Why So Much Apathy?

Sometimes I feel completely alone in my outrage.

It seems that whenever I raise the issue of racism among my peers, I get empty and abbreviated responses. Don’t get me wrong – everyone always agrees that a particular incident of racism is bad. But the tone of the responses I hear is similar to the disappointment one expresses after watching a bad movie or eating a below average meal.

In my mind, anything other than outrage at racism in our society is equivalent to apathy. Particularly for followers of Jesus.

A recent example in the news illustrates my point.

photo credit: rosipaw via photopin cc

Like virtually every high school in America, Wilcox County High School has an annual prom. Only in this Georgia community, the school doesn’t sponsor or organize the event. The parents do. And every year since schools were integrated in the 1970’s, parents have organized two proms: one for the white kids and one for the black kids.

Yes, you read that correctly.

This year, some of the students finally had enough. Four girls (two white and two black) created a Facebook page to raise funds for an integrated prom. Gratefully, they were successful. National news stories are now celebrating the first integrated prom at Wilcox County High School.

If you read all the way to the end of the ABC news story covering this, you’ll find a disturbing fact. It says,

“Despite this year’s groundbreaking integrated dance, once again this year there was a segregated prom attended only by white students. It wasn’t an officially sanctioned event, but a private one organized by white parents.”

Yes, you read that correctly as well.

This makes me angry. Outraged, in fact. It also deeply hurts my heart. It’s not just that racist parents continue to sponsor a ‘white only’ prom. It’s also that this segregated prom existed at all. For so long. How in the world could it be acceptable for such a blatant form of racism and segregation to take place in our society until last year?!

The Bible is clear that God loves justice. Jesus taught about the importance of justice. References to justice can be found throughout the entire Bible. Plus, God created all people in his image, and he makes it clear that heaven is beautifully diverse.

So why aren’t white Christians in our society more upset by such disgusting examples of injustice and racism? Where’s the collective outrage? If there were ever cause for righteous anger among Christians in America today, wouldn’t racism like this easily qualify? Shouldn’t white churches be leading the charge in our culture toward racial justice? Perhaps some of these questions can be answered by my thoughts in a previous blog.

I pray that my generation will renew the call for racial justice in America. May we boldly work toward racial unity, and become a model for the rest of the country to follow.

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