Racism is birthed out of ignorance – ignorance about another’s culture, background, values, beliefs, and so forth. When people fail to understand these issues in others, the response is predictably bad. Lines are drawn and battles waged. Unthinkable words are spoken and horrific deeds are done. In short, racist people are ignorant. But they aren’t the only ignorant ones. So too are the people who think racism will be eradicated. We ought to know that just by looking at the past. For as long as we have recorded history, people have oppressed those who are different.
That’s because we are all racists at some level. If you think that’s not the case, you don’t know yourself very well. The answer to this problem is not preaching tolerance. Tolerance pushes racism underground. It masks the true condition of our heart with insincere words. But as Jesus warned us, what’s in our heart eventually comes out. The only hope we have for fighting racism is to be radically transformed by a love that we don’t deserve. When this happens, we can begin to genuinely love those who are different. And that is how racism is fought.