Are Pro-Lifers Guilty of Silent Racism, Prejudice?

Opinion   |   Kris Detrow   |   Jul 18, 2012   |   11:54AM   |   Washington, DC

Before diving into a topic that’s likely to ruffle a few feathers, I think it best to break the ice with a bit of humor. My family and I were enjoying a splash park with friends one steamy summer afternoon. The sun was high and sweltering as we huddled under our umbrella and allowed our lunch to settle.

The children collectively shrieked when an adjacent table offered them their leftover cupcakes. My heart overflowed with gratitude at the kindness of these strangers.  I searched our table for something that we could share with them. Unfortunately, our feasting had put quite a dent in our spread and there were only two things left.

With a neighborly smile fixed on my face, I confidently strode to our neighbor’s table to share our bounty. Did I mention that the cupcake-sharing folks were African American? And that the leftovers I was preparing to share with these benevolent strangers consisted of watermelon and fried chicken?  Oh, yes I did. Cringe.

In my defense, my intentions were quite honorable. What are the odds that our picnic leavings would be the two foods most used to stereotype an entire people group? I have come to accept that I am the Lucille Ball of political correctness.

That said, over the last year or so, I have noticed something in my interactions with my fellow white lower to middle class friends and neighbors that has both alarmed me and left something stuck in my craw. First, a neighbor asked me if I’d seen the frequent company of someone on our street. She looked both ways conspiratorially. Intrigued, I leaned in, anxious to hear what she had to say. She mouthed “He’s black.” As if to even say the word would be distasteful.  Confused and completely at a loss, I simply shrugged and walked away.

Other times in conversation, usually centered on politics, I’ve noticed people prefacing their bashing of an entire people group with, “I have a lot of black friends, but…” Again, I said nothing. I just sat in a stunned silence, unsure of why a person of color would want to befriend someone willing to make blanket statements assassinating the character of folks based solely on the color of their skin.

Then a few weeks ago, I was with some dear friends, and I found myself listening as they explained why they didn’t think it was right for different races to mix. After all, they said, you don’t see lions and tigers getting together and procreating in the wild. This time, holding my tongue was an impossibility. Still, my but my protests were pointless. Their minds were already made up.

These are just a few examples. I could give many more. The commonality of all of these people is that they are conservative, pro-life, and identify as Christians. Disturbingly, they all seemed to assume that I felt the same way as they did.

I understand that when it comes to race, things are not, pardon the pun, black and white. It is a highly charged issue. A person’s upbringing and life experiences play a huge part in how they view those around them. My intention is not to vilify anyone, but I do want to beg those of us who call ourselves children of God to meditate on Paul’s words in Galatians 3:28. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

I asked my friend Gary, an African American, to speak candidly about his experiences living in a predominantly white community. The things he shared raised the bile in my throat. From blatant use of the N-word, to women clutching their purses and hugging elevator walls when he entered, he’s pretty much encountered it all. Even in churches.

“All Christians ain’t Christians,” Gary says.



Sadly, I have to agree.  It is distressing to realize that so many who consider themselves pro-life seem to have no problem making snap judgments based exclusively on skin pigmentation. If we truly value life, the only prerequisite for respecting it should be a beating heart.

A quick Google search of Margaret Sanger is all that’s necessary to prove that it’s always been the MO of the opposition to determine worthiness of life based on skin color, potential physical or mental imperfections, or any other factor they might deem undesirable. There is no place in the pro-life movement, or in Christianity, for this kind of mindset.

Obviously, as the woman who unwittingly offered the watermelon and fried chicken, I am not the sharpest tool in the shed. Political correctness can sometimes seem outright silly and often makes my head spin. Is black an okay term, or do people prefer African American? Does the fact that I can barely clap to music, let alone dance, have anything to do with my Polish heritage? I’m not sure, but when it comes to loving my fellow man, I am intent on respecting all life and doing it Galatians 3:28 style.

LifeNews Note: Kris Detrow is a the pro-life author of “The Intrusion.”