George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Eric Garner. Walter Scott. Jordan Edwards. Five random names? No, they all had a brown skin, were all unarmed and killed by white police officers. Why? Mainly due to their skin-color. Racism caused their deaths. Racism cannot kill; it is the extreme manifestation of it that kills. There is racism in many gradations, from merely eyeing someone, to avoiding any contact, to aggressive behavior towards people with a brown skin. I know that nowadays people use the word racism to encompass a multitude of discriminative behavior, but its original meaning is discrimination based on race. In the practical manifestation, racism mainly means discrimination against people with a brown skin. Being treated discriminately due to your skin-color makes you feel inferior. Due to this, racism causes the birth of an inferior mind.
When throughout your life you are treated differently by your surroundings and by people who look different compared to you because of your skin-color, it makes you feel inferior. It causes the development of an inferior mind. The consequence often is that due to the negative treatment, you behave as an inferior being. It affects your mind in a negative way, resulting in a negative cycle of inferiority feelings. Treated as inferior > feeling inferior > behaving inferior > treated as inferior > feeling inferior > and so on.
What is the appearance of an inferior mind?
When you suffer from an inferior mind, you constantly have negative thoughts and feelings going on inside of you, causing you to feel inadequate and inferior. It makes you wonder whether anyone really likes you, whether you are worthy, whether you are capable to achieve anything, whether you are not smart, whether you should dream your dreams or just give up, etcetera.
These questions and feelings show that you have an inferior mind. Your negative mindset causes you to feel that way. And worse, it subsequently causes you to behave in the way you negatively perceive yourself, which, as a result, causes others to treat you that way. Consequently, this confirms your feelings. You find yourself in a never-ending cycle of negativity and keep re-affirming your inferior mindset.
Triggered by your inferior mind, this cycle of negativity produces a negative self-image; causing you to always feel inferior, inadequate, and unloved. This limits you in everything you do. Your low self-esteem propels you into a life of negativity, unfortunately often indeed causing you to live an inferior life. You already give up before trying because you expect nothing to succeed in your life. Job opportunity? Forget about it. Promotion? Forget it. Living in a good house and environment? Do not even think about it. A good future for your children? Do not even go there! These are the thoughts that go on in your mind when you suffer from an inferior mind due to racism.
You cannot compare Inferiority feelings due to race with any other feeling of inferiority. Because quite often people are indeed treated as inferior due to their race, no matter their geographical location.
What is a race?
A race is a grouping of humans based on shared physical or social qualities into categories generally viewed by society as distinct. The term was first used to refer to speakers of a common language and by the 17th century the term began to refer to physical traits when colonial countries tried to justify slave trade by identifying physical traits as the basis for race distinction. Since then, unfortunately, people all over the world have built on these wrong concepts of the colonial era and developed theories that differentiate between higher and lower races. This separation of humans based on race resulted in some people feeling superior and subsequently others being treated as inferior. This has led to ‘race’ being a major reason why people all over the world feel inferior and are treated as such, causing the birth of an inferior mind in mainly people with a darker skin-color.
What should not be forgotten is that God did not create an inferior race. God created every single human-being in His likeness. God created each one of us in His image and gifted each of us with specific talents and abilities. When you develop an inferior mind owing to the negative treatment received due to your race, you will block the manifestation of these talents and abilities. But they are still there, God has given them to you. So, do not wait for anyone to stir you up, but act based on your God given capabilities. Do not feel inferior due to your race, no matter what. You are part of the human race, created by God for a purpose.
Racism and inferior mind
Being treated as inferior due to your race affects every area of your life, from personal relationships to job opportunities, from random social interactions to chances on corporate promotion, from political placement to getting employed in certain industries, etcetera. When others exclude you or do not take you serious because of your race, it causes you to feel extremely insecure and inferior.
Unfortunately, many people who are treated as inferior based on their race adopt behavior patterns which seem to affirm their inferiority. Due to centuries of being treated as inferior they believe they are inferior: it has become part of their nature, to feel and behave inferior. This inferior behavior re-enforces others to treat them as inferior, bringing them back to the beginning of the cycle of inferiority.
