Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

The System and Racism

This is interesting. If you take out the conservative Protestant aspect of this piece, it could be something a Maoist/Third Worldist would write.


Recently I was talking with my son and he told me about some experiences he had on a Christian chat forum that he visits from time to time. He’s had several interesting interactions on the site but recently things took a somewhat bad turn as a person appeared who argued (in a rather aggressive manner) that Christians were under obligation to combat systemic racism. A hot button issue to be sure, the tensions and conflicts that emerged from this confrontation led to several departures and in his estimation has almost ruined the overall experience.

Previous to this my son had found the forum to be both helpful and interesting as there is a wide array of viewpoints represented and yet despite this the discourse has remained civil – or rather had until this recent episode.

Contrary to many Christian ‘conservatives’ I would actually argue that systemic racism (a somewhat unhelpful and ill-defined term) does exist and I can even point to areas in my own life that I have benefitted from being white. I’m not sure why anyone would find this shocking unless they’ve simply closed their eyes. There’s no doubt about it and yet I do not sit around and tear myself apart over the issue. And to clarify very few people would suggest that I am placed in a position of social privilege – quite the contrary. I am working class and by no measure am I part of the Middle Class or bourgeoisie. In truth the nature of the racism that exists within our society or system is complicated. The issues are wide-ranging, multi-generational, and very complex. In my own life I do what I can to ‘make a difference’ but to suggest that there’s a political solution or that change can be brought about through activism that seeks to harness the coercive power of the state – I am both theologically and practically dubious if not opposed to the notion. I don’t believe it will work and to speak in even stronger terms – it’s not something the Church should be involved in. We don’t look to or rely on the sword for righteousness and we certainly don’t look for Babylon or Egypt to bring about justice.


Leave a Reply