forward.
The Christian perspective was crafted from a people who were slaves, minorities, and immigrants. It is extremely relevant for today. In Egypt, God didn’t demand pharaoh to treat his Jewish slaves fairly, or give them citizenship, or even wealth. He simply sent the message “let my people go.” God is jealous for us and want’s us to be restored. We can all be “His people” because we can be grafted into his vine. Being reconciled with God is not about race, it is about an all out war on our own sin, which is what separates us from God, and from each other.
If we want to restore America, we need to focus our struggle on sin, not race. Christians have a longer view of things. Our efforts should be focused on saving people, not making them equal. What good is equality for our short life on earth if we fail to bring people to Christ. Heaven and hell are real, and the only way to get to Heaven is through Christ. It would be a cosmically bad mistake to miss the point of our efforts.