It is important to note that your race does not make you inferior; there is no difference in value between any race on the earth: we are all human beings created by God in His image, we all have the same worth. Hence the perceived inferiority is not due to your God given race but due to the treatment received from people of another race.
Is an inferior mind caused by racism a modern-day issue?
Is racism new? No, it certainly is not. I already mentioned that the formal differentiation among people based on race started more than 400 years ago. But the true origin of racism lays in our human nature itself. Racism can be traced back to the first human beings on planet earth; it is part of our sinful nature caused by the fall of Adam and Eve.
Why? Because we always want to differentiate among people and feel better than others. Bringing other people down gives us the feeling of superiority; it makes us feel good.
Remember, even Jesus faced it. When He started His ministry, people asked, “can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). And what about Samaritans that time? They were abhorred and avoided by the olden days Hebrews, because of their race.
We -humans- just want to feel better than others. Out of this desire we dehumanize others, and unfortunately this is very often expressed in dehumanization of people of brown skin. Why am I saying ‘brown’? Well, have you ever seen a ‘black’ person? I have not, and neither have you.
Let us have a look at what God thinks about race and racism. After all, He is the one who creates different races.
What does God say about race, racism, and inferior mind?
We are all created the same: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27
All of us have the same blood, and people of every nationality are created by God: “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth.” Acts 17:26a.
God does not favor any person or tribe but accepts anyone irrespective of the nation they come from: “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “in truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” Acts 10:34-35.
God is fair, He does not differentiate among people: “For there is no partiality with God.” Romans 2:11.
God does not make a distinction based on race: “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.” Romans 10:12.
God sees us in Christ, not based on our race or gender: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
God does not see tribes or race when He looks at us, but He sees Christ, who is in all of us: “where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all”. Colossians 3:11.
God sees us (human beings) as one, with no exceptions: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling.” Ephesians 4:4.
God does not judge or even consider our outward appearance (such as our skin color): “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement.” John 7:24.
If God does not make a distinction based on race and does not practice racism, then why would we humans do it? God created us in His image, He made us for His glory. We are to ‘copy’ Him in everything we do. Let us do the same in the way we treat others. Let us not make a distinction between ‘we’ and ‘them’.
Inferior mind: ‘we’ and ‘them’
We do know what God’s word says, but how do we apply it? There is a difference between knowing and applying what we know. In the era of slave trade, it was largely Christians who involved in the dehumanization of people from mainly West-African descent. I am originally from The Netherlands and am not proud on what my ‘forefathers’ did. The Dutch have been major catalyzers of systematic racism; causing inferior minds in people up to date! And up-to-today there is both obvious racism and hidden racism in The Netherlands, even though this country has a name of being tolerant.
Let us face it. It is not just you and your inferior mind that causes racism. People around you, close to you and far away, also play a crucial role in the development of an inferior mind due to racism. There is a ‘we’ and there is a ‘them’; there is a ‘you’ and there is ‘they’. Both ‘you’ and ‘they’ have the responsibility to change. Let us start with you. That is what I am used to doing: no matter the situation at hand, I always first examine myself and take the responsibility to do a thorough self-check of my inner motives and outward actions, before I move to the assessment of ‘others’ in the issue at hand.
I believe that is what the Psalmist means when he says:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalms 139:23.
When you pray this prayer and act on it, your life, your motives, and your behavior will get aligned with God’s will. As a result, this will prevent you from feeling inferior, and it will prevent you from treating others as inferior. As a result, this will prevent the birth of an inferior mind due to racism.
YOU: do you want to live with an inferior mind?
Do you want to live with the downhearted feeling of inferiority caused by an inferior mind, limiting yourself in every area of your life? I do not think so.
Is it possible to prevent the development of an inferior mind due to racism? Is it possible to get a sound mind if racism already polluted your mind? Yes, it is possible!
Do you think racism is something you cannot face? Do you think God cannot deal with racism? You, and He, certainly can!
