Recently I was asked in the comments section of this post to define racism. My definition of racism might be slightly different than the normal ones you hear. I try to think Christianly on these matters. Racism is primarily a matter of soteriology and eschatology. So here’s my working definition of racism.
Racism is the denial of Christ’s cross and resurrection. It is a denial of the pouring out of the Spirit whereby Christ has and is creating a new restored humanity that is learning how to wrestle against the Powers and not be determined by the Powers. Racism is the belief and practice that biology is more determinative than a Christian’s baptism and place at Eucharist where Christ’s body celebrates the entrance into creation Christ’s kingdom. Racism, within the North American context, is the making normative of white European culture with its attendant hegemony of power. Racism is the denial of God’s new creation whereby one’s cultural presence dominates the existence of other cultures. Racism is the denying, through political and ecclesial institutions, the imago Dei of other human beings that are not descendants of Europeans. That is the more contextual version of racism as it relates to North America.
Racism, in the North American context, is embodied when European-American Christians assume, oftentimes unknowingly, the normativity of their expression and practice of the Christian faith. This is exampled by European-American churches that think they are racially diverse but still have a white, middle-class aesthetic while having people of different cultures present in their worship. Such practices are racist and are examples of the church being handmaiden to the Principalities and Powers that continue to oppress and render hostile different cultures towards each other. Racism is capitulation to Powers in their perpetuation of hostility and oppression between different cultures.