MYTH #3 - ONE RACE IS SUPERIOR OVER ANOTHER
The inferiority of one race versus another has been debated back and forth from the beginning of the nation. For example, one of the justifications for slavery was the “inherent inferiority” of black people. Time and time again sports authorities have claimed superiority of blacks in certain sports along with the limitations of whites.
Careers have risen and fallen on an announcer’s statement about black sports prowess. Most shocking in recent years was Michael Irvin's comments that Tony Romo, the Dallas Cowboy superstar quarterback, had to have black blood. Ironically, Irvin is a black, pro-football great, turned sportscaster. Similar statements by white media figures would have gotten them fired. Whether cultural truisms acknowledge it or not, racial distinctives in adulthood are due to nurture not nature.
MYTH #4 - THE BLACK COMMUNITY IS MONOLITHIC
The unity of the black community was its greatest strength in the civil right days. In addition, black political unity gave rise to its influence in the Democratic Party. It is easy to see today that unconditional black commitment to the Democratic Party has become a real liability to the advancement of black community concerns.
The black community is growing. A Pew research study released in November of 2007 shows that blacks self identify as two different black communities. They reported that African Americans see “a widening gulf between the values of middle class and poor blacks.” In light of this split they do not feel that blacks can be considered one race any more. Once this truth was teased out by the Pew survey, it is little wonder that many blacks are less positive about their future than any other time since 1983.
Although blacks feel very strongly that discrimination is still very much alive in the nation, the study showed that overt racial hatred is less for both blacks and whites than it has been in decades. Pew found that blacks are unified in their lack of confidence in the criminal justice system as well.
MYTH #5 - BLACK POLITICIANS CANNOT COUNT ON WHITE SUPPORT AT THE POLLS
White voters have followed through in supporting Barak Obama thus far in this election. Therefore, the failure of attractive black candidates to close the deal with the American public at the polls (sometimes called the Bradley or Wilder effect) seems to have been nullified by Senator Obama.
A decade from now the entire racial landscape of the nation can be changed for the better if we seize the moment. The evangelical Christian community has the greatest chance of any community to lead the way in resolving the race issue in America. In light of our unique position in modern history, let’s make a difference starting today.
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.