Writing Tip to Handle RACE
[NOTE: This is a deep topic, and this is a lengthy article as a result.]
The Coca-Cola Company recently taught me a few things. Apparently, due to my light skin color, I should “be less oppressive, less arrogant, less certain, less defensive, more humble.” I should “listen, believe, break with apathy,” and “break with white solidarity,” whatever that is. Therefore, I learned that I am apparently perceived as oppressive, arrogant, certain, defensive, anything but humble, I don’t listen, I don’t believe, and I am apathetic—all based on the fact that my skin color is lighter than that of other members of the human race.
This is what the Coca-Cola company recently taught thousands of their employees a few weeks ago when instructing them to “be less white” during their mandatory training sessions, which they later said were not mandatory (even though they were), and then later said they didn’t pay for (even though they did), then later claimed complete ignorance concerning the content (eyelids lowered in serious doubt). But the corporate tap-dancing and hypocrisy isn’t really what this article is about. I mean, dealing with any multinational corporation these days is like dealing with the six-year-old who just ate the last of the Neapolitan ice cream but insists otherwise even though his face is covered in chocolate the entire time. They’re liars. Bad liars. I get that.
I will say that none of this really affected me. I made the decision never to drink Coke (or Pepsi, RC Cola, or any of that stuff) more than thirty years ago because colas are horribly, horribly bad for you. But I did want to share what I learned because that affected me.
I learned that the social constructs of secular “race theory” are still very much alive and well. The racial prejudice and discriminatory language that came to light with the Coca-Cola training is nothing new. Whenever society comes close to closing the door on the social evil of “racism,” it comes right back with renewed vigor and rebranded stereotypes.
Whether it’s “white solidarity” (which draws pictures of hooded figures and burning crosses in my imagination) or “fried chicken and watermelon” or absolutely anyone from Asia being depicted with a “queue” hairstyle—it’s the same evil lie. Whether it’s pejorative terms like Cracker, Sambo, Spic, Chink, or (one that is near and dear to my heart) Wop—it comes from the same evil place.
It all comes down to a simple question. How should Christians deal with the issue of “race” in America in 2021? For those of you still reading this, it gets a little bit more specific.
Q: How should Christian authors deal with the issue of “race”?
The truth? In most of the world, the notion that humankind can be divided based on skin tone along White, Black, Brown, Red, and Yellow “racial” lines really speaks to a social distinction between perceived classes, not a scientific distinction between “races.” The idea that our man-made societies stratify people into classes based on skin-tone lines and other physiological differences might make some of us uncomfortable.
In case you haven’t figured it out already, this article isn’t designed to make anyone feel comfortable. It is designed to inform and get real. First of all, we have to understand how we got here, and that takes understanding context and history.
He made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the surface of the earth…Acts 17:26a
You may be familiar with the book “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life” (emphasis mine) by Charles Darwin. For some reason, everything after the “or” gets dropped these days. Huh. Funny, that.
The secular theoretical model of “races” and “Favoured Races” in particular did not begin with Charles Darwin—though his famous book helped codify it and certainly furthered the myth of “races” by lending allegedly scientifically founded and very important sounding credibility to the secular race rationalization. The secular theoretical model of “races” was then and remains today furtherance of the dark ages induced ignorance spouted during the European Middle ages, which accounted for Europe, Africa, and Asia. Therefore, when Darwin, Huxley, Galton, et al., discussed the “races,” they primarily contended with just three races: Caucasoid, Mongoloid, Negroid.
Today, you can easily find examples of these three races in American public school textbooks dating from the mid to late 1800s on up through the 1980s.
Of course, by the late 1800s, “race” had already been scientifically debunked, not once but repeatedly. As Thomas Gossett noted, “The nineteenth century was a period of exhaustive and–as it turned out–futile search for criteria to define and describe race differences.”
It didn’t stop various folks with a racial agenda from trying to codify and classify along “racial” lines over the generations based on things like skin color, hair texture, facial angle, jaw size, cranial capacity, brain mass, frontal lobe mass, brain surface fissures and convolutions, and even such minutia as ear wax and body lice!
