Strike a Nerve,

In this year of what some view as one of our most important elections, the level of polarization has risen to volatile levels. Caught in the middle of this, are the fragile interactions between ethnic groups.  As with any chemical compound under stress and decomposition of change, this great American experiment begins to expose dangerous elements. It’s almost as though someone has struck a nerve.

The level at which partisans criticize their political adversaries using greed, manipulation and accusations of being un- American is unprecedented. Society disintegrates into the decomposition of fear mongering, stereotypes and ultimately we hear the cries of racism.   Often, pinning scapegoats seems to be the quick answer as change happens simultaneous to economic and financial stress. Once introduced, Racism becomes the social equivalent to the “nuclear option”, therefore striking a nerve on all sides of the ethnic divide. Many times, after this marginalizing term is inserted, communication stops.  This begins to lock people into camps, clicks and factions.

Conclusion: let’s not talk about it. Absolutely untrue; acting like it doesn’t exist is akin to giving it free reign to unravel society. The Race Card nerve is struck with many ethnic minorities.  Be it right or wrong; this Race Card becomes the default response to the clandestine “great protector” of Privilege. The fact is that people of the dominant ethnic group rest comfortably under its shadow while not really being protected at all. Regardless, members of this group on the lower to middle economic rungs are only operating under the illusion of protection and are in essence “Chasing the Dusk”. Some of these people have been indoctrinated by society to flaunt privilege about like a piece of fine jewelry. In actuality their jewelry is of the costume variety.

Though they do enjoy some lower level elements of privilege, they have no more real power than the ethnic minority groups they are encouraged to shun. The actual class of privilege is reserved for a wealthy few. All of this is layered upon the backdrop of this pivotal election. Where, on all sides of the isle Christ’s followers are often unknowingly swept into this volatile atmosphere of extremism.  How much has racism, Privilege and the Race Card played into this political season whether we are referring to voter suppression maneuvers vs voter fraud, fiscal policy, foreign affairs, campaign rhetoric, etc? God only knows.

People are moving apart in ideology rapidly. Memes generated by the real class of privilege are delivered in the mode of philosophies that appeal to perception rather than connection. We follow critics into ideological camps by a system that takes the most basic of emotions and attaches the most visible of differences i.e. race/ethnicity and surrounds these with chicanery. Bishop TD Jakes identified Four kinds of critics in his description of Luke 13: 10-17. (Jesus was criticized for doing work on the Sabbath):

* Institutional Critics – Criticize behavior that is out of context with their point of reference.

* Positional Critics – Criticize based on their perspectives and priorities.

* Intimidation Based Critics – They criticize because your success highlights their deficiencies.

* Associative Critics – Criticize to attack what you represent.

Often, in interactions with members of a different group, we automatically sense restlessness rise up in us and we don’t even know where it comes from. We can love the Lord with everything in us, but for the life of us, we find that some of the time we really do have a problem with our neighbor. Jesus offered this supposition:

John spoke up, “Teacher, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn’t in our group. Jesus wasn’t pleased. “Don’t stop him. No one can use my name to do something good and powerful, and in the next breath cut me down. If he’s not an enemy, he’s an ally. Why, anyone by just giving you a cup of water in my name is on our side. Count on it that God will notice.” John 9:38-41 (The Message)

Kevin Robinson Executive Director of Accord1

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