Overcoming the “Other” in All of Us

Tomorrow, at a ceremony in honor of Black History month, I’m to give the opening prayer.  Already, my mind has been at work–what will I say in this prayer?  God knows I want to be respectful and mindful of all who will be in attendance.

But I’m also burdened with the need to highlight the problem with the “other” in our culture.  What do I mean?

The “other” is another way of saying, “Not us, but “them.”  It’s what our culture has been using for centuries and decades to divide humanity.  It’s our stereotypes.  Our prejudices.  Our suspicions.  Our slights.

Or as one friend of mine has framed the matter, “Otherness emanates from our response to the illusion of separation.”

But are we so different than the “other”?

Furthermore, it is what caused a 57-year-old Indian man to be assualted by a police officer in Madison, Alabama, because a neighbor called and described him as a “skinny black man, looking suspicious.”

This is just one example of our behavior and reaction toward the “other.”

Our culture will never be healed of its ongoing racial and socioeconomic divide until we overcome this unfortunate and deeply ill-conceived ideology of the “other”–which is in all of us.

This entry was posted in Black History Month, Racism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Overcoming the “Other” in All of Us

  1. Jon Hughes says:

    “Otherness emanates from our response to the illusion of separation.”

    I wonder what responsibility we have as Christians as to how we view those outside the faith: the “others”, if you like. Historically, tremendous atrocities have been carried out as a consequence of theological us-versus-them-ism.

    Which way do we read the Bible? Do the “separation” passages carry the most weight? Or do we have genuine regard for the “other” out of love for Christ and ultimate confidence in His all-inclusive redemption?

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