I Am A Racist…

If I am to take my last post seriously, it is to understand, acknowledge, and confess that I myself am a racist. Not intentionally so, not even willing really, and still growing in my awareness of the extent of my racism. And I even though I rationalize my distaste for others because of what I have experienced and what people like me have experienced, I cannot avoid the realization that I am a racist. Sure, I was spit on, made fun of, beat up, threatened, and even to this day, get the occasional “ching chong”, “Chink” or “Gook” I am ashamed to admit that these experiences have not helped me to not hate others, even passive aggressively. I don’t know how not to be offended. I have trouble forgiving. I have problems forgetting. I don’t know how to de-sensitize myself. And there are days and times where I excuse myself for thinking it is silly to think that I could be neutral, as though I could be perfectly objective. Race literally and figuratively seems to color my world. And I don’t like it, but I think the cure for racism must begin in this acknowledgment that I, a victim of racism, am a racist. I am involuntarily an oppressor-in-waiting. If my rage and anger were ever legitimated or actualized, I would have blood on my hands. I know I would. Living in the South, I know I would. I have felt the heat of hate and it burns me from the inside. My only hope is to confess that I’m a racist.

And unfortunately, if I were to be even more honest, I must confess that I’m sexist, ageist, a genderist (if that is a word), and I am an elitist. And even coming to this realization, I hate myself. I am a selfist. I am at odds with who I am and how I have been formed. Who I would be angry about these things, I do not know. I cannot escape me and because I cannot, I have to hate the Other, the you, the world. And even though I can see this sometimes, I don’t see how to act in anyway to counter this except to antagonize others by passing you by, pushing you down, or to lift myself up. or at the very least, make sure that you remain you, and I remain me. I cover up nicely though, or at least try to, so much so that few people would consider me more than race-sensitive or Asian-centric, and maybe a little too consumed with this Christian thing. You might label me a hypocrite, self-righteous and self-interested, but let’s be honest, unless you lived a life resembling Mother Teresa, you would have to admit that we’re all mostly self-interested. Or maybe I say that to make myself feel better.

And if I understand my faith properly, it is to first acknowledge that I am just as antagonistic to God. And that’s the beginning I suppose. To think that I could be neutral or that I could objective when it comes to God. I don’t know how to do that. Perhaps, as Peter Rollins suggests, the atheist is closer to God than the religious. Perhaps we would better off to confess and acknowledge how antithetical we are to our own selves so that there would be no disillusionment that we are good, open-minded, justice-seeking people. We fool ourselves. I am not enlightened. I am as backwards as I thought others were. I am not as holy as I know God is. I don’t know how to be any other way. But I want to love others. I want to love God. I want to love neighbor. I want to love myself. I just have to let all those parties know….I’m a racist and I say that because I’m laying it down.

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Comments

  1. John Lamb says:

    In a flash of humility, a rally cry for the sincere and the brave.

  2. Wayne Park says:

    First of all, my deep condolences on the loss of your father-in-law…

    Also, the brokenness of your admittance that “I too, fall short” is the wondrous leveling effect of the gospel – we’ve all done it, haven’t we. It’s challenging to educate about systemic / social ills and one finds one must speak in self-inclusive terms. I find we Koreans are sadly at fault too, and when I speak in such manner, I find the tension lifts in the room but the point is made and clearly understood. Self-inclusion as well as self-incrimination has that affect.

    Of course there is the small caveat that I would add – the BUT – that our experience is real and justified but… no need to go there now.

  3. Josh Deng says:

    whew, quite a bit of honesty there…thanks for writing. This invites me to be a vulnerable (Asian) Christian.

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