Helping Us Understand Racism

Posted: September 16, 2011 by jperritt in Drama
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“18 people were killed in Jackson that night. 10 white and 8 black. I don’t think God has color in mind when he sets a tornado loose.” – Aibileen Clark

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.” – James 2:1

Our focus yesterday was addressing a broader theme of The Help, that being, bringing the truth to light. As we said yesterday, this should be applauded by Christians and we must strive to bring the truth to light. The truth the film brings to light is the racial hatred expressed by well-to-do Jacksonians in the 1960’s. This racism was expressed in many ways throughout the film.

As racism proclaims one race being superior to another, division and superiority were constantly sought after by the majority of whites in the film. Characters from the film exclaimed that blacks carried different diseases than whites; forcing them to use separate bathrooms. There was a constant paranoia, or lack of trust, of blacks – the white characters accused them of stealing many times. Fear and inferiority were constantly fed and instilled in the black help. Not only was this instilled in the black help, but also the white children. They were raised to believe they were superior to blacks, and this was solely based on the outward appearance of man.

In Christianity we know that God looks at the heart of man, not the color [1 Sam. 16:7]. With the exception of a few in the film, the whites judged and condemned blacks because they looked different on the outside. Although most of the white characters were more educated, they proved themselves to be quite ignorant because they thought skin color showed superiority. Hilly Holbrook [Howard] even professes to be a Christian, yet won’t share “her” money (we know it’s God’s money) with her help because of skin color.

To be quite honest, there were many times in the film I was ashamed and disgusted by my own race. To see the way whites treated blacks in the 60’s was appalling. While viewing the film, both races were represented in the theater, and I watched to see reactions from both. At the conclusion of the film, I almost felt like apologizing to those present on behalf of the white race because of their unbiblical actions.

Holbrook’s racism was all the more disgusting, because she proclaimed the name of Christ. By this profession, she represented Jesus to those she came into contact with, but was acting in a manner which disgraced Christ’s name. Sadly, we dishonor the name of Christ each and every day of our lives. Even more sadly, we do so by racism. I wish we could say that racism was something we dealt with in the past, but it’s still around. The reality is, racism isn’t just something that occurred in the 60’s or something that was confined to MS. Racism is seen across the globe in every age and it is something we must continue to battle. It may manifest itself in different ways, but it is still present and something Christians need to be combating more than anyone else.

Looking to Scripture, we see the Jews believing they were superior to the Greeks. “For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised [Jews] by faith and the uncircumcised [Greeks] through that same faith.” [Rom. 3:28-30].

Superiority of race is something that has always been, and sadly, will always be an issue we wrestle with. To be quite honest, and I want to be careful about communicating this, there is a superior race. This superior race is not superior because of skin color, level of education, affluence, geographical location, or anything the eyes may perceive, it is superior because of the heart. We know that the human heart is sinful and dark [Rom. 3:10-20], but the heart that has faith in Jesus Christ is seen as righteous. This righteousness is not something we have attained, rather it is a faith in the perfect righteousness Jesus accomplished for His chosen race.

In a sense, racism is right. There is a race that is superior to all. This race is a race that is not determined by tongue, or tribe, or nation, but those who are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. We read a revelation of this in the new heavens and new earth, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” [Rev. 7:9]

Deep down (in every human being) there is a sense of a superior race. We try to recreate ourselves as superior through status, sports teams, job, who we know, body image, and color. However, this superiority is something mankind cannot attain or create on their own. Those who will be found as superior are those who have bowed the knee to the Lamb of God, who made us superior through the perfection he attained.

  1. […] to exercise our sinfulness and evil desires. Let’s consider some examples of this. Recently John Perritt dealt with the issue of racism. Sadly, the sporting stadiums have been a brewing ground for racist manifestations. From chants at […]

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