If You Spoke Up, I Wouldn’t Have To

I have been called the “Angry Asian” on more than one occasion. I have earned looks of contempt from both Asian American brothers and sisters who feel as though I lack the patience and long-suffering of my forerunners and from brothers and sisters from other races who feel as though the mention of the “race” is like looking into the mirror and saying “bloody Mary” three times. Dang it, David, we were so close to making sure she was gone for good! It’s like trying to pick up after a three-year old, “Hey I just cleaned up over here. Can we keep it clean for one minute? PLEASE?!”

But if I get taken to task for asking a question about race and theology or race and the American church, it has an unusual effect. For one, I think there is substantial data out there that supports there are consistent differences in the experiences of people that correlate strongly to race. And I think they affect the way we look at church and continue to segregate ourselves in ways that are delusional and make the body of Christ look less unified to a world that is unified around money. At least they can boast a unity that we seem to have trouble with, albeit we tend to comfort ourselves with the verse that we cannot love both God and Money. We assume that we worship God properly as though it had no relation to our neighbor, and if it does, we need only change our neighborhood until we find neighbors worth loving. So in bringing up these issues, the rolling of the eyes or the “here we go again” look I get from my other brothers and sisters has the effect of making me feel like I’m crazy. Or that I’m misinformed. Or that I am making problems in the church rather than really buying into change.

But my point is that just this week, I came across an article that Asian students experience more bullying in school than any other ethnic demographic. Or did you know that Asian American teenage girls experience the highest rates of depression?

Or that Asian American youth experience the highest rates of suicide?

But if I say the church is complicit in this. That even our multi-ethnic churches are too busy celebrating diversity rather than casting out these demons. That many evangelicals shying away from the subject of race or dismissing it as liberal brainwashed victim mentality is hurtful and demeaning.  I’m just dismissed as angry or being antagonistic to our Christian unity, but I ask you, if I didn’t bring these issues before you, would you have brought them before the Lord and the church? If you spoke up on these demons terrorizing the part that is not your body, I wouldn’t have to. If you value me as a brother at all, then don’t dismiss me and other people of color as whiners about a broken system who throw out the race card or bluff as though this were all a figment of my imagination. If I didn’t speak up on these issues, would you have?


About David Park

Christian 2nd-generation Korean American; Atlanta Georgia; more details to come. View all posts by David Park

4 responses to “If You Spoke Up, I Wouldn’t Have To

  • thinkingriddles

    I don’t find “race” to be a helpful category in contemporary America. What we need to be talking about is culture. It’s a fact that people of different ethnic background have different cultural practices and beliefs, even among Christians. I would submit to you that these differences are the primary root of their different experiences in multi-cultural America.

    I’m sure you are quite aware that Amy Chua exposed this from the angle of a Chinese parent. While she was proud of her strict Asian, style, those who have rejected it point to the fallout it causes for many youth, including especially unreasonable expectations which leads to depression and suicide. Rather than blame an imaginary racist phantom for this consequence, one should look at cultural practices and beliefs as the prime predictor of results which are associated with ethnic background.

  • Melody

    “an imaginary racist phantom” is not what he was talking about. it was the fact that white people pretend that these things aren’t real and/or just don’t care because it is not important.

    david, all i can say is i’m sorry that this occurs. it’s wrong. and more white people should care. should speak up.

  • Alvin Sanders

    Thinkingriddles I think you may be offering an either/or scenario that doesn’t correlate well with the reality of how society operates. If I understand you correctly you are proposing that instead of looking at life through the lens of race we should look at it through the lens of culture. My gentle pushback is that I don’t think it is possible to do so.

    I totally agree that looking at life through culture is most helpful in the 21st Century. However where I disagree is your statement that “race is not a helpful category in contemporary America.” If we take your suggestion to look through a multicultural lens, how can we leave race out? Race is part of our cultural identity so it must be examined, particularly if we are talking about multiculturalism. Even if we use ethnic instead of racial categories part of ethnic identification involves racial dynamics. To ignore these dynamics would lead us to a very false view of social reality.

  • If You Spoke Up, I Wouldn't Have To « Reconciliation 101 | Leading in a Multi-ethnic, Diverse Church | Scoop.it

    […] If You Spoke Up, I Wouldn't Have To « Reconciliation 101 But if I say the church is complicit in this. That even our multi-ethnic churches are too busy celebrating diversity rather than casting out these demons. That many evangelicals shying away from the subject of race or dismissing … Source: reconciliation101.wordpress.com […]

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