Defining Racism

Defining Racism

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Defining Racism

To 'prejudge' is to make up your mind on an issue before you look at

facts. You can prejudge a book, or a film, or a person. If you
prejudge a person you

might decide what their characteristics are, what their personalities
are like and

whether you like them or not simple by the way that they look. If you
prejudge them

because of their ethnic origin or their skin colour then you are
racially prejudging

them. People who are racially prejudice may belief that their ethnic
origins or skin

colour makes them superior to other people. They stereotype people.

prejudice is also called racism. People may use their own

views to physically or verbally hurt others who they see to be
'different´ to them.

Examples of racism can be as extreme as the prosecution of the Jews,
by Hitler, or by

racist jokes, which are often thought to be harmless.


What Christian Teaching might be used in a discussion about racism?

There are many Christian teachings that are about racial prejudice,
and can be

seen throughout the Old and the New Testament of the bible. Many of
these can help

in discussion about racism.

In the very first part of the bible, in Geneses, it says that man was
made in the

image of God, speaking of all men without exception. A good example of
the teaching

of racism in the bible is the story of the Good Samaritan [Lk
10:25-37]. The story

tells us that often, our judgement of people can be wrong, and to
stereotype people is

incorrect. In the story Jesus uses the fact that the Jews stereotypes
the Samaritans to

be enemies who would not help a Jew, and priests and Levites were
stereotyped as

being good people who would help someone in need of help. The story
tells us that

this is sometimes not the case, and it is the characteristics of a

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person, not the ethnic

origin or occupation that determines whether a person is good or bad.

Another good story in the bible that teaches us about racism is In LK

with the incident of the centurion's servant. The story teaches us
chiefly about faith;

however, I see a lot of relationship between racism as well. The Jew's
do not enter

gentile's homes because they believe that it makes them unclean, and
the centurion

was a gentile. Although his attitude may have offended the centurion,
it did not

because he understood then customs of the Jews and has respect for
their beliefs.

Jesus then tells the crowd that he was a great man,

"…not even in Israel have I seen faith like this." This shows us that
it is the

characteristics of a man that defines him, and also; in God's eyes all
are equal.

There are many other examples of Christian teaching, which teach us

racism is wrong and we should treat everyone as equal, and with the
same respect that

we would expect them to show us. For example in the Old Testament in

[19:33-34], (Talking to the Jews):

"If a stranger lives with you in your land, do not molest him. You
must count

him as one of your own countrymen and love him as yourself-for you
were once

stranger's yourselves in Egypt. I am Yahweh your God." Here we are
told not to be

racist, because that would make us hypocrites because we too were once
foreigners in

Egypt; this extract is particularly important to us, the English,
because our roots come

all over the globe. In Acts [11:1-18] we are shown that it is man not
God that brings

racism to the Earth; and that god believes that all humans are created

"…What God has made clean you have no right to call profane."

In Galatians [3:26-29] we are told that everyone without distinction
is loved

by God and that we are all equal:

"…and you are, all of you, sons of God…there are no more distinctions

between Jew and Greek, slave And free, male and female, but all of you
are one in

Christ Jesus."


Explain How Christians might put their beliefs into action.

If we look back into history we see various people doing extraordinary

to fight racism; they are putting their beliefs about racial prejudice
into action. For

example, Martin Luther King was a black American Christian who
believed that God

had created black and white men to be equals. He worked towards
equality by

organising and taking part in non violent protests. He organised
freedom marches, he

gave speeches protesting against the injustice and campaigned against
the separate

schools and restaurants, and the policy of white men taking priority
over things such

as seats in buses. Because of his beliefs he was assassinated in April
1986, and

became a martyr in the eyes of many.

Another famous example of men in history performing extraordinary

for their beliefs about racism is Trevor Huddleston. Huddleston was an

archbishop who spent many of his years in South Africa, standing up
for the victims

of Apartheid. Because of his Christian beliefs he believed in equality
among black

and white people. He even said that it is impossible to be a Christian
and not to do

anything against this injustice. I believe that in certain situations
violence is

acceptable however you should first of all try all non violent methods
of protests.

We cannot all go to such lengths to stop the problem of racism;
however there

are still many other ways that an ordinary Christian can fight against
racial prejudice;

putting their beliefs into action. For example, in the apartheid in
South Africa, people

refused any produce from South Africa, it was a boycott on a mass
scale, and anyone

could help. Other countries refused to play national sports against
them. Eventually

the South African government was put under so much pressure that they
ended the

Apartheid. Christians can also pray to God for advice and help about
the issues of

racism. Throughout Christian teaching, and also in my own view,
Christians have a

duty to defend the vulnerable, like Camilla Torres, although are not
expected to go to such lengths.


"Violence is an appropriate response to racism." Do you agree? Give
reasons to support your answer and show that you have thought about
different points of view. You must refer to Christianity in you answer

There are many different points of view to take into account before
answering this


Sometimes, when you are trying to an injustice, violence is
acceptable, but

only when all the other alternatives have been considered. For example
in world war

two the Jews were being exterminated. This, among other reasons made
the war more

necessary, there was no other choice, other than to let it carry on.

A good example of violent protest to stop an injustice can be found in

bible, in John 2:15. It says that Jesus violently throws out the
dealers in the temple.

There are only certain conditions where this is appropriate.

Violent protest is called liberation theology, and in the 1960's a
catholic priest

called Camilla Torres became part of a guerrilla army to fight an
injustice. He told us

that not only is revolution acceptable for Christians, it is

During the Apartheid, Mandela, after non violent protest failed, began

support violent protest, which did have an influence on the ending.

Non violent protest is also another way to fight injustice. Throughout

life, Jesus led a non-violent life, with little exception, such as him
throwing the

dealers out of the temple. For example, when he was in the Mount of
Olives and was

being arrested, he forbade his disciples to use violence to help him,
he says to them,

"That is enough!" (Talking to them after Peter chopped one of the
guard's ears


Martin Luther King was famous for his protests against racism. Because

his Christian beliefs he never used violence, and enormous progress
was made by his

to end racial prejudice and discrimination. He made speeches,
organised boycotts and

attended sit-ins, things which ordinary people can do.

When I look at through history and see the facts I believe that
violence is

acceptable to end injustice, such as violence, however, only when non
violent protest

has failed to work, there are no more options, and also if the rewards
are greater then

the harm done. Thomas Aquinas' Just war theory, although relates
mainly about war,

it should be considered in other situations. Violence should only ever
be used as a

last resort.


* Letts religious Study guide

* Nostra Aetate

* The Papers of Martin Luther King

* Black Crime, White racism

* Internet resources


* "Apartheid" by Tony Burns

* The Bible
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