Race—Do You Like Yours?

Linda W Living as Anabaptists

Many documents require indication of race. One reason for this is to increase diversity and equal opportunity. That seems good, since to date one’s race or ethnicity still affects where and how we live, and what our opportunities are for material success.

But what if we were to strive not for racial “diversity” but for “integration”? What might that look like? Could it be good?

In a small island nation just south of us, that’s been brewing for a long time. Cuba has been settled over time by Spaniards and their African slaves, French masters and Chinese slaves, Polynesians, European Jews and still others. These groups intermarried starting in the 1600s, and so now Cubans come in many colors and various facial and body features. In Cuba race is not asked on any form because it’s unclear and irrelevant.

Since the Castro regime took over in the early 1960s, most people also earn nearly the same (low) salary, and types of employment are fairly evenly distributed across the color range. Could aiming for a “melting pot” rather than “diversity” of races be a good thing for us?

As a Caucasian woman I have been fortunate to enjoy the privileges that often go with that combination, even on visits to other countries. It saddens me to see others being denied opportunities and hospitality due to their appearance or lifestyle. Worse, people different from ourselves often suffer from our fear and consequent aggression. That is not what God wants, and it is not what Jesus models.

Scripture, both in the old and new testament, tells us to “fear not.” We are not to be afraid of whatever, and especially not of strangers. God is with us all. So, we are to treat “them” like “us”, or even better. Surely that can become easier when peoples intermingle as, indeed, they have done for millennia.