In light of the recent events in VA I have a couple thoughts. First, tiki torches make you look stupid and like a little brat so don’t even think that you can be taken seriously holding one of those things. Second, this is pure racism at its worst and is completely unacceptable. It is the opposite of right, it is inhumane, and completely and utterly illogical. Third, I think that the main reason people get together and raise hell for the sake of a race isn’t simply because of hate or bigotry, though those are obvious key factors. I believe the main reason racism exists especially in younger people (as seen in the marching at UVA) is because people feel purposeless.
It’s the same reason the Germans lined up behind Hitler. They felt purposeless, useless, and needed a voice, a reason to make a stand, even if the stand itself made no sense; to them it felt better to them than sitting. It is hardwired into the human heart to fight for something. God is a warrior, and he made his children warriors as well. We feel most alive, most purposeful, most useful, when we are marching out to war, whatever that war may be. People latch onto racism because although it’s sick and wrong, it gives them a purpose. It gives them a reason to yell, march, and fight or die trying. They might have no logical reason to be racist, white supremacists, but for them, it’s better than doing nothing. Racism becomes their war cry, the flag they wave, the beat of their hearts.
Proverbs says that where there is no vision the people perish.
How true this is! Vision empowers a man, it gives him hope, allows him to dream again, gives him fresh blood in his veins that give him strength to fight another day. Racism, although the worst kind of vision, is still a vision. It’s a vision sown by hate and grown by discord and fear.
As I looked at the videos and pictures of the protests and clashes between protesters and counter-protesters, I couldn’t help but notice that none of them looked like they belonged there. At UVA, men as young as 18 or 19 marched with tiki torches and shouted phrases like “White lives matter” and “You will not replace us”. Did they understand what they were doing? Like, actually understand. Sure, they knew that they were marching as white supremacists, shouting hateful things, but did they understand to what end? Did they really believe in what they were doing or did they simply long to belong to something?
I believe that for most people in the marches and rallies aren’t super-racists, they just were foolish. I think the reason racism still exists isn’t because there’s a bunch of mini-Hitlers walking around hating on anyone who isn’t white, but because a whole bunch of people are walking around without a purpose. They long for a purpose, they thirst for meaning, they search for a cause, a reason to go to war. And the evil spirit of racism provokes their wild heart easily. They remember the time that one black person was mean to them, the story their grandfather told them when they were five, and that random article they read about white-hate groups a year ago. Suddenly the accusations make sense, and someone hands them a sign, and they feel as if it were a sword. “Out to war”, says the heart, and the body obeys willingly.
While I fully condemn all those involved for their actions and for being involved in stirring up hate and violence, I believe one of the reasons racism is still thriving today is because we are giving it so much attention, thereby increasing the “purpose” of it. The more we call people racists, the more we release them to become them. The more we talk about their purpose the more their purpose gets so-called “validated” in their own minds and hearts. Does this mean we turn a blind eye to the horror of white-supremacy terrorism? Absolutely not. But I think there might be a better approach than simply calling them terrible people.
I think that anyone on a path of violence or hate is simply someone who does not know love, is surrounded by hate, and desperately needs purpose. If we are to stop racism, we can’t simply shoot criminals or lock them up. We need to change hearts. We need to change people. We need to give them purpose.
See, the thing about racism is that it can’t be stopped.
Not as long as we continue to fight it.
Racism stems from a natural desire to be known, to be seen, to be valued, and to have purpose.
Hate is simply a perversion of justice.
In order to stop racism we have to redirect people’s desires, show them love, and give them purpose. Does this mean we ignore their wrongdoing? Certainly not! But once again, simply acknowledging and punishing their wrongdoing is not going to solve the problem, as any parent can tell you. Rather, their wrongdoing must be turned into rightdoing.
Simply put, they must be given purpose.
And the best purpose ever to walk the planet was a man named Jesus. He called loved both Jews and gentiles alike, black and white, and refused to acknowledge any cultural or racial stigmas by simply loving everyone and giving them a purpose greater than themselves, namely himself.
Being in relationship with God is the only purpose that will ever truly fulfill your drive for meaning and purpose. Being in relationship with Father God and understanding his great love for you and all of mankind will give you meaning, vision, and purpose greater than you could ever imagine.
The end of the matter is this, Jesus is the answer.
Whether it’s drugs, sex-addiction, hate, or racism.
Any sin is simply a perverted purpose.
We all need purpose.
We all need vision.
We all need Jesus.
(I realize that I said nothing in this article about how to deal with racism in tangible means. Honestly, deal with it in love. If you’re black, this is going to be very hard. If you’re white, this is going to be hard, but in a very different way. We can condemn the actions of our brothers and sisters and still love them and call them to a higher purpose. They have a greater purpose than racism, they just don’t know it yet!)