Innocent Racism: Sooo…Exactly What Are You?

So this week a friend send me this video to watch. I was laughing so hard I nearly died laughing.

Seriously, it was pretty bad. Fortunately my wife was able to revive me. Then I watched it again.

Have at it:

While it’s incredibly funny, the video highlights an all-too-true reality: We judge people based on external qualities and then form opinions based on those judgments. I know what you’re thinking:

“Oh boy – here we go again. Another post on race.”

Well…yes. While some deny it or try to trivialize it, the truth is that this is a common experience in the world. As husband to a mixed-race woman I’ve been there and have heard people ask:

“So…what are you?”

“Where are you from originally?”

Here’s a true story – Years ago we were interviewing for a church position. We had sent in a resume, photograph, sermon sample, etc. The search committee called me to conduct a phone interview. Over the phone one of the deacons asked, “What ethnicity is your wife?” My response? “Um, why does it matter?”

We did not end up going to that church.

Our problem is that, in these questions we pretend that we’re not racist. But we are. If we weren’t racist why would we even need to ask the question? I know,  know. You’re just curious. You just want information.


That’s the kind of question you ask when you have a real relationship with and you end up having a conversation about family trees. It’s not something you ask someone superficially.

The Apostle Paul tried to address the way we view each other and the ways those views play out in behavior. He said that there is no class distinction in Christianity. There is not race distinction in Christianity. There is no gender distinction in Christianity. In Jesus the playing field is leveled. We are no longer this or that. We simply are. When you ask a person what he is and where he comes from you are taking away his ability simply to be.

That’s not Christian. Well, I suppose it too often IS Christian.

But it’s not supposed to be…

Why We Love to Hate Miley


Social media seems to have erupted into a ball of fury against Miley Cyrus. At least in the circles in which I travel online. And I’ll be honest, most of my connections tend to have a faith background of some sort. So Miley’s behavior on the Video Music Awards (VMA’s) the other night was met with outrage, disgust, and a lot of judgmental attitudes.

I think it’s time that the “Christians” who have been complaining about the raunchy performance needs to consider a couple things:

1)      Stop putting blame on Miley’s parents for their parenting skills and personal values. No matter what, there comes a time when we are each responsible for our own behavior and actions. As much as I love my kids and try to instill values and manners into them, they are human beings with free will. They have to choose on their own the path they will walk.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is from the Old Testament. Israel’s leader, Joshua, is reminding the nation about everything God did for them. Then he puts a challenge to them – he says that they have a choice on the path they will follow. He tells them:

“Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

No matter what her parents did – even if they were the most fantastical and splendiferous parents into the whole gosh-darn world – Miley makes her own choices. I think she has made some crummy choices, but that’s ultimately on her, so stop judging her parents.

2)      The music industry in our society has been about shock and awe for a long time. Miley is merely another performer in a long line of performers who seek to shock audiences with  crass and sexual performances. Madonna, Cher, Britney Spears, J-Lo, Lil Kim, Shakira…the list goes on and on. Don’t be upset about kids watching the show and what they had to see. It’s not like they were sitting down to watch Leave it to Beaver. It was MTV’s Video Music Awards. Really…what were you expecting?

Let’s not kid ourselves – America tunes in to the VMA’s because we want to be titillated. The reason why many are expressing shock is because they never expected Hannah Montana to be the one doing the titillating. This is what we remember – what we WANT to remember:

America's Sweetheart
America’s Sweetheart

Don’t fault her for buying into the culture (a culture you were supporting by watching) – fault the culture that desires to tune into that behavior and refuse to engage with that culture. As difficult as it seems, Christians are supposed to remain a certain distance from the world. In it yet not of it. The Bible says:

Don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. (James 4:4)

Don’t be surprised when people in the world behave like worldly people. Don’t be shocked. Someone without Christ has no reason to behave according to biblical standards and values. That also means we can stop judging (there’s a lot of that going around) Miley. We don’t have to judge and condemn her. Pray for her. It’s tragic to see people making horrible choices, but judging a worldly person on their worldliness really does no good at all. Well…maybe it makes us feel a little better about ourselves, right?

We can be better than that.

For God’s sake.

For ours…

Related Posts:
~ Miley, the Morning After

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