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What is race? & 'racial'

Posted by Anonymous in Michigan on May 19 2014 10:24PM

The actual topic is: What is race? - and 'racial' segregation in Seventh-day Adventism. Question: Why is it that, general speaking, SDAs in North America seem to be comfortable with a divided church? But here's a topic which no one is actually talking about: What is the meaning of race? Just a brief insight - race is not biological as most like to think (but rather a social construct). But why is it that people treat it as real in and outside of the SDA organization? In that way the church is run more like a secular business, and furthermore should it be called a church if it's actually patterning the social environment? In other words, when there are no watchmen/women in the church, then is the church still a church?


- Re: What is race? & 'racial' from n/a, May 24 2014 7:51PM
Let me clarify some of the earlier statements that were made by anonymous from Alabama. It is clear from Scripture that we are all from one race, and it is true too that the ideas of race are really a human construct. I believe that it is clear that we all came from Adam, and therefore we are all related. However, it can also be concluded from Scripture (i.e. the tower of Babel experience) that different cultures were created with people speaking the same language amongst those cultures. Furthermore, Biblically it can be concluded that God was the One who created these variant languages, and vicariously the cultures that emanated from them. English-speaking people probably hung with English-speaking people. Spanish speaking people hung with Spanish speaking people, and on and on and on. We can conclude, therefore, that the variants among cultures are not all bad. In addition, while there may be self-hatred among many people groups there has been a longstanding systematic self-hatred that has been developed among people of color because of longstanding mistreatment and subjugation. Just today I saw a young African American woman wearing blue contacts. Now that may not seem like a big deal, but when is the last time you have EVER seen a white person with blue eyes wearing brown contacts. I have never, EVER seen a white person curl their hair to make it "nappy," but it is so commonplace for black women to straighten their hair that we don't even think anything of it anymore. All of the mainstream magazine covers have dictated to us what is the standards of beauty, and very RARELY is that standard a dark-skinned woman with nappy hair. On the contrary, AROUND THE WORLD (U.S., Brazil, Central America,and even Africa, etc.) the standard of beauty that has been circulated is of (and still is) a white or light-skinned woman with long blond or light brown hair. Better yet, I don't know if you realized this, but the skin lightening industry is projected to make around $19.8 billion by 2018, and the main consumers of these unhealthy products are from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. In fact, Nina Davuluri was crowned as the first Miss America of Indian, but then she was blasted by other INDIAN PEOPLE for being too dark. I say it, but I say it in all humility. Many people of color have been inculcated with a deep-seated self-hatred that permeates a great deal of their thinking, or else why would they straighten their hair? Why would they lighten their skin with skin-bleaching cream that could be carcinogenic? Why would they put on blond weaves,and wear green or blue contacts? Why would very fair-skinned people of color pass for white, and then look down on their darker skinned relatives even making them to walk into their house through the back door I desperately believe that the SDA church should come together. As was said before, this was the prayer of Christ in John 17. Nevertheless, I simply don't believe that this should be another colonialistic unity in which one culture predominates over another, but it should be a new culture in Christ Jesus that accepts things from each culture that don't compromise the truths of gospel of Jesus Christ.

