About Me

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I am a medievalist and an adjunct college instructor in the humanities at Union College. My research includes medieval theologies of history, text/image relationships in visionary and mystical texts, and the writings of the twelfth-century Doctor of the Church, St. Hildegard of Bingen. I am also a translator of medieval Latin and German texts, especially as relate to my research. My translation of Hildegard's Book of Divine Works is available from Catholic University of America Press here. I completed a Master's in Medieval Studies at the University of Notre Dame in 2010, a Fulbright Fellowship in Germany in 2008, and a B.A. in Classics and German at Boston College in 2007.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Unitas Hominum: A "Racist Myth"?

The TRUTH movement at Boston College (formed last semester in response to growing racial tensions on campus) has just released their February newsletter, and it contains some fascinating insights into the nature of racism and of man. I was particularly struck by the following passage:
“The myth of colorblindness, a dangerous and unattainable way to look at people, has made its way into our institution as well. In the words of Father Leahy in 1997, “Our Judeo-Christian heritage proclaims that we are members of one human family, each one of us made ‘in God's image.’” The God of which Father Leahy speaks is historically white, as decided by the First Council of Nicea in 325 CE, an endeavor to melt the various religions of the Roman Empire into one religion under a Holy Trinity including a Jesus Christ that has been depicted as white. More than a mere oversight, this has a tremendous influence that goes unchecked while people wave around the concept of colorblindness as a solution to the deep seeded [sic] racism that was often supported by Christians throughout the colonization of the Americas.”
It would seem that Fr. Leahy (the president of Boston College) made a grievous error in preaching the unity of mankind; indeed, if we are to belive TRUTH’s contention about “colorblindness,” it is really the color of our skin that must define who we are, not the content of our character (I presume, therefore, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., simply misspoke when he expressed that particular dream). Furthermore, it would seem that the great message of Christianity was early on corrupted by white Western European men (please note: the Council of Nicaea took place in present-day Turkey and the majority of its attendees were bishops from the east whose skin color was, needless to say, several shades darker than the blond-haired, blue-eyed Nordic peoples) in order to subjugate those whose skin color was different than those same white Western European men.

(At this point, many of you will probably be trying to figure out whether to laugh at this contention’s absurdity or to cry at its stupidity.)

Personally, I weep and am ashamed that Boston College could produce students whose understanding of the message of Christ is that colorblindness is “a dangerous and unattainable way to look at people” and who see in the statement, “Our Judeo-Christian heritage proclaims that we are members of one human family, each one of us made ‘in God’s image’” a profanity discriminatory against peoples of different skin colors. To deny the unity of the human race in the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross is to deny his very message: “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother,” (Matthew 12:50), “... so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others...” (Romans 12:5), “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought...” (I Corinthians 1:10), and perhaps the most astonishing of all, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28).

Such vapid and nonsensical claims about Christianity and its message as this contention that Christ does not unite us demonstrate once again how little the leaders of this TRUTH movement understand about our true nature in Christ. Indeed, their name is a lie and heresy in itself, for they preach not the truth that “shall set you free” (John 8:32) but the falsehood that binds us to these meaningless and divisive labels of skin color. I have myself tried to engage the leaders of this movement in a philosophical dialogue about the nature of race and what place it has in our schema of determining human dignity, and they have rebuked me immediately. Rather than listen to the reasoned arguments of logic, they block up their ears, and rather than see the inestimable worth of a human being that lies beneath his skin, they cast their eyes no deeper than its color.

I call on each and every reader of this blog to sit back now and think for a moment about themselves. Think about how it is that you view the world. Do you walk through life and see division everywhere, everywhere the differences that segregate man from man, woman from woman, race from race, everywhere only black, white, yellow, red, brown, and the other fallacious “colors” of peoples’ skin? Or do you walk through life and see unity everywhere, everywhere the common dignity of being made in the image and likeness of God, everywhere that inestimable worth granted to humble man, a sinner, by the great sacrifice of Christ, the God-Made-Man Who gave His Life for us that we, together and united in Him, might share in His everlasting, glorious, and awesome Life?


Anonymous said...

Amen! When the world will see what is underneath it will finally see that all is the same.

Julie said...

I'm not sure you're qualified to spot heresies. Just my two cents. We should talk more about this maybe over lunch.