Visual Summary of “Color of Compromise” by Jemar Tisby

RACISM = Prejudice + power

A SYSTEM OF OPPRESSION BASED ON RACE

  • Complicit Christianity: Comfort > Conflict. Devaluing the image of God in POC to keep the status quo
  • Courageous Christianity: Stands against any person, policy or practice that devalues the glory of God in any human being

HOW CHRISTIANS RESPONDED TO RACISM THROUGHOUT U.S. HISTORY

THE BIBLE [image of an open Bible]

  • SLAVERY TO CIVIL WAR: Christians at the time preferred the plain reading that the Bible did not explicitly prohibit slavery, even though including outside sources shows the idea of slavery in Biblical times was very different
  • JIM CROW TO CIVIL RIGHTS: Southern Christians use the same argument to oppose Brown v. Board of Ed, saying segregation is not explicitly prohibited. [image of a scale]
  • PRESENT DAY: On social issues today (abortion, LGBTQIA+ rights), some Christians still use “letter of the law” to support their stances.
  • SLAVERY TO CIVIL WAR: The question of slavery caused many church divisions, like the Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians. [image of a broken heart]
  • JIM CROW TO CIVIL RIGHTS: Catholics and Pentecostals split over segregation. The church was actively involved in redlining. The KKK claimed to represent “Christian America.”
  • PRESENT DAY: Evangelicals became more conservative and politicized and were vocal about some issues, but were noticeably silent about racism. [image of a ballot and ballot box]
  • SLAVERY TO CIVIL WAR: Missionaries wanted to save the souls of the slaves, without concern for their physical liberation. [image of broken chains]
  • JIM CROW TO CIVIL RIGHTS: MLK Jr.’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” calls out moderate Christians, asking them to take a stance and take action in the fight for Civil Rights.
  • PRESENT DAY: Christians see racism as an individual sin, the failure to love one’s neighbor that can be solved one conversion, one friendship at a time. [image of holding hands]

SOME TAKEAWAYS…

  • [image of broken cycle] The history of the American Church’s response to racism has repeated itself and will continue to do so unless we choose courageous Christianity.
  • [image of candle] Individual conversion without a change in policies, only continues to reinforce existing systems of oppression.
  • [image of cross and ribbon] Reconciliation across racial lines is not something we can achieve, but a reality we must receive from God — it requires repentance, confession, and truth.

HOW DO WE BREAK THE REPETITION OF HISTORY?

Awareness

  • Watch/read history
  • Diversify your social media
  • Google first before asking your BIPOC friend
  • Talk to others about their perspectives
  • Find new places to hangout
  • Join a new club/group with people who are different from you
  • Create something that speaks to racial justice
  • Join an organization that advocates for racial/social justice
  • Donate money
  • Vote!!!

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Joy M.

Joy M.

Wants to change the world using technology. Loves both exploring new places and curling up with a good book and a cup of tea.