In a recent football game in Spain, a banana was thrown at a player, Dani Alves (pictured). He picked up the banana started to eat it. It was one fans attempt at Racism and one player’s stance against it.
Those who promote racism often use offensive names to undermine the humanity of people of other races. Racism understands that if we give someone a name that is belittling it will encourage people to treat the person in a belittling way. In other words, what we call things will affect the way we treat them.
In the story of humanity’s fall in Genesis 3 we see the snake understood (or started?) this. God starts by calling the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, the one from which you shall not eat (Gen 2:16). Adam and Eve know this. We see this when Eve calls it this when she responds to the snake’s first question.
However the snake renames the fruit. He calls it the one, that above all else, will make you ‘wise’. It is the one, above all others, that will make you ‘like God’ (Gen 3:5).
Today the snake is still renaming things to encourage people to misuse things. One way he does this is through Racism. But there are more subtle ways. Consider, how do we treat a drug addict whore? Or how do we treat a prodigal daughter? How do we treat the ‘lazy good-for-nothing unemployed’? Or how do we treat ‘the least of Jesus’ brothers’ (Mat 25:40)?
It does make me wonder about what words I use flippantly. It isn’t that I want to be over-the-top politically correct, but am I helping others mistreat people that God created and loves? Do I inadvertently support the snake’s agenda to rename people in a dehumanizing way?