Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 6, 1971

The Racial Problem In America


We are happy to publish this week (concluded next week) an article by our esteemed brother Bryan Vinson. A personal letter to the editor, accompanying the article said, "I know my views, as expressed herein, are not universally held, even among brethren. But the article speaks for itself." It certainly does. And we are pleased to publish it — — and indicate on this page our reaction to some parts of it.

That the races are "different" goes without saying; but that one is "better" than the other, or "superior" to the other gets right back into the same old thread — bare, statement that somebody or other is "anti." Anti — what? The words "superior" and "inferior" need some qualifying clarifications. The angle at which an Oriental's hip joints are set is slightly different from mine. He can fold his legs under him with an ease and facility which is impossible to a non-Oriental. Is he therefore "superior" to me; or is it that I am "superior" to him? It will depend on one's point of reference. Is a swiveling hip-joint "better" than a more rigid hip-joint? It is indeed "better" for folding one's legs under one when one sits. If that is the point of reference, then all anthropologists, physiologists, anatomists, and others will be forced to agree that the Oriental race is definitely SUPERIOR to the non-Oriental. All negroes have kinky, woolly hair which is black; Scandinavians have normally straight hair, and it is usually light in color. Now, which is the "superior" race as to hair? Is thick, kinky hair "better" than blonde straight hair? Or is it the other way around?

In God's church, in the United States of America, and in the heart of every true Christian there should not be the least hint of feeling or teaching that one race is "superior" to another unless one defines the area in which the superiority is supposed to exist. There are national differences and traits as well as racial. It has long been recognized that some nationalities seem to have "superior" talents in certain fields — — the Irish, the Italians, and the Germans, for example in the field of music; the Jews in the commercial and business world; and the Arabians, Egyptians, and Greeks in the field of applied mathematics. So what?

It seems highly probable that there are areas in which the negro is "superior" to the white man. His presence, for instance, on the various professional athletic teams is out of all proportion to his relative number in the population. More than forty years ago a beloved teacher, H. Leo Boles, used to impress his Bible classes with the fact that the negro seems to have an emotional and a psychological heritage that makes him highly receptive to religious motivations. It was Brother Boles' suggestion that in the providence of God the negro race may be the very salvation of God's cause in the centuries to come. As the white race becomes ever more sophisticated, more materialistic, less religiously inclined, more atheistic, the negro may take up increasingly the burden of preserving and propagating the faith of the gospel. His emotional nature provides the possibility for such. It may well be that in the field of religion he will ultimately demonstrate his "superiority" to the white race.

That the negro in our society is placed in a highly unfair and prejudicial competitive position with the whites is too well attested to warrant discussion. Naive and doctrinaire insistence on the "equality" of the races has led politicians, clergymen, and 'sob sisters' to propel the negro into a position which will make him the perpetual loser. In many areas he is the white man's equal, in some his superior. In other areas, (whether from his long racial history of deprivation and servitude, or whether from ethnic and inherent ineptitudes we do not say) he simply can not compete with the whites. And it is cruel and vicious to try to make him do so.

This has no bearing at all as to his standing with God, and should have no bearing as to his welcome in white churches. Marriage between whites and negroes will increasingly take place. In fact, it is generally conceded that at least three-fourths of the negro population in our nation today is of mixed (white and negro) blood. Perhaps a thousand years from now the negro and the white will both have faded from our land, and will have been replaced by a new strain made up from a mingling of the two. It seems more than likely.

That such may happen does not mean at all that we should either approve it, or condone it. The resultant mixture of bloods may well be to the detriment of all concerned. We simply can not say. We regard the intermarriage of the races as a dangerous and unhealthy thing, but not necessarily a sinful thing. Mixed marriages at best are difficult. And in the present atmosphere of the American nation the off-spring of such unions will be subjected to a lifetime of discrimination and difficulties.

Brother Vinson's article will probably call forth comments from others. The Gospel Guardian through its long history has sought to provide a medium for the discussion of just such matters. We have not shied away from them; but have sought always to keep the discussions within bounds of propriety and brotherliness. We shall endeavor to do so this time — — — in the event anybody feels the urge to express himself on the subject.

— F. Y. T.