The other day, around the dinner table, I had a talk with my boys about race. Here, in the form of a letter to them, is the gist of our conversation.
Dear Michael and Nathanael,
The time has come, I think, to talk to you about race. I really wish the world were in a place where we didn’t have to have this conversation, but, unfortunately, stupidity abounds, and so here we are.
You have probably figured out by now that your mother and I come from two vastly different ethnic backgrounds. My ancestors hailed overwhelmingly from the Scottish highlands, with some lines going back to English lords, French nobility, and probably not a few Viking raiders. The fact that all these branches were located in the cold north of Europe means that I am white. Really white. Glow-in-the-dark, read-by-the-light-of-my-epidermis white.
Meanwhile, your mother’s ancestors include the Romans, Arabs, Jews, and Celts who inhabited Portugal at various times, as well as the ebony tribesmen of the African plains and bronze denizens of the Amazon rain forest. This means that, besides her incredible physique, your mother also inherited a beautiful, sleek bronze-brown skin tone, amazing black eyes, a brilliant smile…
I’m sorry…what was I talking about?
Oh yeah. Race.
So, back to my side of the family. Your grandmother, my Mom, has done some impressive work when it comes to genealogy. She has identified ancestors of ours way back into the Middle Ages. You should talk to her about it sometime…it’s pretty amazing.
Did you know we had ancestors on the Mayflower? Cool, right? Of course, one of them became the first person hanged for murder in the Plymouth colony…so there’s that. In fact, when you go back through the whole family tree, you find an eclectic mix of heroes and scoundrels, people to emulate and people who serve as cautionary tales. You have one ancestor who fought to free the slaves in the American Civil War, and, though I know of no specific case, it is quite possible, probable even, that there were one or two – or more – somewhere along the line who owned slaves.
Sometimes the good and bad can even be found in the same person. Did you know that one of your ancestors became Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin? Awesome! But he was a Socialist, so…bummer.
Genealogy is harder to trace here in Brazil, but you can be sure that among your mother’s ancestors you can find the same mixture of heroes and scoundrels, oppressors and oppressed, or confusing mixtures of all of the above.
So what am I getting at with all of this? Well, first we need to go back to the stupidity I mentioned earlier. You see, there is a group of people – unfortunately they seem to thrive on university campuses and in public office – who have decided that the world is best seen “through the lens of race”. The technical term for their philosophy is “Critical Race Theory”.
They have determined that throughout history there have been racial winners and racial losers, and that the descendants of the racial winners must now make things up to the descendants of racial losers. How much is owed, and how we will know when said historical debt has been paid are questions to be determined at a later date. Indeed, due to something called “systemic racism” we can be pretty sure that the debt will in fact never be paid, the wrongs never fully righted, forgiveness and reconciliation never truly attained.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. If you find all this confusing, just remember this simple formula: winners = bad, losers = good.
And just so we’re clear, my pasty-white skin has identified me as a “racial winner”, ie bad, while your mother’s healthy bronze glow puts her squarely in the “racial loser”, ergo good, category.
By now you probably know where this is headed. Since you both are the product of a representative of the evil oppressor class getting together with a representative of the virtuous oppressed class (and you really don’t want to know what they have to say about that!), where does that leave you? Are you sufficiently white to be evil, or sufficiently black to be virtuous? Do you owe reparations? Are you owed reparations? Do they cancel each other out?
You may be able to find some solace in the case of Mr. Obama, who – though his mother was fully as white as I – was able to ride the race-horse (see what I did there?) all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Being a racial loser makes winning so much easier, see?
Just so we’re clear: the philosophy I describe above is crap. Pure, unadulterated, weapons-grade crap. And if someone were to object to my use of the word “crap” and suggest I tone it down, I would reply that I am toning it down, and that’s why I used the word “crap”.
Michael and Nathanael, here’s what you need to know about yourselves:
1. You are created in the Image of God. This gives you an intrinsic worth that you share with every other human being, regardless of ethnic background.
2. You are sinners before a Holy God. This is yet another characteristic you have in common with all others, and it means that you, and they, are desperately in need of the atoning work of Christ on the cross. And this atonement is made available with no ethnic, racial or national considerations whatsoever.
3. You are responsible for your actions, and yours alone. You are not vicarious representatives of any particular ethnic group. The color of your skin does not entitle you to privileges, nor does it condemn you to undesirable consequences. There is a word for people who think that it does: racists.
4. Your ancestral heritage confers upon you neither superiority nor inferiority. You never need apologize for any aspect of your ethnic background. Neither does it make you any better, any more virtuous, or any more deserving than anybody else.
At this point I should make it clear that I am quite aware of the group of misfits and ne’er-do-wells known as the “alt-right”, who are the mirror image of the “Critical Race” proponents I describe above. All they do is invert the “good” and “evil” categories. While they have nowhere near the cultural influence or political clout as their “woke” counterparts , their ideas are forged in the same flames of Hell, and numbers 1 through 4 above apply equally to them.
It is highly probable that, as you make your way though life, you will be accosted by race-hustlers, from one end of the political spectrum or another, who want to convince you that there is some sort of advantage to be had in viewing your life through racial lenses. They will try to categorize you and get you to act out the part of whatever category you have been assigned. They will offer benefits for cooperation and threaten dire consequences for not adhering to the party line.
When that happens, remember these things I have told you, and tell them to pound sand.
Edited to fix a typo.
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