The Root of Our Identity

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A few weeks ago I checked Roots (1977) out from the public library. There is a scene in the movie where Kunta Kinte, a slave, is whipped almost to the point of death. His master had given him a new American name, Toby, but Kunta refused to answer to it. To encourage Toby in his assimilation process, they bound him by the wrests, hung him up and whipped him until he said, “My name is Toby.” Now he was having a real identity crisis.

Watching movies like Roots stirs up something in me that wants to get back. But, who is there to get? After two hundred and forty-six years, slavery was abolished in 1865 with the ratification of the thirteenth amendment. All of the slave owners are dead. But if I could, I would explain to them that race is not indicative of inherent superiority.

As a child growing up I had a hard time wrapping my brain around the concept of racism. How could people hate me so much they would hurt me just because of the color of my skin? Twenty-first century America has her own race rules that can shackles us, whip us around and cause us to question our identities. Jesus says in John 8:32, if you have a relationship with Him, “you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” Freedom from spiritual slavery allows us to know our true identity and we can experience who we were created to be.

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