Many readers will find the topic of this book —even the thought of such a book as this being written— alarming (or perhaps worse). A book on racism in America? A book with a title that claims, up front, that the problems we have with race are a result of something other than oppression?
Yes —and I must say that while I don’t agree with everything here (I never do, do I?), you will be the loser if you don’t give this book a chance. Whether you are black, white, green, yellow, brown, or purple, it really doesn’t matter. There are parts of this book I could honestly do without, but much of this book pours in through what cracks are left of any sort of openness on an honest discourse about race with the force of a gale.
The author’s thesis, in a nutshell, is that America has gone from being racist against people with a darker skin color to being so in love with people with a darker skin color that —in the public eye, at least— black leaders are no longer treated as people. In other words, that we have simply traded one form of racism for another. That we’ve come to the point in our culture that it doesn’t matter what a famous black person does, so long as they are famous —there will be no consequences, because of what the author calls negrophilia.
And whether or not you agree with every example he gives, the underlying problem —treating people as objects, rather than as people— is clearly the root of many problems in our culture. The objectification of people is not a new topic on this blog, I know, but it’s clearly one that still has a pressing urgency.
But I also appreciate Mr. Rush’s honesty towards organized Christianity in America, and the role it has played in our current mess.
Here I find it necessary to admonish modern American Christians. Apart from having gravitated away from sincere faith , whether by choice or the prevailing zeitgeist, I perceive that there are altogether too many Americans who will call themselves “Christian,” with whom Fredrick Douglas would have had a field day. Indeed, one of the chief arguments put forward by the evangelical community today is that many Christians—perhaps the majority in the United States—are people for whom Christian is a quaint convention and a form of social intercourse. There are very few precepts of the faith to which these people adhere; to them, the concept of a resurrected Christ is as alien as it is to most agnostics. The adage, “the problem with Christianity is Christians,” is a sad testimony to this fact. -Negrophilia
How, might you ask, does the weak doctrinal and theological base of the modern church impact the state of blacks in America? I think the answer is quite simple: that people are people, and not things, is one of the fundamental moral underpinnings of the Christian faith. By abandoning our theology and doctrine in favor of “having social impact,” the modern Christian has abandoned the entire basis on which he might actually have “social impact.” When you abandon justice for “social justice,” you wind up with something that is neither just nor socially just —there’s just no way to build a building of strong social action on a foundation of sand.
Overall, this book is well worth reading. The message might be shocking to some, and there are parts of the book I struggled with, but the shock is well served, and the struggle well worth working through.