Why White People Freak Out When They're Called Racist
I do atypical work for a white person, which is that I lead primarily white audiences in discussions on race every day, in workshops all over the country. That has allowed me to observe very predictable patterns. And one of those patterns is this inability to tolerate any kind of challenge to our racial reality. We shut down or lash out or in whatever way possible block any reflection from taking place.
Of course, it functions as means of resistance, but I think it’s also useful to think about it as fragility, as inability to handle the stress of conversations about race and racism
The solution to racism is still, and always will be, the gospel of Jesus Christ. As I write these words, this country is still recovering from Ferguson and the Eric Garner case. There is another racial uproar in Wisconsin due to the recent police shooting of a young black man. Unfortunately, neither unbelievers nor some Christians know how to respond to America’s current racial tensions. Some unbelievers respond with anger and hate. Too many evangelical Christians continue to be either clueless about the race issue or respond with the sin of silence. Although understandable, anger that leads to hate is absolutely wrong. Furthermore, those evangelicals who continue to believe and say foolishly that racial reconciliation is not a gospel issue are as useless on the race issue as those evangelicals who never speak about gospel-centered racial reconciliation until it’s politically convenient for them to do so or until certain high profile white evangelicals or certain white celebrity pastors give them permission do so. Silent evangelicals and evangelicals who do not see racial reconciliation as a gospel imperative hinder the cause of gospel-centered racial reconciliation.