Developing Relationships with Other Races
Begin with the understanding of Scripture:
He who says he is “in the light” and hates (or has prejudice toward) his brother is in darkness still. He who loves his brother remains in the light--and in the light there is no pitfall; but he who hates his brother is in darkness, he walks in darkness and does not know where he is going, for the darkness has blinded his eyes. I John 2:9-11 (Moffatt)
Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him. Lev. 19:17
Hatred stirreth up strifes: but loves covereth all sins. Proverbs 10:12
Historically, let us look to what great men have said about this subject:
He that is possessed with a prejudice is possessed with a devil, and one of the worst kind of devils, for it shuts out the truth, and often leads to ruinous error. – Tyron Edwards
He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. – J. Stuart Mill
Prejudice is the reason of fools. – Voltaire
Prejudice is the child of ignorance. – Hazlitt
When the judgment is weak the prejudice is strong. – O’Hara
When we destroy an old prejudice we have need of a new virtue. – Madame De Stael
Prejudice is never easy unless it can pass itself off for reason. – Hazlitt
Prejudice squints when it looks, and lies when it talks. – Duchess de Abrantes
Some practical suggestions for building better race relationships
Understand prejudice may exist in every home and heart.
Prejudice forms over time, and except for God’s grace, cannot be removed immediately.
Understand we are “wrong” on some issues. Ask God to reveal truth to us.
Every day we must work on changing our values, changing our thinking, and understanding that this is a process we must go through.
Examine of address book, Christmas card list, list of friends and associates. How many of those names are of a different ethnic background.Begin to look for new friends among groups of other ethnic groups.Once we find new friends. Be honest. Statements such as “Help me understand...”, or “I would like to understand something, may I ask you some questions....” Most people would enjoy giving you a history lesson from their perspective. (This can be done in a non-threatening way and is very liberating.)
Eat at ethnic restaurants. (Other than fast food.) To begin to understand a culture, we can begin by appreciating their food.
Subscribe, or at least read minority newspapers or publications. There is a whole world outside our own, of which we know little.
Getting to know someone of a different race or culture, means we “go to meet them.” Inviting them to “our side” does not work. We must travel past boundaries and experience what they experience every day.
Attend a church service, worship service, or community service in a different community. We can learn a great deal about a culture just by worshipping together. (This is also an easy way to break into meeting new people.)
Attend a church service of a different language, and sit in the “English” section and have someone translate the service for you. This is a rich experience.
Call friends of different ethnic backgrounds and ask their opinions about a current political issue. You will be amazed at the difference or similarities.
Understand differences in culture may also be differences in economics.
The statement, “They are welcome here, anytime they want to come,” is prejudicial and insensitive. We must be open to change.
Even though we may not have personally injured anyone in the past or present, we are under an obligation to repent for the sins of our forefathers. We can act like nothing has ever happened and hope things get better. By taking the initiative, we can begin to make a difference.
We need to understand there is someone of a different color or race looking for friendships with our color and race.
We need to watch our language for offensive phrases or stereotypical generalities.
Understanding takes time. Friendships take even more time.
And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Acts 10:28