Healing racism—getting rid of labels

Honest labeling can provide useful information about consumer products. But when labels are applied to humans, we are bearing false witness against our neighbor. One of the most bigoted labeling practices today is racism.

Racism often seems easier for civic-minded individuals to decry when it occurs in a remote country or, at least, in a different part of the city or region from where we are living. Under these circumstances our own lives are not directly affected, and we may fearlessly state, as the author of Malachi does, "Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?"

But increasingly many of us are finding ourselves facing racial tensions closer to home—maybe in our neighborhoods, in our school systems, or at work. Racial conflicts may arise from our increased mobility or from our growing interdependence in today's global society. Or perhaps from mental turmoil arising from mankind's awakening to the gross economic inequities resulting from traditional historical practices of racism. Or maybe even from cases of "reverse discrimination."

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January 21, 1991

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