Are “white” people more intelligent than “black” people? Are Jews devious and grabby? Intolerance and violence through racism includes slavery, national socialism in Germany, apartheid in South Africa, or the genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia. “It might appear presumptuous to write in a way that ‘puts in a nutshell’ a phenomenon to which millions of people have fallen victim and which in the course of history has been used (…) to justify centuries of all sorts of human rights violations. (…) Still, it is only when one wants to grasp and refute racism ‘in a nutshell’ that the arguments against racism even have a chance”, says author and executive director of the IIRF, Prof. Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher.
The book is divided into three parts: Racism and its Refutation, where it speaks about various definitions of racism and the senselessness thereof, also citing important Bible passages which are directed against racism. In the second part "On the History of Racism and its Justification", it introduces different kinds of theories that are based on racism and also illustrates genocide, listing examples from the recent past such as the Aborigines in Australia, the Armenians in Turkey, the genocide in Rwanda, and the Holocaust in Europe during World War II.
“I hope tears run down your face when you read both about the sin of racism as well as about the sinful theories people have taught," Dr. Thomas K. Johnson, member of the Academic Council of the IIRF, writes in his preface to the book. "But our hope is that God’s Word, which we all must proclaim, will contribute something much more humane and godly to our many societies.”
The third part speaks about "the Situation in Germany" and its various facets, including the genocide of Gypsies, Anti-Semitism and National Socialism. In addition he outlines the situation of right-wing extremism in German speaking countries, including Switzerland and Austria, today.
"Thomas Schirrmacher’s short, serious book on racism richly illustrates the multifaceted relationship of God’s Word to our global social problems," Dr. Johnson states.
But racism is not only wrong theologically, it is not only against the dignity of humans that guarantees their human rights, but newer genetic research also proves that the whole classification into races is without foundation. Schirrmacher writes: "In fact, everything that recent biology (in particular genetics) and cultural anthropology (including ethnology) have to say on the topic of race completely pulls the rug out from under racism."
In an additional essay, Rev. Dr. Richard Howell, General Secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India and General Secretary of the Asian Evangelical Alliance, writes about the 'Dehumanizing Caste System', an Indian form of racism. "The caste system is based on the principle of discrimination and inequality. It is one of the most rigid and institutionalised brutalities of Hindu society," he states. "While the agenda for political freedom of India from British rule was achieved in 1947, the freedom to emancipate the masses from perpetual exploitation and oppression remains to be won."
“So read this book to learn, consider, weep bitterly, and then take action about racism. And along the way, notice the wide-ranging way in which the biblical message addresses all the problems of our broken world,” concludes Dr. Johnson.
The WEA Global Issues Series – Volume 8: Thomas Schirrmacher, Richard Howell.
Racism. With an essay on Caste in India. Edited by Geoff Tunnicliffe & Thomas Schirrmacher.
Available for download here.