It’s taken me a little bit, but I finally decided to make a couple of comments about National Geographic’s April special issue.
The headline on the cover reads, “Black and White” and the subtitle, “These twin sisters make us rethink everything we know about race.”
Reading through here gave me mixed feelings. First, it was good to see Susan Goldberg, the editor of National Geographic, accept responsibility for inaccurate and biased reporting over the years on the issue of “race.”
Her editorial in the April edition started out with BOLD, BIG letters stating, “For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It.” All I could say was, “Wow”!
I grew up on National Geographic, my grandmother gave me a subscription for years. It’s sad that I never thought about it at the time but almost every female of color that I saw in there was usually naked from the waste up.
Even the way that people of color in general were depicted wasn’t very flattering. I’ve used articles from past issues to illustrate how racist America was. I’ve got to admit that I missed the 1916 caption to a photo of Australian Aboriginal people that Ms. Goldberg cited in her editorial. See below.
“South Australian Blackfellows: These savages rank lowest in intelligence of all human beings.”
On the other hand, I’m frustrated that racism is an issue in America. We’re supposed to be the most “Christian” nation on the planet, and we’re still struggling with this issue! Why is that?
I place a lot of the blame on the “church” for not taking a stand on this issue a LONG time ago. Think about it, Body of Christ, we’ve had the answer from the very beginning. Unfortunately, too many of us have been unwilling to share that answer.
I’ve got to give credit where credit is due. My spiritual father is a man named Ken Ham. He’s the founder of the ministry Answers in Genesis, which has built both the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter.
Shortly after I was saved I was introduced to his book, “The Lie: Evolution.” After reading it, my faith exploded. This book taught me that I could trust the Word of God, and that the Bible wasn’t just a “good book “containing “spiritual truth” or “moral lessons.” No, Ken’s book taught me that the Bible isn’t fairy tales or fables, but that it’s a “history” book from the only one who’s always been there and who knows everything. And that’s God! That truth has changed my life as well as my family’s life forever.
I was blessed to be able and learn from him and many other godly men at the time. One of the topics that impacted me the most was the issue of “racism.” Ken and the ministry that he’d come from in Australia had taken a STRONG stand on this issue for over a decade before I ever got involved with them. They’d very clearly taught that there was only one race, the human race, and that every person on the planet goes back to a literal Adam and a literal Eve. By the way, the implications of this are very clear. And that is that we’re all related and we’re all sinners regardless of what we look like on the outside and we all need a Savior named Jesus Christ.
I’d never heard that message before. I’d graduated high school in Lexington, Virginia, from a school system where my graduating class was the first to be integrated.
I’m embarrassed by my attitudes and actions from those days and there are no excuses for it. The same way Ms. Goldberg accepted responsibility, I’ve had to accept responsibility and repent for what I’ve said and done in the past.
But here’s the rub. Why has it taken this long for National Geographic to get with the program? In Ms. Goldbergs editorial she writes, “Race is not a biological construct, as writer Elizabeth Kolbert explains in this issue, but a social one that can have devastating effects. “So many of the horrors of the past few centuries can be traced to the idea that one race is inferior to another.””
Amen! I can document that a Creation ministry in Australia has been teaching exactly that since 1980 as a minimum, and I believe it goes back earlier than that. How could such an academic publication such as National Geographic have been so far off?
There’s only one explanation that makes sense, it’s because their worldview just wouldn’t allow them to see the alternative answer.
On the other hand, why is it taking the church so long to stand boldly on the Word of God and address this issue?
Christian, we are the only one with an answer to this problem. God’s Word is very clear. 1 Corinthians 15:45 states that every person on this planet goes back to one man and Genesis 3:20 makes it clear that we all go back to one woman.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the implications. And that is we’re all related, there’s only one race, the human race. By the way, God also told us that in Acts 17:26 where He states that we’re all of “one blood.” Yes, there are tribes and nations, but the Bible never talks about “races” other than “running a good race.” That has nothing to do with what we look like on the outside.
Since being taught this vitally important lesson and teaching it myself across the globe, I’ve had some interesting experiences. Church members have walk out on me during meetings. I’ve been called a “heretic.” Church deacon’s confronted and challenged me openly after the session. I’ve even had pastor’s ask me to pull the “interracial marriage” part out of my talk before giving it. One of the strangest experiences was when I was told that “Robins breed with robins, blue jays breed with blue jays. God separated the “races” and now you’re trying to put them all back together!” Worst of all, I’ve even had a speaking event cancelled because the church by-laws stated that if they let a man in an “interracial” marriage speak in their pulpit the pastor would be removed from ministry. (By the way, if there’s only one race, the human race, there’s no such thing as interracial marriage! Think about it.)
My response in all of those situations, plus many others, has been and will continue to be, “Please show me in the Word of God where I’m incorrect. I don’t care what any man has taught on this issue. I care what the God who created man has to say about it. By the way, I’m still waiting on the Bible verse for the “robins breeding with robins” thing!
Body of Christ, if WE don’t take a firm stand on this issue there is no answer. Thank you Ken Ham and thank you Carl Wieland for showing me that the Bible had a better answer than what I’d been raised with. I am a life that has been changed by your obedience to God’s Word. I now have the privilege of attempting to pour into others what was poured into me.
Friends, it is our desire to encourage you to stand firm in the face of adversity and speak the truth in love.
In other words, to . . .