Ethics: Race and Prejudice (Part 4)

This is the final part on race and prejudice.  In this article, we will deal with a couple of points left untouched to this point…

One Race

The term “race” can be used to mean different things.  It can mean: “(1) A local geographic or global human population distinguished as a more or less distinct group by genetically transmitted physical characteristics.  (2) A group of people united or classified together on the basis of common history, nationality or geographic distribution: the German race.  (3) A genealogical lineage.  (4) Humans considered as a group (www.  There is only one human race, if we use definition number three and four.

The Bible affirms a common lineage.  (1) The name “Eve” means “life”.  She was so named “because she was the mother of all living” [(Genesis 3:20) Note: This is said in prospect, a figure of speech known as prolepsis, much like the name “Abraham” cf. Genesis 17:5].  (2) God “made from (lit. “out of“, ek) one [(the work is masculine gender and is thus rendered “one man” by the ESV).  Note: Some manuscripts read “one blood”.  Adam Clark, “Often used by the best writers for race, stock, kindred: So Homer, Iliad, vi. ver. 211… So Virgil AEn. viii. ver. 142…], every nation.

Is such possible?  Is it possible that all the genetic variety which exists today among humanity could have come from some common ancestry?  Absolutely!  Wonderful, detailed material on this point can be found in the book The Truth About Human Origins by Brad Harrub and Bert Thompson (Chapter 9: The Problem of Skin Color and Blood Types, pp. 429-462), and in briefer detail in the book Convicted by Brad Harrub [Chapter 13: Where Did Man Come From? (part 2), pp. 199-200].  Here is a summary of their color – (a) If Adam and Eve had only dominated genes (AABB), they would have been dark colored, and would have produced only dark skinned offspring.  (b) If they had only recessive genes (aabb), they would have been light skinned, and would have produced only light-skinned offspring.  (c) “If Adam and Eve had been ‘heterozygous (AaBb; two dominate, two recessive genes), they would have been middle – brown in color.  And from them – in one generation – racial difference could have occurred” (The Truth About Human Origins p. 445).  (2) Concerning blood type, they write “The variations that we see in blood types fit easily into the biblical account, once we understand the possibilities.  From the four phenotypic blood groups (A, B, AB and O), there are six possible genotypes: AA, AO, BB, BO, AB, OO.  No medical difference exists between AA, and AO; both are considered type ‘A,’ and behave the same.  In similar manner, there is no significance to BB or BO; they are classified as type “B.”  Types ‘A’ and ‘B’ are said to be co-dominate.  That is, they take precedence over ‘O’ if it is also present… so if mother and father are types AO and BO, then the blood type of their offspring can be: A, B, AB, or O… If Adam was type AO and Eve was type BO, then all four blood types would be possible in their offspring” (ibid, p. 458).


We should not be rash in concluding that an action or decision is due to racism, misogyny, or discrimination against the poor.  This may not be the issue.


1.  The composition of a sports team may or may not be the result of racism.

Clearly, prior to Jackie Robinson breaking MLB’s color barrier in 1947, there were black players talented enough to have been given the opportunity to play MLB.  They were not provided that opportunity due to racial discrimination.

However, the fact that during the 2008-2009 NBA season, 82% of all NBA players were black is not due to racial discrimination.  It is due to ability.  In this day, any NBA team would be foolish not to be starting the best players available regardless of race.  There have been several white players who’ve played very well: e.g. Larry Bird, John Stockton, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, etc.

2.  The police questioning one of a certain race may, or may not, be due to a dislike of that race.

It could be due to a dislike of a particular race.  Imagine, a police officer stopping and detaining all Arabs because they were Arabs and he dislike the Arab people.  Such would be a clear case of racism.

However, suppose a police officer responds to a APB to be on the lookout for a person of a certain race and certain height, certain gender and weight, etc. and he stops you.  He is not prejudging your guilt.  He is not motivated out of a hatred of your race.  He is simply looking for someone and you fit the description.

3.  Variance between the wages of men and women may, or may not, be due to misogyny.

It seems to be a fact that women earn less on average, than do men.  One source indicates that a woman earns on average 78.5 cents for every dollar earned my a man (John Stossel, Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity, p. 40).  Another source has said that for women twenty-five years and older who hold at least a bachelor’s degree and work full time, the national median income is about $47,000.  While similar men make about $66,000 (Super Freakonomics, Steven Levit and Stephen Dubner, p. 21).

Is it possible that some employer would hire men at a higher wage than women to do exactly the same job with the same out-put? Certainly. I am sure that it happens. Though, such would be economically foolish. Why would anyone hire any man when he could hire a woman for less?

There are many reasons why the wage variance exists. (1) Part of the explanation may be in the kind of jobs men and women are willing to take (Stossel, p.40) . (2) “Women are more likely to leave the workforce or down shift their careers to raise a family” (Levit and Dubner, p. 21). Thomas Sowell has written, “Most women give birth to children at some point in their lives and many stay out of the labor force until their children reach an age when they can be put into some form of day care… These interruptions of their career cost women workplace experience and seniority… However, as far back as 1971, American women who worked continuously from high school through their thirties earned slightly more than men of the same description” (Basic Economics, p. 198).

4.  The fact that certain goods cost more in one neighborhood than in another may not have anything to do with unjust discrimination.

The varying cost could be due to a number of things such as: (1) Transportation costs.  (2) Security costs.  “Although businesses in some American communities must incur the extra expense of heavy grates for protection from thieves and vandalism while closed, and security guards for protection while opened, businesses in other American communities have no such expenses and are therefore able to operate profitably which charging lower prices” ibid, p. 378).  (3) Insurance cost.  (4) Government bureaucracy/or corruption.

If Discriminated Against...

Conduct yourself in an honorable way.  Branch Rickey of the Dodgers told Jackie Robinson, “This will not be easy… there will be fans in the stands who will yell awful things at you.  Even some of the umpires will be against you, and will not give you fair calls… You cannot lose your temper and get into a fight.  That’s what they want you to do.  It will give them an excuse to throw you out of baseball… No, you must have the guts to fight back in another way.  The only way to fight is by keeping your temper, and playing the best baseball you can” (ed. William J. Bennett, The Children’s Book of Heroes, p. 30).  As Christians, we must approach life similarly.  “This is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Peter 2:15 cf. 2:12).

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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