THEOLOGY: Racial and Gender Bias, critical Conscious and Determined Women

Published: 2017-09-01 08:47:59
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Abstract

Racial and gender bias are critical issues that need to be examined closely so that their root causes can be established. Black Americans suffer most when it comes to racial bias. This is because of some factors, the economic factor being the major factor. Black America women suffer the most as they feel the effect of racial and gender bias mostly. Gender bias can be overcome through self-determination and acknowledgment of self-worth. This essay will explore the theological, racial and gender bias along with the determined women in the United States and how the victims try to face the challenges they face. I will look into various biblical stories of women who were able to rise above the gender bias of their time to merge successfully. The paper has shown the techniques that were used by some of the women to overcome the gender and racial bias.

 Introduction

The church is always considered where equality is practiced to the utmost to all the parishioners. Both male and female are supposed to be given equal kind of treatment since they both serve the same God. It is common knowledge that in heaven, there are no second class citizens. Despite this known facts, church leaders have been in the fore-line to disobey this. The church leaders normally use some biblical versus and biblical stories in persuading their congregation that the male gender is superior to the female gender. Some of the stories given out are so convincing that weak minded women will give in to the fact that they are a weaker gender. To make the issue worse religion has a common rule that the biblical stories are to be believed and not to be questioned. What is more alarming about this issue of discrimination is also the fact that Africa American women have been looked down upon. It is in very rare cases that women will be given leadership roles. The church leaders encourage delegating women with duties such as assisting in cooking and serving during church events as well participating in choir. When it comes to authorial positions, they give biblical stories that show instances when women were discriminated. This kind of discrimination that takes places in the church is just an extension of what takes place in the outside world. Outside religion, there is race and gender bias that has been going on for a very long time. There is discrimination between the male and the female gender. There I a common believe that male is more superior compared to the female. For this reason, there are certain roles that are delegated to male. This may be in advantage and disadvantage of the female gender. This kind of discrimination also works to the advantage of the female gender at given time. An example is where male victims of sexual assault are considered to be criminals while females are considered honest. However, in the Bible, there are instances where the female gender was considered weak and was discriminated. Due to this kind of discrimination that took place in the Bible, the male gender in the church are taking advantage and suppressing the female gender in the church. Through this, there has been a class of women who have gone through their Bible in details and have been able to find out some women in the Bible who rose up to oppose the male dominated world. They worked their way out to emerge strong. Their confidence and strong faith made them unique. This essay, therefore, seeks to find more on the racial and gender and critical consciousness that exists in both the world and the church. It will also seek to find the determined women that rose up to challenge the kind of discrimination that as mated on them.

To address this issue where women are looked down upon in the society and also in the church, it is important to understand some biblical stories behind this. The main focus in addressing his case is focusing on the Africa America history. There are biblical scriptures that show how women were discriminated in the past. Leaders in the church use these scriptures as their defending tools to oppress the women. The virtue of self-determination in some women has enabled some women to resist this common belief. They have emerged to be successful, and they have challenged the leadership of the church. They have proven that God created both men and women equally as indicated in the Bible. This is a defending scripture to women. They use this to prove that they have equal opportunities as the man as they are all equal to the man. In America, the black women form a greater percentage of the congregation. This is because it is them who mostly attend the church services compared to their male

Counter parts. It would be fair enough if they are given leadership positions so that they can be in charge in some sectors of the church. However, it is an irony in the fact that they are discriminated base on their gender in the black charges. What is more paining is the fact that there is no group of people that can support them. It is unclear whether the government cant provide them with support based on their gender. It is a known fact that the black are discriminated. Black women suffer the discrimination more. This is because the Africa America re-discriminated as a group. Within the black Americans, women again receive some discrimination as they are denied leadership position. The Bible has now remained the only tool that the Africa America women can lean on as their source of strength. The Bible contains women characters that existed during male dominated time and emerged to be successful at their tome. They overcame all the barriers that existed to emerge successfully.

Racial and gender is also a key issue that should be looked into details within the Africa America History. One of the main reasons that resulted in the rise of the Africa-America speaking community in the United States is the fact that during that time, there were increased economic activities in the United States. Increased economic activities mean that the whites in the United States have to acquire some workers to work for them. They moved to Africa with the ships which had been invented during that time. Africans were persuaded that they would be given better lifestyles in the land that they will be taken to. When they arrived in America, they got the exact opposite of what they were promised. They were forced to hard labor with low wages. They had no choice but to engage in the economic activities. They were watched over by the whites. This is an indication that there was the racial bias that existed in America during that time. The white Americans considered themselves superior to the black Americans and therefore forced them into hard labor and low wages. It should be noted that during this time for slavery, the missionaries were on a mission to spread the gospel of Christianity to Africa. They used the ships to move to the coastal regions of Africa. It is during this time that slavery was propagated. The missionaries changed their role in spreading the gospel but were involved in encouraging the Europeans to transport the blacks to America. They collaborated with the Whites in sending the blacks to the United States[1]. This painted church negatively. Christianity as a religion was also despised because it assisted in promoting racial discrimination. During this time that the missionaries were assisting the whites in transporting the slaves, a majority of the Africans were aware of their rights and simply did not give in to their demands. It is the self-determination within them that made them not to be deluded in what they did not believe in.