With God you can do all things (Philippians 4:13), with God you can jump over a wall and run into a troupe (Psalms 18:20).
How, you may ask?
- Repent of your feeling of inferiority.
- Refuse to have an inferior mind.
- Do not mind what others think of you.
- Meditate on what God thinks about you.
- Remember that you can do it!
- Go on!
- Do not act based on your inferior mind.
- Fill your mind with the word of God.
- Show the world that you have what it takes.
- Trust God and rely on His promises. His promises are yes and amen. God does not make any distinction between recipients of His promises and blessings. They are for everyone who believes. So, believe! Step out! Move on!
- And, finally, do not be shy to raise the issue of racism.
THEY: do you want to be the cause of an inferior mind in others?
When you honestly check your heart and your actions, have you treated others as being inferior? Do you have a bias against people of a different skin-color? Do you harbor any hidden racism feelings?
It is possible that you think that you are not acting based on racism, but in reality, you are. Yes, there is obvious racism, which you cannot deny, if you do that. But there is also hidden racism. If you happen to be in the category of hidden racism, you will defend yourself with a shout, “I am not a racist!”. But when you truly examine yourself, you may find something which is called implicit bias, a negative bias against people of another race. Though implicit bias works unconsciously, the effect of it is the same as evident racism.
So, what do you do?
- Repent, whether you acted based on implicit bias or apparent racism.
- Admit that you have personally professed racism.
- Admit that racism is an institutionalised expression of hatred in many places.
- Confess to others that you have treated people negatively based on their race.
- Restore: do what God wants you to do. Treat others based on the eternal laws of God.
Whether you are in the ‘you-category’ or the ‘they-category’, in either case you can change. Both sides of the issue of an inferior mind due to racism can work on the solution.
SOLUTION: Treat others as you want them to treat you
The solution to racism –implicit bias, or plain racism– lays in the word of God. His word is given to us to live by it, not just to read it. And His word says:
“’You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:39b.
Does racism have anything to do with this? No! When you love others as you love yourself, you would treat them well, regardless of who they are.
“whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them.” Matthew 7:12a.
This mean that the way you treat others, reciprocates in the way they will treat you. So, when you treat others bad, they will treat you bad. When you use racism against others, racism will be used against you.
“that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12
Loving others is simply the commandment of Jesus. Who are we to do otherwise? Love your fellow human, no matter where the person ‘comes from’!
“let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3b-4
Regard others higher than yourself and aim at the best interest of others as well. Simple, is it not? That is what we ought to do, and that is what will kick racism out of the system.
Finally, we should see with the eyes of Jesus. When we look at others through His eyes, we will never mistreat anyone. We will never behave in such a way which would cause the formation of an inferior mind in anyone. Seeing through Jesus’ eyes will prevent the birth of an inferior mind due to racism.
Let us pray:
When you have treated others as inferior and caused them pain due to racism:
Lord forgive me of my selfish behavior. Forgive me of treating others as being inferior. I have ignorantly caused pain in others, and I am sorry. Restore me. Help me not to partake in racist behavior when others around me do it. Give me the strength to stand up and be different. Help me Lord to live based on your laws and to see through Your eyes. I know that with You on my side I can do it. Help me to face racism in society. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
When others treat you as inferior and you are suffering from pain and feelings of inferiority due to racism:
Lord I confess that I feel inferior, and I am in pain. There is so much unfairness and I just do not know what to do. Heal my pain Lord and let me see with Your eyes. I give all my pain to you and I surrender my mind to you; heal me, restore me. I choose to forgive anyone who has hurt me. As free as You forgive me, I freely forgive everybody who has treated me as inferior based on my race.
My thoughts and my behavior are my responsibility, I acknowledge that. I confess that others cannot dictate how I feel or how I behave. And I will not allow any negative treatment to change me from who I am: Your child. I thank You Lord that I can live based on my potential and that You will make a way for me. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
©2021; Christel Owoo
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.
Read more about the formation of an inferior mind caused by parenting style (Inferior mind, part 1) and within the context of marriage (inferior mind, part 2).