What A Viral Video can Teach Us about Discrimination

Warning: Story contains profanity, racial slurs, and anti-gay slurs. Viewer discretion is advised.

That was the disclaimer in many articles to the recent viral video of a visibly distraught Caucasian father from Minnesota (Bradley Knudson) on YouTube, expressing his anger and anguish over an incident involving racial slurs hurled against his adopted African-American daughter. The perpetrators were a pair of twin boys whom he captured on video uttering derogatory comments and racist insults at his daughter via Snapchat. Bradley’s anger was fuelled by the fact that the twins’ father was non-apologetic. In his response to Bradley, he claimed that he did the same things “when he was a kid.”

In a bid to bring to light the bullying and racism his daughter experienced, Bradley took his grievances to social media. The 5:44 minute video took the internet by storm and garnered a total of seven million views to date. It was later reported that the alleged father had lost his job as a result of the video posted by Bradley.

The video raises an important and ongoing issue that society as a whole faces: discrimination. It is the act of treating a person differently—negatively or positively—because of that person’s race, gender, class, or any other group to which that person belongs.

In a multi-racial, multi-cultural country like mine, the need to exercise tolerance and forbearance towards people of a different race was always emphasized. We have Racial Harmony Day that reminds us that our country is built on a rich diversity of culture and heritage. We are taught that differences in our beliefs, culture, and upbringing were to be expected. Yet, no matter how much racial harmony was publicized or emphasized in the curriculum or at home, unfortunately people of diverse backgrounds and cultures will have and will keep having preconceived ideas or judgments about each other.

Thinking back to Jesus’ time, discrimination exist between the Jews and the Gentiles. The Jews and Gentile saw each other as outsiders to be put in their place, to be treated with suspicion and kept at arm’s length. “In The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah”, biblical scholar Alfred Edersheim gave us an idea of what life was like in those days: “the Jews kept close together, and were ever most liberal to one another; but they were filled with bitter hatred of all others. They would neither eat nor sleep with strangers; and the first thing which they taught their proselytes was to despise the gods, to renounce their own country, and to rend the bonds which had bound them to parents, children or kindred.”

Let’s return to the teachings of the Bible and allow it to influence our behavior. The Bible reminds us through the creation story in Genesis that God created us (mankind) in His own image (Genesis 1:27). As such, all of us have a special place in God’s creation. What then would cause one human being to consider himself or herself more superior or important than another person? I believe that it is our inability to recognize that before God our Creator, we are all equals—a broken and sinful race. The apostle Paul is his letter to the Galatians reminds us of this truth as well. Before the eyes of God, “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for [we] are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

Perhaps it was with this in mind that the Sunday school song we may be familiar with, was written. As the line goes, “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.” May we be encouraged to look at people through the eyes of Christ today.

 

 

 

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