Every now and then, much like a bad Disney animated sequel planning committee, the Left overplays its hand and pushes a narrative so hard that it breaks under its own weight.
The Disney comparison is apt considering Senator Elizabeth Warren’s new sobriquet: “Fauxcahontas.” The results of the Massachusetts lawmaker’s DNA test are in, and it turns out she’s approximately between 1/64 and 1/1024 Native American. For you statisticians, on the low end that’s less than 0.001 percent—or, for the rest of us, somewhere between diddly and squat.
But what has Warren’s apparent whiteness got to do with Leftist cultural narratives run amok? Everything. Any other day of the week, a senator’s lineage would be fodder for the D-pages. But today, with pyramids of group identity having become the formal principle of belonging, ethnic identity itself being the capstone, we can’t help but reflect on how silly all this hyper-racializing of everything has become.
The question of whether or not Warren qualifies for a scholarship aside, the fact that she felt the need to go toe-to-toe with her detractors and take the test at all exposes that, amidst all the Left’s talk of ending racism, for many progressives it really is all about race. That many in the media are seated properly and buckled on the “Elizabeth Warren is a Native American” bandwagon reveals that they are willing to sacrifice everything to maintain the artificial construct of race.
This isn’t to say that ethnicity as a category doesn’t need to be dealt with biblically, philosophically, politically, or otherwise. Ethnic prejudice, like any sin, wraps its vile tentacles around human hearts and coils them tighter with each attempt to yank it off. (Side note: A few years back Brandon Ash wrote a wonderfully helpful piece connecting total depravity and racism.)
But when one’s standards of righteousness in society become so deeply entangled with the construct of race—which is seen, evidently, as that which spreads great gulfs fixed between all the world’s “us’s” and “them’s”, which cannot be bridged by any human means but only alleviated by government intervention—the logic is bound to break down. If everything is about race, then nothing is. If Warren’s native descent anoints her as the paraklete for all indigenous peoples, what does Barack Obama’s white mother do for him? Or my 20th-century German, Hungarian, and Italian immigrant ancestors (who somehow imputed to me and others like me the sin of white American racism)—what of them? The race category, like any other category, when made absolute, is corrupted absolutely.
Of note to Christians is the fact that when we build our books, conferences, and sermons out of the world’s wood, hay, and stubble, we shouldn’t be surprised that the result fails biblical fire code (see 1 Cor. 3:11-15). Liberal application of secular categories build shaky theologies.
The secular West, denying the imago Dei (asserting materialism) and denying the antithesis (asserting a different dialectic), has no choice but to make ultimate the racial distinctions which have for so many generations been the source of injustice. By contrast, the biblical worldview flies high above the strife of ethnic comparison and prejudice, while dive-bombing incredibly low in calling everyone to a radical, self-effacing repentance of any form of the sin of partiality (see James 2:1-13).
Scripture informs us that God made from one blood all the nations of mankind (Acts 17:26). Though these nations are all presently divided by strife, when individuals and nations bow the knee to Christ, they are counted as members of a renewed human race (1 Cor. 15:49). People of all tribes, tongues, and ethnicities (Rev. 5:9, 7:9) become the new “race” of God’s people (1 Peter 2:9). Furthermore, their old identities and all the associated baggage go the way of Christ’s body on the cross: crucified and buried, skubalon (Phil. 3:7-8). The fundamental disunity in the human race—between God’s covenant people of ethnic Israel and the rest of the unevangelized pagan world—has been overturned entirely by the death of Christ for people from all nations (Eph. 2:14). The result is that, within the people of Christ, there is no “us” or “them” (Col. 3:11, Gal. 3:28).
Cultural moments like these are opportunities for fearless Christians to hold the world’s face in our hands, look it squarely in the eyes, show it the absurd outworking of its own systems gone awry, and call it to the sanity that comes from bowing the knee to the Lord Christ.
That conversation goes something like this: We are made from one blood, and Christ remakes us by his one blood. If you are in Christ, you are a 100% new creation (2 Cor. 5:17)—no matter if you’re 0.0001 percent this or that.