The following is from our church’s Racial Justice Reflections that are published monthly in our worship folder.
A commonly held idea for responding to the ugliness of racism, including within the church, is racial colorblindness, the idea that it is a virtue to ignore race. This can be seen in phrases we may often hear or say, such as, “I ignore race,” “I don’t see race,” or “I try to treat everyone the same.” While the intention behind racial colorblindness is admirable, as we’ve learned in a previous Racial Justice Reflection, the impact of our actions matter as well. Unfortunately, racial colorblindness ends up blinding us from seeing present inequities as well as the richness and beauty of the diversity of our Father’s world.
Christians are called to live justly (Micah 6:8), and the Bible paints a picture of justice that has two sides. First, we are called to avoid negative prejudicial treatment of people based on their race, socioeconomic status, or anything else that can create barriers and dividing walls (James 2:1–13).
But the Bible also presents a second side of justice that is a requirement of living justly. We are also called to positively advocate for the oppressed and those who have been pushed down by society. The God we serve is the God of the oppressed (Psalm 146:7–9) who sees the poor, needy, the orphan, and the stranger. Following Jesus requires us to clearly see who are the least of these so that we can dignify them and provide the care due to them as image-bearers (Matthew 25:31–46).
In fact, ignoring racial differences will only result in closing our eyes from seeing where inequities truly are, and will result in us ignoring the requirements of justice and mercy. Instead, the Bible requires a color conscious understanding of the past, present, and the future. By being color conscious, we will not only be able to see where justice and mercy are needed, but we will also begin to see the richness and beauty of the diversity of people different from ourselves. We can truly say, “I see you” like the God who sees (Genesis 16:13) and treasure differences rather than fear them.