Forgive Me For My Racism

As a kid, I’m sure I did racially insensitive things. I was thinking back to my childhood and I remember slanting my eyes with other kids and saying, “Chinese, Japanese, Dirty Knees, Look at these,” then showing off my hands to people. We all thought it was funny. I’ll be honest, even at the time I didn’t understand why but just laughed it off with everyone else. Looking back, the racism inherent in wherever that originated from is disappointing and saddening. I’m sorry I ever participated in such things.

In High School, I had a friend (none will be named) who enjoyed racist jokes. We would tell ourselves laughing ironically at the jokes. We would tell them together, laughing at people who would laugh at such things…while also actually laughing at the jokes. With a different friend, we looked into David Allen Coe’s album where he went out of his way to be as offensive as possible. This included a song about a man who’s girl was unfaithful to him with a black man. This song included excessive use of the n-word. We found them all funny, ironically of course. We weren’t acting on racist things in our minds, we were looking at these things as jokes. Looking back, I cannot believe I participated in such things. It was wrong, it was racist, and I am deeply troubled at my own past actions.

In college, I spent a time embracing the Confederacy. Not for their racist roots, I would argue, but because the Civil War was about so much more than slavery. I was not wrong that the Civil War was about many things, but to believe the Confederacy was some state’s rights utopia was a fool’s viewpoint. In the end, a nation which Constitutionally codified the ownership of other human beings was inherently wrong and evil. I wrote non-ironic articles such as one entitled, “America’s Favorite Socialist Dictator” about Abraham Lincoln. There are definitely arguments to be made that Lincoln’s expansion of the executive branch was excessive and should not have been done. That said, I was purposefully provocative in a style similar to how Ann Coulter wrote at the time. In all instances, I was wrong to embrace this viewpoint as I had.

In college I had a friend of mine (different friend, still not named) who made what he thought was a funny joke. At the time in New York State, in positions of power we had Alan Hevesi as Comptroller, Eliot Spitzer as Attorney General, Sheldon Silver as Speaker of the Assembly, and Chuck Schumer as one of our Senators. All very liberal, all fairly corrupt. He made a comment about the four of them specifically and said, “It’s enough to almost make you antisemitic, am I right?” No, he was not right. That was wrong. I have a number of Jewish relatives and I knew this comment was wrong. It nagged at me, yet I didn’t say anything. I should have. I was wrong then for not speaking out.

I am putting this out here publically because I was wrong. I allowed racism to infiltrate my acts, my actions, and my heart. In so doing I violated God’s law. God does not see Greek or Jew, black or white, Asian or caucasian – He sees the souls of His children. We all are image bearers of the Lord and through Christ, we are freed of our own inequity. This was one of my inequities, one I held to privately in my heart. One I need to set free and let die forever.

Lord, I pray You forgive me of the racism of my past. I pray You eradicate any remaining trace of it which may remain within me. I pray this evil never once comes into my being again, that I am never allowed to feel these vile thoughts. I pray I avoid those who perpetuate such evil, that I keep myself from the presence of such bitterness. I pray for Your strength to remain vigilant in the face of such evil I see today and to speak Your words of truth to those I meet who voice evils. Thank You Lord.

About the Author

Matthew Newman
Matthew Newman is a Christian environmental engineer (Professionally licensed in Maryland). He’s also a husband, beard aficionado, Dad of four beautiful children, blogger, and all around geeky guy from Baltimore County. When he’s not chasing his kids or working, he’s probably asleep.

3 Comments on "Forgive Me For My Racism"

  1. I heard the “Chinese, Japanese…” taunts frequently as a kid, especially when I was very young (five years old). It’s terrible how things like that, and much worse, can take a child out of the innocence of childhood and thrust him or her into something so adult. But that’s the world we live in, a broken, sinful world where sin creeps in from every corner and affects even children, young ones who don’t understand from either end, the receiving or the giving.

    Beyond those incidents, and a few others connected with my ethnicity, I was more like you growing up, laughing racist comments off, making them “ironically,” and accepting others. I would guess that as with you, change came not just with maturity, but more profoundly through faith, which lays us naked before the cross in all our shameful sin. And it’s also that grace that affords us the opportunity to move on, grow, and even share like you did with your article.

    Thank you for sharing with us!

    • Matthew Newman | August 18, 2016 at 7:39 pm | Reply

      The Lord guides us and helps us grow. It also gives us the drive to expose our own failings. As you said, sin creeps in everywhere. I am thankful for the grace the Lord has granted me to move, grow, and publicly admit this personal failing from my past.

  2. I think God sees Greek and Jews and other races etc and while seeing the individual he also sees Greeks and Jews and various races. And he is glad that they are different and unique. Its not funny to make fun of peoples race but races are real and its ok to acknowledge them. Its also ok that they like and defend their differences.

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