Racism, Privilege, & Power

Paul Dean
Paul Dean
2019 4 Dec

So, here’s just a little something extra on racism, privilege, and power. Critical Theory is all the rage today; it sounds so compassionate, so equitable, and so plausible. Oppressor groups have indeed oppressed oppressed groups. Of course, the leap from that fact to the notion that all persons in majority groups are racist -- or whatever evil du jour -- simply because they are members of the majority group is, in a word, oppressive.

It’s fair to say that God hates racism, and therefore Christians should too. All persons are created in the image of God and have essential worth, dignity, and honor. Slavery, hatred, making fun of, and numerous other forms of demeaning persons because of their race or orientation is not only an attack on those persons, but an attack on God Himself. I trust you see the logic I’m putting forth. An attack on a human being is an attack on the image of God in that human being and therefore is, in some sense, an attack on God.

But here’s the rub: just because someone calls something racist doesn’t mean it’s so. I actually went to a Hispanic Appreciation Dance at a local college and danced to a number of Hispanic tunes. Not one of the Hispanics there accused me of cultural appropriation. They seemed to appreciate the fact that I was at the appreciation dance to appreciate them. Yet, despite the sensibleness of all that mutual appreciation, there are those who would disagree. But let’s not kid ourselves; the world sees and defines all kinds of things differently than God does. While God grants the liberty to a same-sex couple to call themselves married, they in fact are not married regardless of what they, the culture, or the state says. God is the one who defines marriage. And God is the one who defines racism, not the academy.

Indeed, there are those who are privileged for one reason or another. God is ultimately in charge of that. And with privilege often comes power. It’s our responsibility to use that privilege and power the way God would have us to. He’s our authority, not the culture. Our mandate is to glorify God and do good unto others. If we do that, we might get accused of cultural appropriation from time to time, but in God’s estimation, we’ll be serving in a way that’s culturally appropriate.

Dr. Dean and Christi Johnson invite you to learn more about God, His world, and yourself. Listen to their podcast, True Worldview, and find other helpful resources there as well.