Have You Heard?
Unless you live under a rock or play video games all day while your mom does your laundry and pays your bills, you are probably aware that there was an election held in the United States. And unless you are so “spiritual” that you could care less who leads the nation in which you live, you are probably aware that Barack Obama was elected to a second term.
That being said, I thought I would share with you what happened on Wednesday morning, the day after the election.
If you do not already know, I drive a school bus in the mornings and afternoons to supplement my income as a bi-vocational pastor. The students I transport range in age from 5 to 18.
On Wednesday morning, after transporting the older students to school, I stopped to pick up my first elementary students. At 7:41 a.m. the first three, two girls and one boy, got on the bus
As happened earlier in the morning with the middle and high school students, chants of “Obama won! Obama won!” rang out and echoed within the aluminum walls of my bus. It was like both young and old went to the same victory rally. Then, a sweet, little girl (I won’t mention her name) came up behind me as I was driving and excitedly asked,
“Did you know Obama won?”
“Yes, I know.”
“Who did you vote for, Mr. Baker?”
“I voted for Mr. Romney.”
“Ewwww! Boooooo! Why did you vote for Romney?”
“Why do you think I voted for Mitt Romney?” I asked.
“Because he was too white, that’s why.”
How insulting! She thought (assumed) that I voted for Romney because he looked like me. Why would she think that? Whatever she believed is what she was taught at home. Whatever she thought of me was based on what she was told about all white people. What was I supposed to say?
I spoke the truth. “[Little girl],” I said, “that was a very racist statement.”
Alive and Well
Sadly, after all the progress that has been made in this great nation, racism is still alive and well, but not in the form people want to admit. Reverse-racism is just as much racism as any other kind, but few recognize it, and fewer condemn it.
Wednesday morning I was essentially labeled a bigot because I voted for a candidate that was the same race as me. If that was true, then what does it say about those of a different color who voted for the candidate that looked like them? Are they bigots, too?
Believe it or not, legalism and this story have a lot in common. Legalism assumes the thoughts and intentions of another based on outward appearances and man-made teachings. Reverse-racism, at least in my case, assumed my intentions because of my skin color. Now, what was it that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said?
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.…
Legalism ignores the “content of one’s character” as long as outward appearances don’t match a pre-determined template for holiness, while reverse-racism disqualifies legitimate concern and silences those who would speak out.
Both legalism and reverse-racism tend to cause people to act out of fear, rather than conviction. Both steal a person’s God-given freedom to think.
Both are wrong.
 William J. Federer, Great Quotations: A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Quotations Influencing Early and Modern World History Referenced According to Their Sources in Literature, Memoirs, Letters, Governmental Documents, Speeches, Charters, Court Decisions and Constitutions (St. Louis, MO: AmeriSearch, 2001).