Attempts to define racial categories by physical attributes ultimately failed. By 1871, some leading intellectuals had recognized that even using the word “race” “was virtually a confession of ignorance or evil intent.What is Race?, Ian F. Haney Lopez, JD., Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Public Law, Berkeley School of Law, Director, Racial Politics Project, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society
Then, as “societies” expanded beyond “civilized” Europe, secular race theory had to be modified and tweaked to account for anomalies. After some (well, a lot of) shucking and jiving among the “most learned academics and authorities” (and who are we to question their wisdom or motives, really?), eventually two additional races were “discovered” for a total of five “races” which we have come to accept since about the 1960s into the 2000s, and they are:
- Caucasoid (European)
- Mongoloid (Asian and American Indian)
- Negroid (East African)
and the newly added
- Capoid (southern African)
- Australoid (Australian and Oceanic).
Funny thing about that last one. Even today, that population is referred to as Aboriginals. Take a moment to ponder the implications of that.
Also, in about the last 20 years or so, the term “Negroid” has fallen into disfavor and has started to be replaced with the term “Congoid” which is apparently much less of a hot-button term. So this is what you typically find in modern school textbooks when discussing “race” theory.
The genetic studies of the last few decades have dispelled any kinds of notions of biological “race.” Those features usually attributed to “race” like skin color, hair texture, stature, facial structure, etc., don’t correlate to genetic variation. Among those who engage in pure science, that is to say, scientists unaffected by social agendas, the rejection of “race” is now nearly universal.
“Anyone who continues to believe in race as a physical attribute of individuals, despite the now commonplace disclaimers of biologists and geneticists, might as well also believe that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy are real, and that the earth stands still while the sun moves.”Barbara J. Fields, Ph. D., author and Professor at Columbia University
It is important to understand the actual basis of modern secular “race” theory and those five aforementioned theoretical races. The theory’s basis is that different varieties of “hominids,” as in “homo sapiens,” evolved from different varieties of apes. This is a theory called polygenesis. According to this theory, some apes were smarter, stronger, and just all-around better than other apes. That is the theory which folks like Charles Darwin, Francis Galton, and advocates like Aldous Huxley, greatly benefited from.
SIDEBAR: I could go into great detail on the scientific and mathematical reasons why it takes a special kind of stupid to swallow the notion that human life journeyed from “goo to you by way of the zoo,” but that is not the topic of this article.
By assuming there are so-called “Favoured Races” and “Lower Races” which evolved from “higher” and “lower” forms of monkeys, and assuming everyone bought into that utterly ridiculous notion, then all kinds of immoral activities could easily be rationalized away and even justified and excused. Think of it! Activities ranging from murder or outright genocide to simple slavery could be explained away.
And they were. For centuries.
Eventually, “helping out” the poor less capable “lower races” by these harsh methods was considered the “white man’s burden” (see Kipling) in light of the scientifically proven certainty that these races existed. After all, they just needed to be managed properly like any animal population, because unfortunately, they came from the dumb monkeys you see. Clearly, they were just not as evolved as the “favoured” races that came from the smart monkeys.
To be fair, not all race theory advocates were interested in “burdening” themselves by “helping out” the lower races by, you know, enslaving them. Take, for example, Francis Galton, Darwin’s nephew and the father of something called Eugenics. Basically, Galton advocated a gradual elimination of the “lower” races by means of enforced selective breeding and sterilization, again much as one might manage any animal population. Galton metaphorically explained his wisdom like this: “If a man breeds from strong, well-shaped dogs, but of mixed pedigree, the puppies will be sometimes, but rarely, the equals of their parents. They will commonly be of a mongrel, nondescript type, because ancestral peculiarities are apt to crop out in the offspring.”
You may think that advocating the gradual extermination of entire populations of people would land him in some disfavor. On the contrary, he was knighted. If I were afflicted with owing any allegiance to an earthly king or queen, I might have to refer to the man as “Sir” Francis Galton.
The “Negroid” slave trade was a booming business worldwide, but especially the entirety of the Americas from Spanish Brazil to French Canada. When slavery ended in the US we entered a new era, an age of law.
Jim Crow law that is.
The Jim Crow laws enforced or legalized racial segregation. These laws lasted for almost 100 years, from the era just after the end of the War Between the States until around 1968, and their main purpose was to legalize the marginalization of American blacks. Not content with outright segregation, anti-miscegenation laws prohibited “interracial” marriage or sexual intercourse. The US Supreme Court ruled anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional in 1967, which is the year of my birth. In other words, in my lifetime and some of yours.
