The scars and stains of racism are still deeply embedded in Britain. We have made enormous progress in teaching everyone that racism is bad. Where we seem to have dropped the ball… is in teaching people what racism actually is?
You’d think we’d have figured out how to treat each other by now.
In what feels like an increasingly volatile climate, that some of us are surprised by and others are less so, here a few quotes on racism, bigotry, and intolerance in the hopes that it would inspire us all to reflect and move forward.
We still believe the best days are ahead, that Martin Luther King’s dream will indeed be a reality, and that our commonalities will prevail over our differences. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who were tragically injured and killed during the shameful events in Charlottesville.
- “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” ’• Nelson Mandela
- “Racism is man’s gravest threat to man – the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.” ’• Abraham Joshua Heschel
- “Race relations are fraught with land mines,” Michael Emerson warns, because racial groups tend to define racism differently-with whites emphasizing overt acts of prejudice and discrimination, and people of color focusing on group inequalities and unjust systems.” ’• Joseph Parker
- “We must heal the divisions caused by intolerance and bigotry.” ’• Janet Reno
- “Racism springs from ignorance.” ’• Mario Balotelli”
- “But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness.” ’• 1 John 2:11
- “People know about the Klan and the overt racism, but the killing of one’s soul little by little, day after day, is a lot worse than someone coming in your house and lynching you.” ’• Samuel L. Jackson
- “You don’t fight racism with racism, the best way to fight racism is with solidarity.” ’• Bobby Seale
- “No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them.” ’• Elie Wiesel
- “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” ’• Martin Luther King Jr.
- “Do you know what we call opinion in the absence of evidence? We call it prejudice.” ’• Michael Crichton
- Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.” ’• Muhammad Ali
- “Prejudice is the child of ignorance.” ’• William Hazlitt
- All humans are descended from Adam and Eve and so all are related and need the salvation offered by the Last Adam, Jesus.” ’• Unknown
- “If a white man falls off a chair drunk, it’s just a drunk. If a Negro does, it’s the whole Negro race.” ’• Bill Cosby”
- “Racism, in the first place, is a weapon used by the wealthy to increase the profits they bring in by paying Black workers less for their work.” ’• Angela Davis
- “…racist thought and action says far more about the person they come from than the person they are directed at.” ’• Chris Crutcher,
- “The roots of racism lie deep in man’s nature, wounded and bruised by original sin.” ’• Sargent Shriver
- “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” ’• Audre Lorde,
- “It demands great spiritual resilience not to hate the hater whose foot is on your neck, and an even greater miracle of perception and charity not to teach your child to hate.” ’• James Arthur Baldwin
- “Racism, because it favors color over talent, is bad for business.” ’• Steven Pinker
- “For hundreds of years Jesus was portrayed as a blond-haired man with pale skin. This was profoundly unhelpful in the way Christians learned to relate to those of other races. Jesus’ dark skin and Middle Eastern birthright are part of his glory.” ’• Unknown
- “Racism is a refuge for the ignorant. It seeks to divide and to destroy. It is the enemy of freedom, and deserves to be met head-on and stamped out.” ’• Pierre Berton
- “Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated.” ’• Kofi Annan
- “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” ’• Martin Luther King
- “As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it–whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.” ’• Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
- “God cares about people regardless of their ethnicity, nationality, and social status (Deuteronomy 10:17-19).” ’• Unknown
- From a biblical perspective, there is one biological race. This is confirmed by scientific studies on the human genome. Biblically and scientifically there is no defense of racism.” ’•Unknown
- The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you. Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.” ’• Scott Woods
- “God calls Christians to oppose racism or prejudice of any kind.” ’• Unknown
- “God cares how we treat each other because we’re all created in His image (Genesis 1:27). He makes no distinction between the inherent value of one race or ethnicity over another.” ’• Unknown
- “Race doesn’t really exist for you because it has never been a barrier. Black folks don’t have that choice.” ’• Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,
In The Sin of White Supremacy: Christianity, Racism and Religious Diversity in America (Orbis, 2017), Jeannine Hill Fletcher, Ph.D., professor of theology, examines theology’s culpability in perpetuating ideas that elevate both Christianity and whiteness over all else.
The beauty of the gospel is that the God who is one and yet three–unity and diversity–has created a kingdom where both unity and diversity is celebrated as various people worship a common Savior who bought them with his blood and united them with his body.