First off, let me say that I know this verse is not talking about African Americans. How do I know this? Because this verse is talking about he descendants of Laman and Lemuel (i.e. Native Americans). So this isn't a post about blacks and the Priesthood or anything like that. This is just one woman's struggle with words in the scriptures and how to understand them. After all, my soul delights in the scriptures, and I would like to be able to delight in all the scriptures, not just the "comfortable" ones.
The part that bothered me was not the fact that the people had been cursed with a "skin of blackness" (and who really knows what that means anyway? If you know any Native Americans you know that they are not really "black", but this post is not about discussing varying shades of skin color, either). Rather, the part that bothered me (bothered - that is, made me stop uncomfortably and think) was the Lord's reasoning, "that they might not be enticing unto my people."
Was God just using human weakness (racism, specifically) to curse Laman and Lemuel and their descendants? Perhaps in the same way the Lord allowed the Lamanites to subject the Nephites to slavery when they (the Nephites) were being wicked. I am sure that God is not racist, but I am sure that He knew that human beings would be racist.
I had to think, also, of those Lamanites who converted and joined themselves with the Nephites (I am sure there were some, even before the mass conversions due to the efforts of Ammon and his brethren). Surely those Nephites who married and had children with converted Lamanites were not sinning or going against what God wanted to happen. But can't you see those interracial couples being judged by other Nephites? I imagine it was a lot like the racism prevalent in the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - oh, we love you because you are a child of God, but we shouldn't marry you because you are cursed. Sorry. This is not the racism of the world "You aren't worth as much as me." but I think in some ways it was even more convoluted thinking than that of the world.
But, I digress. This is not really a post about the racial climate of the Church today, but rather about a more basic, fundamental question.
This question - are human beings "naturally" racist?
That is - does racism stem from nurture (being taught to be racist) or from nature (perhaps some part of our biological makeup causes us to seek out a mate that resembles us?)? Obviously racism is wrong - but is it wrong because it is part of the "natural man" - like anger? Or is it wrong because it is a "false tradition" that is handed down from our fathers? Or perhaps a combination of the two?
What do you think?
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