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Did You Know I’m a Racist?

racist

I’ve been blogging since 2007. I have received thousands of negative, hostile comments from people who disagree with something I said or object to my existence as a living, breathing human being. I’ve been called more names than I can remember, pilloried for daring to tell my story or for having an opinion. ‘Tis the nature of the beast, I suppose.

Today, I received an email from a Black woman named Amanda who is a student at the University of Missouri. I replied to her email, she returned the favor, I did the same . . . no further response from her.

What follows is our exchange (all spelling and grammar in the original):

Amanda:

To call yourself a Christian and think that the “curse” of Cain belongs to BLACK PEOPLE with all due respect because we are not Black then you have come as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The curse was the Albino. It is scientifically documented that ALL LIFE INCLUDING THE GAREN OF EDEN WAS LOCATED IN AFICA. PEOPLE WERE ALREADY BLACKS AS YOU SAY. The curse was the white of your skin because melanin protects you from the sun so as a dark-skinned person the sun would not ne punishment. But that is not even the case. The mark was placed upon Cain’s head. Stop inciting racism through Christianity. Trust me more people will go to hell than heaven and your written work proves just how tainted your spirit is. Ole colonizer.

Bruce:

Amanda,

Evidently, reading comprehension is not your strong suit. The article in question, https://brucegerencser.net/2019/01/the-curse-of-cain-why-blacks-have-dark-skin/ , was about my experiences at an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) college in the 1970s and as a pastor of IFB churches. You failed to see the context of this post.

I await your apology.

Thank you.

Bruce “Ole Colonizer” Gerencser, who is an atheist, by the way, a supporter of Black Lives Matter, a man who has numerous Black readers, a man who, as a liberal, socialist, and humanist, supports racial equity and ending systemic racism

Amanda:

You can’t even call Black People, people. Blacks is what you say. I read what you wrotewe all share one common ancestor. All of us. And just because you are  pastor means nothing. I have known several pastors to misuse the information in the Bible, ole King James and his appetite for LUST.  You state you left “the young racist thinking behind but you all still carry a piece of racism regardless if it is not directly. You come from a racist family obviously.  You get no apology from me. The fact you say BLACKS is telling in itself.

Do better with your writing. We are Black PEOPLE

Bruce:

Amanda,

Evidently, reading comprehension is not your strong suit. I shared my PAST experiences, not what I presently believe. If you can’t see that, I don’t know what to tell you. BTW, I’m not a pastor.

As far as my use of the word Blacks, it is the word my Black readers prefer I use. Same way with using the word White. You see, I care about how I characterize people, that’s why I asked my Black readers how they preferred to be represented. I did the same with LGBTQ people, and, as a result, I stopped using the word homosexual.

You’ve backed yourself into a corner by hurling all sorts of insults at me. Now, instead of admitting you misread my post and misjudged me as a person, you double down on faulty assumptions. You do owe me an apology, but I know one will not be forthcoming. 

I do plan to use your emails as fodder for a blog post. My readers will be excited when they learn I’m a racist.

I suggest you do some more study about the man you think is a racist:

Does Racism Exist in Rural Northwest Ohio?

Local IFB Pastor John MacFarlane’s Latest on “Reverse Racism” and “Miscegenation”

OMG Pastor MacFarlane, Did You Really Say There’s No Racism in Rural Northwest Ohio?

Typical Example of Racism in Rural Northwest Ohio

The Many Faces of Racism in the U.S. (by Carolyn, my editor)

Questions: Bruce, Is Rural Northwest Ohio Less Prejudiced Than When You Were a Child?

I Love Black People, Said the Local White Man

Bruce Gerencser 

Amanda failed to understand the context of the post titled The Curse of Cain: Why Blacks Have Dark Skin. Here’s what I wrote at the time:

As a young Independent Fundamentalist Baptist, I was taught that Genesis 4 clearly revealed to any racist who wanted to know why blacks had dark skin. Genesis 4:15 says:

 And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

Genesis 4 details the story of Cain murdering his brother Abel. One of God’s punishments of Cain was setting a “mark” upon him. More than a few Baptist preachers, especially Southern Baptist segregationists in the South, believed that this mark was God turning Cain’s oh-so-European white skin black. These Jesus-loving racists went to great lengths to trace the lineage of Cain down through history, showing — in their minds anyway — that Cain’s descendants had black skin. Of important note was the fact that Noah’s son Ham married a black descendant of Cain, thus continuing the curse down through human history. I knew of Baptist preachers who spent countless hours tracing the genealogy of Cain through the pages of the Bible. These preachers believed that blacks were intellectually inferior to whites, and were best suited for manual labor. Slavery in the United States was justified by Christian pastors who believed the Bible taught that blacks were a cursed race in need redemption. Slavery, then, was an act of benevolence — white slave owners giving their black charges a far better life than they would have had in Africa. This wretched thinking continues to drive how the United States interacts with countries with populations that are primarily non-white — you know, Trump’s “shit-hole countries.” These poor, inferior, ill-bred, ignorant people need our benevolence and help, even if it is given to them through military force or coup.

