God “made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:9). As Christians, we want to believe that racism played no part in the police action which took 18 year old, Michael Brown’s life back in August, when he was suspected of burglary. In recent days, 19 year old, Tony Martin, Madison Wisconsin, was shot and killed by white police when responding to a disturbance.
I cannot begin to address police procedures or fault them for doing their job. What I do want to address is the incidence of continued racism in our country today. As much as we want to believe that it no longer exists, it does. The recent incident of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity chapter at the University of Oklahoma who were secretly taped singing a disgusting song filled with racial slurs, is another reminder that racism stills exists.
It is easy for us to claim, “This doesn’t happen here in Huntington, Indiana” or impact the Huntington University campus but it does. Take the time to listen to stories of minority members of our campus. While a student here, Minkailu Mambu, from Sierra Leone, shared the anguish he experienced on days that he would simply ride his bike to a local grocery store. In one incident of racism, he encountered two women in a car who pulled up beside him at a stop light and shouted racial slurs to him and told him that he wasn’t welcome in Huntington. Another time, while shopping, he was taunted by two young boys, approximately 12 – 14 years of age, for being black. How did these young minds acquire an attitude of racism?
As stated above, my intent is not to judge police action, but what I want to confront is racism. If we could eliminate racism from the equation, then we could focus upon the real issue which is maintaining safety in our country in a fair and equitable manner.
Racism goes against our Biblical teachings, warning of idolatry and authoritarian postures in relation to others. Idolatry only serves to elevate one’s value over another. The Huntington University campus needs to condemn all forms of racism and discrimination as a message to our greater community that anything short does not serve to bring dignity to all and build a healthy community. We need to practice God’s love for all people, lead by example by teaching our children respect for others, seek opportunities to build bridges with people different than ourselves, and that we commit to pray for an end to racism in our communities.
Carla MacDonald, Ph.D., is the associate professor of social work and the Departmental Director. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This column reflects the views of the writer only.