Racial bias may be brought about by some factors. It occurs where one race may feel superior compared to the other race because of the social status of the community or the economic power of that race. In the world, black Americans have always been considered inferior to the white Americans. There are several reasons that can account for this kind of racial bias that exists. However, the most common cause of racial bias between these two races is the economic difference that exists between the two races. Economic difference brings about social segregation. Social segregation is where the blacks will align themselves. They will relate with their fellow whites. In most instances they will ignore the blacks since they will consider them to be from low class. This kind of social segregation results to the situation where the whites are more privileged and can access better facilities compared to the whites. They also have the better job and education opportunities compared to the whites. This kind of racial bias s is not morally upright and against the code of conduct in any setting. There are a lot of biblical verses that show that equality should be done to all people. The bible verses also indicate that all human are equal before God and that they should co-exist with each other in harmony. Some of the Bible stories which are in the form of parables also give stories of those who were proud and possessed earthly becoming. They despised others because they taught they were not f the same social class. However when the world came to pass, and they all went to heaven, they were both treated equally. It turned out to be that the poor in the earth were more precious in heaven compared to the rich who exalted themselves. It is, therefore, clear that racial bias that occurs between the white and the black would not yield any positive results if the act is not brought to an end. It is the black American women who suffer the most from this kind of racial bias that is matted on black America[2]. This is because black Africa women have two kinds of challenge they have to face. The first challenge is that they have to deal with the issue of race. They are blacks existing within a white-dominated region. For this reason, they are treated as a minority group and have to face the consequences. The second kind of challenge that black American women face is the challenge of gender. Women are looked down upon and are considered weaker sex. They, therefore, face this kind of discrimination. In the black churches despite black women forming a greater percentage of the congregation, they still face some challenges. In the black churches, women experience invisible barriers in the church as well as in the society. There is always no person or a group people who have come out to protect the black American women on the inequality they face. They face the challenge, and there is no one to protect them. Therefore, the second kind of challenge that black American women face is the discrimination among the black community, especially in the church. In the church, women are normally encouraged to sing or teach Sunday school children but are not given the opportunity to stand up and come up with their churches where they can spread the gospel. Despite their large number in the church, it is the male who are normally given leadership position. This is an indication of the gender bias that exists within the black community.

The church has been used as a center where there is total equality. The church uses the Bible as the reference book. The Bible, in general, contains some information that individuals can use so as to co-exist with others peacefully. It is believed that the Bible as a guiding book to all Christians. However, things have changed and racial, and gender bias has been propagated in the world. In many parts of the world, men have been considered as the culprits of sexual crimes. In any case, a sexual crime arises it is the male who is considered guilty[3]. What is shocking is that in some parts of the world, women are not even questioned over the crime. It is the men who are questioned over sex assaults. This is an indication that there is gender bias. The male is associated with this kind of crime. This is an overall conclusion that may not be true. One may ask himself or herself where the female counterparts it. It is a wrong assumption that females cannot assault men sexually. This assumption makes men be victims who suffer in silent because of the general assumption that is there. These assumptions that normally lead to gender bias are not equal. There is a Bible phrase that says that all men and women are equal in the eyes of God. This should be a reflection of both men and women that these assumptions add no good to the Christian value of someone. Another general assumption that is normally made is that women are only charged with the duty of taking care of the homes. They are considered good in carrying such like duties[4]. The duties may include taking good care of their children as well as husbands. They are also charged with the responsibility of cooking. In general, women are charged with the responsibility of taking care of the home. What is more confusing is that if men can create this kind of gender bias and charge women with the duty of taking care of the home why then can they trust women with leadership positions so that they can rule the entire nation as a whole. It becomes a big dilemma in answering this question as to why managing homes belong to women while managing the nation or large leadership posts belong to men.

Women can bank their hopes on church leader for their support over the kind of discrimination they face as women. However, this may not work out for them because for a long time now, leadership positions in a church have been dominated by the males. This fact that the male has dominated the church is also another issue. The male church leaders cannot easily give in their leadership position because of the belief that has existed before. This means that there should be a campaign that should be launched to make the male church leaders aware that both male and females are equal in the eyes of God[5]. They can both serve the Lord as there is no barrier to who should serve the subjects of the Lord. Male church leaders, however, have defended their move saying that it is written in the book of Timothy that church authority is well handled by male and ha it is not good to go against the teaching. This claim is not true because, in this letter that was written by Timothy, it was to serve only those people that existed in those times only. The book of Old Testament has many stories that in them, there are incidences of gender and race bias. In the Old Testament, the story of Tamar is a good example of gender bias that existed at that time. During her time male dominated the authority and what they commanded is what took place. It is an indication that Tamar was able to come out successful through the challenges she faced when she managed to stay at her fathers house after the death of her husband. It is through her self-determination and critical consciousness that she was able to come out of the situation while victorious. Another woman who also comes out successful despite being discriminated being based on the gender is Rehab. The fact that being a prostitute made her be discriminated she managed to survive all the odds that she faced because of the gender bias. The New Testament there is also incidences of gender bias. The woman who was caught in the adultery was stoned to death. A question that arises is where the male counterpart that was found cheating. These biblical stories should be an indication to the church leaders that women have the potential of rising despite the challenges they face to become successful[6]. The women in the Bible have proven that they made it despite the gender bias that existed. This should create self-determination among black women to rise and fight for their positions in a church as leaders. The above examples are also to be an eye opener to the male church leaders who are gender biased towards female.