By the time I left Midwestern Baptist College in the mid-1970s, I had cleansed my mind of the racist training of my youth. Sadly, Midwestern was rife with students and professors who believed that blacks were inferior/cursed. I don’t believe the founder of the college, Tom Malone, held these views. After all, the college had a handful of black students, far more than Bob Jones University had at the time. Malone, by the way, was a graduate of Bob Jones College and came of age in Alabama in the 1920s. If he was racist, it wouldn’t have surprised me, but I never saw anything from him that suggested he was. The same couldn’t be said for the man who was in charge of the bus ministry. Under his watch, he cancelled all the bus routes to and from Detroit. These routes normally ran in the afternoon, bringing riders to what was called “B Sunday School.” Since most of the riders from Detroit were black, students considered the afternoon “B Sunday School” to be “Black Sunday School.”

All freshman students were required to work on a bus route. After I returned to college for my sophomore year, I quit the bus ministry, choosing instead to preach on Sundays at a drug rehabilitation center in Detroit. The bus director cornered me one day as I was leaving school and chastised me for quitting my bus route. He told me I had a bad attitude — no shit, Sherlock! The bus director got more than he bargained for. I replied, “And you are a racist! I know why you cancelled “B Sunday School!” We parted company, never to speak to one another again.

In the late 1980s, I attended a Street Preacher’s Conference in Washington, DC. While there, I met a man who was a rabid follower of IFB preacher Peter Ruckman. As we were fanning out from the Washington Mall, the man told me that he didn’t bother witnessing to blacks. “They don’t have souls, you know, so there’s no reason for us to witness to them.” I couldn’t believe what this many was saying. He was condemning to Hell a vast portion of the human race, all because they had the wrong color of skin. I told him I didn’t believe such nonsense, and then I quickly walked away.

Racism is alive and well in the IFB church movement, the Southern Baptist Convention, and Evangelicalism as a whole. Thanks to our White-Supremacist-in-Chief, President Donald Trump, racists driven deep into the closets of Evangelicalism have now found the light of day and are quite willing to vocalize their racism and bigotry. That a Christian member of Congress can ponder out loud his wonderment over white supremacy being a “bad” thing, and Christian Fox News hosts can say that there’s no racism in the United States, tells me that we are far from living in a post-racial world. And if God is for racism and bigotry, who are we to argue with the white Jesus, right?

For the life of me, I cannot see how Amanda came to the conclusions she did based on reading this post. Either she lacks reading comprehension skills or she is so agenda-driven that she sees every White as her enemy.

I’ve been quite honest and open about my racist upbringing and my own racism as an Evangelical pastor. I have, however, worked very hard to change my thinking about race. Does racism lurk deep in the shadows of my life? Sure. Most of us can say the same. Undoing bigotry in our lives is a lifelong endeavor. I wonder if Amanda sees her own bigotry and racism?

Amanda made no effort to learn anything about me. She read all of one post on this site before emailing me. She read a thousand-word post in a few minutes, judged me according to the color of my skin, and decided I was a racist. I have no remedy for this kind of ignorant, bigoted thinking. I have provided Amanda with all the information she needs to properly understand me as a person, past and present. Will she see the error of her way? I doubt it.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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5 Comments

  1. Avatar
    BJW

    I’m guessing Amanda was actually offended by you being an atheist, but latched upon racism as a ploy. A lot of conservative and Christian people have very concrete thinking, and don’t understand subtlety, sarcasm, parables, metaphors, similes and the like. Hopefully that’s not it, and she will rethink her poorly thought out opinion, but I doubt it.

  2. Avatar
    GeoffT

    As humans originally evolved in Africa it’s quite true that black was our universal pigmentation. As we moved to the more temperate areas of the world, especially Northern Europe, so we evolved other pigmentations and features, including what we now refer to as white. The problem is that there is a large group of people out there who think that any discussion of race or skin colour is racist. If they could distinguish these reasonable discussions from the actual horrible racism there is out there, in all of its forms, then progress in combatting it would be much more speedy.

  3. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    BJW—You hit the nail on the head. I’ve met people, including co-workers and supervisors, who were offended by my “lifestyle choice.” Knowing that I could end their careers (and damage their institutions) if they attacked me for that, they have imputed all manner of evil to me.

    I wish Amanda would read some of Bruce’s other posts and discover an ally. I think of an ally, not as someone who is completely free of phobias (who is?) but who does everything possible to counter and eradicate such phobias, as he/she/they finds them, in him/her/themself or in the world.

  4. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    I’ve often wondered about this curse from Noah, coming upon Ham,one of Noah’s sons. Noah does sound like a lousy father. I always felt that way about him. Now, supposedly, Jesus’ life and death nullified such curses, under the New Testament. That curse can and should be renounced. It’s never been done,up to now. Concentrate on that, Amanda. Why Europeans never figured this out, and embraced slavery always puzzled me. Certainly the royal families and merchant class profited from the slave trade,and their descendants have such holdings through simple inheritance. Good grief, why not demand reparations from these two groups,as well as Washington. .This tiresome Ham/ Cain thing, people in church should have a formal meeting on breaking that curse, instead of simply persecuting ex- Christians !! If IFB churches are racists, then they need to be given a wake- up call, and finally grow up. Go break that curse,then. If it’s real, it CAN be broken.

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Bruce Gerencser