There is an app for just about everything. And if you have an Android, you can access the application called “Make Me Asian” on Google Play. The application allows users to upload photographs and alter the images to reflect the characteristics of “representatives of Asian nations, such as Chinese or Japanese.”
Understandably, the app has caused uproar by some in the Asian community. Peter Chin of Washington, D.C., started a petition via Change.org for Google Play to remove the app along with a “Make Me Indian” app. Responding to the features of the app, Chin writes, “Now you too can be Asian by putting a rice paddy hat and fu manchu mustache on your profile picture, complete with slanty eyes . . . because that’s all it takes to represent the 4 billion Asians in the world, a stupid hat and facial hair.”
Bottom line: the app promotes dated stereotypes and racist caricatures.
Racism, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. The term racism is nowhere to be found in the Scriptures. But the Lord condemns partiality (James 2:1-9), hate, and murder (Matthew 5:21-26), all of which I believe could be included in a Christian definition of racism.
God also condemns pride. We must not regard ourselves as better than other image-bearing people. We know this. We simply hate to admit we do it. But if you are a Christian, you have the Spirit to help you fight. We have the power to say no to sin. God created each of us in his image (Genesis 1:27). And all of us equally share this awesome privilege.
Believers, who have together been united with Christ, see race as a secondary feature that brings glory to God by reflecting his wonderfully diverse creation. At the foot of the cross we all stand equally sinful and equally in need of saving grace (Romans 3:9-20). We are also equally forgiven. We boast only in the Lord (Ephesians 2:8-9).
But all who disbelieve Christ stand in equal danger of eternity apart from God in hell. I’m far less concerned with someone’s race than with her eternal destiny. I seek to lovingly share the gospel, as the Lord enables me.
C. S. Lewis expounds this point in his book The Weight of Glory:
It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never met a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.
Race helps us learn about our neighbor, to connect, to understand how to serve one another and enjoy the fullness and goodness of God’s creation. But we see beyond race to the eternal consequences of belief and unbelief. Racism not only stifles the soul from flourishing, it also impedes the advance of the gospel. Few will share the Good News with those they hate. So in order for us to see this gospel spread, we must first allow it to rid our hearts of racism.