When you have lower races, you get to treat them like lab rats, too. From 1932-1972, the U.S. Public Health Service conducted a study of the effects of untreated syphilis in Black men in Macon County, Alabama. They literally let the men die of the disease. It was called the Tuskegee experiment.
Sound crazy? Don’t take my word for it.
But don’t forget Francis Galton. Besides the British Crown, Galton’s notions about Eugenics were loved and embraced by such notables as Friedrich Nietzsche, Adolf Hitler, and Margaret Sanger.
Nietzsche envisioned a society where humanity implemented strict breeding enforcement until we arrived at the “ubermensch”—the superman—philosophically, of course. Funny how those “ubermensch” types always seem to be six-foot-tall blond and blue-eyed.
Naturally, Hitler liked Galton’s theories. Still, they just wouldn’t have worked fast enough to eliminate the “mongrel Jews” consistent with the timeline of Hitler’s vision for the new Reich. Hitler’s advisors convinced him that death camps were quicker and a much more efficient “final solution” to the Jewish problem. Of course, if you look at Nazi textbooks, there were the Nordic “Aryan” types who were the closest to racial purity and perfection… and then there was everyone else.
Funny how those “Aryan” types always seem to be six-foot-tall blond and blue-eyed.
And then there’s Margaret Higgins Sanger, the mother of the tax-dollar-supported organization we know and love today as Planned Parenthood. Her idea was simple. She would pay non-whites a big single lump-sum payment, up to five whole dollars at the time, to undergo medical sterilization—and if she were too late for that and conception had already taken place, why, she offered no-cost abortion services… while being sterilized. Basically, she wanted to abort the births of and sterilize the “lower races” into eventual oblivion in the US and thus exterminate them from the population.
“There is today one [nation], in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception [of citizenship] are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but the United States.”Adolf Hitler (translated by The L.A. Times)
Now, Sangar didn’t have any money she was willing to spend, so it was up to the US taxpayer to foot the bill. Naturally. Sangar’s legacy? Used as a means of controlling “undesirable” populations–non-whites, immigrants, poor people, unmarried mothers, the disabled, the mentally ill–federally-funded sterilization programs took place in 32 states throughout the 20th century performed on children as young as 9 and adults as old as 82.
Planned Parenthood is still federally taxpayer-funded, of course. They aren’t going to spend their own money. Yours will do just fine.
Then there were the Jim Crow laws that legalized and enforced racial segregation. These laws lasted for nearly 100 years, from the late 1800s until the mid-1970s, and their main purpose was to legalize the marginalization of American blacks.
But ALL of this evil—and make no mistake, this is evil I am talking about—is built on lies.
The truth is that there is no race other than the human race.
The truth is that we are all sons and daughters of Adam and Eve.
The truth is that we are ALL created in the image of God. It does not matter what skin color, hair texture, facial angle, or ear wax differences exist. Every human being on this earth is possessed of a soul, knitted in his mother’s womb by a loving and almighty God.
The truth is that the secular construction of “race” is built on nonsense science and fraud, ignorance, lies, and facilitates actual evil.
ALL THAT TO SAY THIS:
Q: How should Christians deal with the issue of “race” in America in 2021?
My answer: Never give an inch. Do not give even one single inch to societal or cultural secular false constructions or notions of “race,” regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the agenda de jour.
Q: How should Christian authors deal with the issue of “race”?
My answer: As Christian authors, when writing about characters with dissimilar physical characteristics or social backgrounds, I urge you not to propagate the secular lies, prejudices, and stereotypes that come with secular “race” theory. Instead, verbalize the characteristics of your characters by framing them as human beings and living souls. Shed the light of God’s love for all of His children, His creations, by being salt and light in this fallen world.
Gregg Bridgeman is the Editor-in-Chief at Olivia Kimbrell Press. He is husband to best-selling Christian author Hallee Bridgeman and parent to three. He continues to proudly serve in the US Armed Forces and has done so in either an active or reserve capacity for more than twenty years as an airborne and air assault qualified paratrooper, earning a Bronze Star for his service. Most importantly, he was ordained in October of 2001 after surrendering his life to Christ decades earlier.