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- Re: What is race? & 'racial' from Anonymous in Michigan, May 24 2014 2:06AM
In Response (to Anonymous in Alabama). Thank you kindly for the response. At the beginning you speak of ‘two sides’ to the question of ‘race.’ From your response – the one side essentially being to embrace your own culture, or nothing wrong with embracing your own culture; and the other side essentially citing John 17 and the theme of unity. But, in the process, you cast a judgment which is warranted. You pose that: you have “come to the conclusion that there is a large amount of self-hatred among blacks, and for many blacks the motive behind their desire for unification with whites (both in and out of church) has nothing to do with anything spiritual. On the contrary, they want to be a part of what they feel is "high society," and in their minds the highest of society is white society.” Such a statement is misplaced. First of all, one can argue that there is self-hatred in any given individual. And secondly, your reasoning may be circumstantial in your eyes, but that is no reason to make the stark judgment call, stating that the motive for many ‘blacks’ in their desire for unification with whites, has nothing to do with anything spiritual. Ultimately God knows the heart. For clarification though, are you saying or implying that ‘whites’ do not desire unification with ‘blacks’ – in the SDA church? And then in the process you also turned the discussion on ‘race’ and SDA ‘racial’ segregation to one on ‘culture,’ ‘cultural’ differences, etc. And that’s o.k. for discussion sake. But to be fair, towards the end you did pick up or returned to part of the central issue – positing your view on whether or not race is biological. According to you, “partially no partially yes.” With no disrespect to you, you seem to be confusing the issue (and perhaps confusing yourself) by dabbling with, and sort of vacillating with opinion on ‘race’ and disease. And, by the way, none of this is about you, so don’t even think about taking it personal. At least you had the courage to share your thoughts. In fact, thank you for taking the time to respond. I’m actually truly thankful for your response so that open discussion can flow. So I engage this discuss from the standpoint of a loving and sharing spirit. But let’s be clear – everyone in the world is related to everyone. Thus, if any husband and wife, for instance, go back far enough, they will realize that they are actually (blood) relatives. This is particularly in light of the ‘monogenesis’ view, as opposed to ‘polygenesis. ‘ In other words, we all came from the same parents. I make that salient point because many are of all kinds of mistaken and distorted notions about human origins, and trained from the womb, and by society, with thoughts of human divisiveness. Thus, false notions such as that of ‘different races’ become ingrained, enmeshed in the psyche, and diehard. For example, you may even find some who believe in the idea of different species of humans; simply put – this entails the notion that not all males and females can reproduce (successfully), because they are not the same type of creatures – essentially hinging on the notion of ‘distinction by race.’ So there are a lot of misconceptions out there, and quite frankly there is too much mass miseducation bolstering all of this. So then, if we are all of one blood, why is it that people insist on finding ways to be so-called different (particularly in terms of so-called ‘race’)? – which, by the way, is the cause of unwarranted conflict, carnage, and death. Thus, for further clarity, I offer that while diseases may attack certain people, that has nothing to do with the notion of ‘race.’ Again, this is in light of ‘race’ not being biological, but rather a social construct – i.e., made up in the minds of society (for political, economic reasons, etc.) and practiced as if real. Thanks for engaging; And Berakah – God Bless.

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- Re: What is race? & 'racial' from Anonymous in Alabama, May 22 2014 9:11PM
I think there are two sides to this question, and it may seem strange but we might even want to look at the motive behind the question. There was an African American woman who said to me that I had "pretty eyes." She said this because I am an African American, but my eyes are not dark brown or black. They are brown with tinges of green in them. Then others have stated that I have "good" hair because it is not nappy but wavy. The inference I gathered from these two statements was that the less black I was the better and prettier (which I don't agree with), but these were black people talking to me. This black man from Trinidad told me that his dark skinned mother told him that he better not bring a dark-skinned girlfriend home at all. On many occasions I have heard black people say, "I have some Indian in me," or "I have some White in me," but it's rare {if not ever) that I have heard a white person (or even a Native American for that matter) say "I have some black in my background." The reason I'm mentioning these things is because I have come to the conclusion that there is a large amount of self-hatred among blacks, and for many blacks the motive behind their desire for unification with whites (both in and out of church) has nothing to do with anything spiritual. On the contrary, they want to be a part of what they feel is "high society," and in their minds the highest of society is white society. The problem with this type of unification is that it leads the blacks (and other cultures who do the same thing)to seek to subdue everything from their own cultural and unique make up to "fit in" even if their unique cultural eccentricities are not condemned by Scripture(I would like to caveat this statement by saying that there are some things in EVERY culture that ARE condemned by Scripture, and they should have no place in God's church). I think many people could learn a few lessons from Gandhi, but one of the things I admire most about Gandhi was the fact that he finally came to the point where he ceased wearing the clothes that the British had thrust upon the Indians as proper clothing. He finally came to the conclusion that he was going to be proud of his Indian heritage, celebrating it just like the British celebrated theirs; which leads to flip side of this coin. As a church we desperately need to come together as one so that the Holy Spirit can be poured out in more copious streams, so that we can fulfill the prayer of Christ in John 17, and so that we can hasten the coming of Jesus Christ. However, as we come together no earthly culture should predominate over another, the culture of heaven should predominate. We need to stop condemning things in other SDA churches that the Bible has not condemned but we simply don't like it. I used to be extremely strict and conservative (and in many ways I still am). I'm still not a big fan of drums or louder singing, however, there is nowhere in the Bible where it condemns the drums as some people would have you to believe. It's the use made of them. As shocking as this might sound, the Bible really doesn't even condemned "Godly" dancing (Read Psalm 149 and 150) either. Yet for far too long many have allowed their culture to dictate truth and error to them leading them to condemn a brother in Christ which just leads to more division and separation. Do I believe that race is somehow biological in any way, shape, or form? Partially no, partially yes. There are diseases that are unique to certain people groups (i.e. sickle cell anemia, Tay-Sachs disease, cystic fibrosis). On the other hand, it is possible for people of any race to get these diseases, but they are most unique to certain people groups.

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