Over the last few years, I’ve been exploring what it means to live out my faith in the context of racial justice and racial reconciliation. Throughout the process, God has led me to people of various ethnic backgrounds who have taught me so much about what it means to seek justice and reconciliation. The truth they’ve shared has shown me how little I know about the history of systemic racism in the United States.
I have learned about redlining. I have learned about laws denying entry to immigrants from Asian countries. I have learned about the denial of citizenship to anyone not considered “white.” I have learned about how the United States government stole land from indigenous people in the contiguous United States and Alaska and Hawaii.
As I’ve been learning, I’ve been most appalled by the actions of the white church to perpetuate and even protect these systems of injustice.
White church members argued for and benefited from the enslavement of Africans. White missionaries helped create the stereotypes of Asians as heathens who could never assimilate into Western culture. White Christians forcibly removed Native American children from their homes and stripped them of their heritage, language, and culture.
Many more white Christians turned a blind eye to the actions of others, choosing to ignore these injustices rather than speak up.
My heart breaks with the knowledge of how the white church has treated people of color in the United States and abroad. How could we have strayed so far from the teachings of Jesus as to treat other people as less valuable because of their skin color? And yes, I say “we” despite the fact I was not around to participate in most of these injustices.