Will a Black President Heal America’s Race Wounds?
Seventy percent of Americans think Barack Obama’s presidency is going to help race relations, according to Gallup.
The majority, among all races, see this as a milestone worth celebrating—a true victory for civil rights. And after all the pre-election warnings about potential rioting in the streets in the event of an Obama loss, that concern went untested. The election came off smoother than any in recent memory. It produced a clear winner and a graceful loser. No lingering question marks. No violence.
Does the fact that America elected a black president end the argument that this is a racist nation? Everybody seems to have an opinion. Mr. Obama garnered more support from white voters than any Democratic candidate since Jimmy Carter. Still, some are convinced his victory would have been much larger if not for those whites who voted against him simply because of his skin pigmentation.
The idea that Mr. Obama’s victory represents the end of racism in America has also been loudly shouted down by some blacks. Their view is essentially, Why should whites get to decide that there’s no more racism?
While there were undoubtedly some whites who voted against black, this election also saw an opposite and more powerful trend: white people embracing Mr. Obama because of his race. His candidacy represented a promise to some whites that they could wash away the stigma of racism. Supporting him was a way to prove that they were not racist. Of course, there is a contradiction in such thinking, as black author Shelby Steele points out: “When whites—especially today’s younger generation—proudly support Obama for his post-racialism, they unwittingly embrace race as their primary motivation,” he wrote. “They think and act racially, not post-racially.”
Nearly all blacks tend to vote Democrat anyway, so the fact that 95 percent of them supported Mr. Obama doesn’t of itself indicate racial bias. Still, it has been interesting to see the swell in black pride the election has created: t-shirts saying, “My president is black” and such. The Root, a sister website of the Washington Post written by and directed to blacks, warned its readers (with tongue in cheek) not to act too arrogant about the victory: “Don’t go up to every ‘redneck-y’ looking person and gloat. ‘It hurts don’t it? It burrrrnnss!’” For an election that supposedly wasn’t about race, it has been a huge topic.
Meanwhile—and more dangerously—white supremacist groups are outraged by Obama’s election. The Anti-Defamation League tracked a spike in activity on extremist online discussion forums after the election. The main themes it saw included 1) expressions of what a tragedy it is for the nation; 2) predictions of a race war, as whites rise up en masse against the “injustice”; and 3) calls to violence, or expressions of hope that the president will somehow be killed.
Even a few wackos who think like this could wreak havoc. Just one lone wolf could set off a racist explosion. Imagine what would happen to the soaring hopes, and the increased black pride, if Obama was felled by an assassin’s bullet. Some of these fringers have said they want to increase racial tension in the U.S. by attacking Obama. As Fred Burton and Ben West of Stratfor point out, “Such violence would be viewed as positive in this thinking, as open combat between whites and blacks would bring their ideology to the forefront” (November 6).
Who knows exactly how this will play out, but as much as we would like to side with that 70 percent of Americans who are optimistic regarding the future of race relations, plenty of signs suggest their hopes are unwarranted.
And something else does too.
God’s prophecies, recorded millennia ago in the Bible, speak of racial discord creating enormous problems in our world today.
In the 1960s, during the “golden years” of the American civil rights movement, the organized, peaceful protests were awakening deep, long-held resentments among people both white and black. National dialogue became heated; cities and college campuses nationwide began erupting in race-related violence.
Amid the hubbub, a clear voice of cool reason spoke out. In response to the developing crisis, educator Herbert W. Armstrong wrote from a unique perspective—not white or black, but based on the eternal truths and prophecies in the Holy Bible, delivered by the Creator of all races. Mr. Armstrong correctly identified the problems—and then he issued several warnings.
In the October 1963 Plain Truth he wrote, “Make no mistake! This is no light matter to pass over casually! Race war is coming! Racial tensions, passions and hatreds are being deliberately stirred by organized planning. It will explode into mass violence that will stagger the imagination! It will be whipped into an accelerating crescendo until human blood runs like rivers!”
The February 1965 Plain Truth forewarned, “The prophecies reveal that this worldwide racial strife is going to intensify in the years just ahead. …
“According to the prophecies of God’s Word, racial conflicts and virtual annihilation of certain peoples is destined yet to occur …. Such race hatred will pale into insignificance Hitler’s mass slaughter of Jews and Poles.”
Let’s look at one of those prophecies—which has yet to be fulfilled in its entirety.
“Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint” (Isaiah 1:4-5). God says the government that leads Israel (primarily the United States and Britain) is sick. There is corruption; there are disorders. As a result, problems multiply among the people it is supposed to protect. But the government’s heart is too faint, or weak, to solve those problems. So they get worse and worse.
“Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers [or Gentiles] devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers” (verse 7). These are prophecies for the time we live in today. Our booklet Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet explains these and other related prophecies in some detail.
Can you imagine cities burned with fire—even desolate—overthrown in massive race riots? God says it will happen!
The wounds of victimhood, the emotions of grievance, the demand of each race for its own version of justice, no matter the cost—these forces still simmer in America. Soon, we can expect to see some event that causes the lid to blow off.
“The historical evidence suggests that racism, in varying degrees, is ubiquitous in human societies, so much so that it might even be termed natural and inevitable,” wrote historian Paul Johnson.
Why is that so? Because of human nature—unbridled and undisciplined. It is human nature that creates prejudice, jealousy and envy, competition and strife, resentment of authority, vanity, lust, greed—evils that always end up leading to violence.
But feeding that human nature, inspiring it, is that invisible force, the “god” that “deceiveth the whole world.” Satan the devil is the supreme racist—he hates all races, and passionately aims to destroy the human race! And he is stirring racial hatreds in the nations today. The optimism in America today will prove short-lived. With race as out in the open and under such intense discussion as it is right now, you can be sure the devil is laying the groundwork for a terrifying social explosion.
The good news is, the Creator of the races will not stand for that for long. His patience with man’s unjust and bigoted rule over man is about up. His tolerance of racial intolerance is at an end.
When Jesus Christ returns to this planet from the clouds, in power and majesty, to establish His Kingdom, just a few short years from now, two things will change.
First, human nature will be altered.
Scripture reveals that the devil will be banished, unable then to inflame prejudices and to influence men to hate one another. Human beings will be educated in how to coexist harmoniously, governed by God’s supreme law of love.
Second, race relations will be settled specifically in a way so as to bring peace.
At that time, people of all races will abandon their own failed efforts to resolve race issues, and humbly recognize the authority of their Creator. “God that made the world and all things therein … hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation” (Acts 17:24, 26).
For those who understand, the solution that will be enforced—not by “black power” or “white power,” but divine power—is contained in those words. How happy and prosperous each nation—each race—will be when they live as God intended! There will be no prejudice, no discrimination. Everyone will have an equal opportunity for success. All peoples can make the most progress and be blessed, physically and spiritually, as God intended.
God “hath made of one blood all nations of men.” We all come from a common ancestor—Adam. Ultimately, we will all be one family, not in color—but in spirit and in love.