San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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January 29th, 2009
What is racist?

By ROBIN STEELE
PromiseLand Church Pastor

I can not speak for other races, creeds, backgrounds or women. However, I am an expert on my historical heritage.

As for white, 32 years old, male, raised in Texas to a Christian family, I can speak for quite a while. My background has interesting sides that funnel me into where I am today. I am blessed with a great, loving family. My childhood church was powerful. My college education deepened my prospective.

My family is white. I would say that my heredity is not racist. However, I would say that they pre judge non-white. When I say family, I am talking about extending several branches of the tree. After being with them for more than 30 years, I can say that they love everyone. No one that I know has ever done anything negative verbally or physically to a minority. Other races were not cursed.

I am not going to debate or discuss here the differences between being a racist or discriminatory or various other derivatives of race relations, their consequences or severity. Suffice it to say, I believe there are varying degrees of discrimination, and our background is on the mild side.

Have we paid minorities less than we would a white? Have we not given them a position because of color? Have we thought they would break the law or be lazy because of their color? Those questions are extremely difficult for me to answer.  Obviously, I can’t answer emphatically for all of them. But, I can speak for myself and be honest.

Through my early childhood influences, I was well on my way to answering the above questions in a prejudiced or borderline racist way. Thankfully, three things intercepted my racial prospective: a loving God, a multi-cultural church, and my education. God’s spirit has moved my heart and allowed my mind to welcome other cultures. 

I was raised in an extremely diverse church in Austin. Every week, I was surrounded by people from all over the country and world. Our leadership was passionate about loving and reaching everyone. While attending Texas State University, my intellect was stretched and it began to grow in a new dimension.

So, am I racist? I must look at my life and the relationships that I hold to make that determination. I married a white woman and have all white kids. I pastor a church in San Marcos, where there are more Hispanics than any other race. Our youth minister is black. Our family pastor is Hispanic.

Our church board has five members: three white, one black, and one Hispanic. Not only is our church one of the largest in town, it is the most ethnically diverse. Our church is actually more diverse (meaning there are whites, blacks, and Hispanics) than the town’s official demographics. Some of my close friends are Hispanic, black, and white.

Over the last five years of our church history, we have made skin color a non-issue. In fact, months or years go by before we ever even say anything about race. We don’t want it to be an issue and it has not been for us. However, some people have left our church because it was too diverse for their comfort level. To be clear, whites, blacks, and Hispanics have left for this reason.

However, there is a nucleus of people in this region that are more open-minded. We realize that heaven is going to be multicultural and there is a lot to learn from each other right now. PromiseLand church is a haven for this mentality. We are worshiping, we are sharing culture, we are blending a little.

So what is the point of this? Let us all expand our minds and intellect. How do we as people of America live the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Is the dream to keep talking about race and our differences? To be unique and yet equal? To all be blended into one color with no uniqueness? What is God’s idea of the dream? How does end-time prophecy from the Bible relate to the racial status in America?

These are all questions that we as a community must come together and answer. We must not be afraid of disagreement and not let our past dictate our future. Let us lead by example and show the nation that San Marcos practices what all the politicians are preaching.

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