What Has Race Got To Do With It?Sue Afutu
Oxford languages has defined racism as prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or is marginalized. Racism has also been defined as the belief that different races possess distinct characteristics, abilities, or qualities, especially so as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another. Hence the notion or concept of the “theories of racism”. From the definitions given, it is evident that the concept of racism is also sometimes used to refer to the practice of ethnic bias or discrimination. Racist ideology is also associated with xenophobia, segregation and hierarchical ranking.
Racism was fueled by the European age of imperialism, the subsequent growth of capitalism and especially the trans-Atlantic slave trade. However the concept that one race is superior to another has been proved not to have any basis in science. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948 stated in article one that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”. It further stated in article 2 that “everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”.
From a Biblical point of view, we understand that God made human beings in his own image and what this means is that human beings all over the world have the ability to reflect his innate qualities – kindness, power, dominion etc. (Genesis 1: 26 -28).
The fathers who fought the abolition of slavery – such as Granville Sharp in Britain or the Quakers in America were all propelled by the belief that all human beings are equal and worthy of respect.
As humans we need to appreciate the fact that we are all from one stock. From one blood, God made every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings (Acts 17:26). We had no hand in where we were born be that Africa, Europe, North America, South America, Asia or Australasia. And the argument certainly extends further that even with these continents, we did not choose which particular country we would find ourselves. All this was divinely determined.
As such we need to appreciate and celebrate the difference the diversity in race and culture brings. As has been proved time and again both blacks and white can perform optimally if given the same opportunity and training. Pardon me to say, the white man goofs, the black man also goofs. The white man excels, the black man also excels.