We should refuse to engage in racially denigrating stories, humour

Dear Editor,

While positive changes have occurred at certain times, racism not only persists in our world, but in many places is powerfully resurgent. The ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people is sanctioned by the state to the extent that Bob Geldof in his address to the United Nations castigated Aung San Suu Kyi as an ethnic cleanser.

Cries for justice around the world inevitably confront us with the evil of racism. Those cries have not gone away.  Racism includes psychological feelings of superiority, social privilege, economic position, or political power—per Webster’s Dictionary. The essence of racism is prejudice coupled with power. It is rooted in the sin of pride and exclusivity which assumes “that I and my kind are superior to others and therefore deserve special privileges.”

Racism perpetuates a basic untruth which claims the superiority of one group of people over another because of the colour of their skin, their cultural history, their tribal affiliation, or their ethnic identity. This lie distorts the Biblical and Quranic understanding of God’s action in His creation. Racism is just about everywhere. It is in our language, customs and beliefs, fears, work, schools and sports. It is virtually everywhere except in those places where people deliberately choose to remove it. Among specific personal commitments should be the refusal to participate in a racially discriminatory milieu, and the refusal to engage in racially denigrating stories and humour. We must recognize that we are part of a world that is itself infected with racism, which endangers our spiritual health.

Yours faithfully,

Albert Khan

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