The above examples in the bible on how males have proven to be superior to be females are not enough. There are studies that indicate that patriarchy existed since the beginning of the world. The belief that men are superior to women by nature and that it is close to impossible for women to be equal to men is shown in the Bible. A story that is familiar to most of the Christians is that of the fall of humankind. It is written that the cause of death is because of disobedience that was done in the Garden of Eden. The blame is mostly placed on Eve. It is known that it is Eve who persuaded Adam to eat the forbidden fruit. What has never been put into consideration is the fact that the original instructions forbidding the man to eat the fruits were given to Adam. Why then do we blame women so much? Adam had the original instruction and should have rejected the forbidden fruit. It is his weakness that also contributes d to eating the forbidden fruit that eventually led to the suffering of mankind. This is an indication that gender bias existed since Genesis of the earth. However, it is in the same book of Genesis that it is written that God created both man and women in his image. Creation of both men and women is an indication that these two creatures are equal before the Lord. If this is true, then the claim of patriarchs is not true.

 Esther is also another common character in the Bible that through her existence proved to be self-determined to make it through the society that was gender biased. Esther was wise enough to acknowledge the existence of racial and gender bias in her community. She, therefore, used her beauty and intellect to survive this kind of gender bias that existed. To survive the racial discrimination, Esther did not reveal her personality for the fear that she can be discriminated based on her gender. The book of Ester also has got the themes of gender and racial bias[7]. Throughout the book Ester shows rare characters in women. The move she took towards the king depicted her self-determination and self-worth[8]. This is because if she could have made the decision that t the king wanted she could have added more problems to her personal life. Ester is a good example of a woman who has risen above the challenges of gender and racial bias to emerge successfully.

Women for a long time have fought for a leadership position in the church. They have had to face various oppositions from individuals who are conservative and would not give them the opportunity to rule. Vashti M. McKenzie. Is the first female who got the opportunity to be elected as a bishop in African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. It was a position that for a long time was dominated by males. Vashti had to face opposition from the masses of people who taught that it was inappropriate for females to occupy such positions. However, it was through her self-determination and self-worth that she chose to give a deaf ear to those who were gender biased. Her strategy indeed yielded results as she was able to emerge victorious from the elections. Ever since her becoming victorious, there has been some women who have been able to rise above the biased gender community and have eventually emerged successful. Some of these women have managed to get even the opportunity to go to the white house and preach for President Barack Obama. It is no doubt that through self-determination and acknowledging self-worth, one can rise above the barriers available and become more successful even compared to those who are perceived to be better by the population.

 Conclusion

It is evitable that the Bible, which is a reference book to the Christians, contains some stories or episodes indicating that the theme of gender and racial bias are dominant. For a long time, since creation women have always been perceived to be a weaker gender that cannot do anything. However, women have risen to become powerful people. It is through their self-determination and self-worth that have made them emerge successfully.

Bibliography

Alston, Judy A. "Tempered radicals and servant leaders: Black females persevering in the superintendency." Educational Administration Quarterly 41, no. 4 (2005): 675-688.

Hamilton, Shirley. "African American Women Roles In The Baptist Church: Equality Within the National Baptist Convention, USA." (2009).

Hogan, Robin Michelle. Emergent Female Leadership in African American Churches: Experiences, Barriers and Issues. ProQuest, 2008.

Lincoln, C. Eric, and Lawrence H. Mamiya. The black church in the African American experience. Duke University Press, 1990.

Lincoln, C. Eric, and Lawrence H. Mamiya. The black church in the African American experience. Duke University Press, 1990.

Mathisen, Robert R. Critical issues in American religious history: A reader. Baylor University Press, 2001.

Ngunjiri, Faith Wambura, Sharon Gramby-Sobukwe, and K. William-Gegner. "Tempered radicals: Black womens leadership in the church and community." The Journal of Pan African Studies, 5 (2) (2012): 84-109.

Parker, Patricia S. Race, gender, and leadership: Re-envisioning organizational leadership from the perspectives of African American women executives. Psychology Press, 2004.

Young, Deborah Rohm, and Kerry J. Stewart. "A Churchbased Physical Activity Intervention for African American Women." Family & community health 29, no. 2 (2006): 103-117.

Acquino, Ria Barretto. Women Ordination in the Roman Catholic Church (2014)

DeGruy, Joy. Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (2005)

Gelman Andrew, Jeffrey Fagan and Alex Kiss. An analysis of the New York City police departments stop-and-frisk policy in the context of claims of racial bias. Journal of the American Statistical Association (2012)

Heilman, Madeleine E. Gender Stereotypes and Workplace Bias. Research in organizational behavior, 32, pp. 113-135 (2012)

Harrison, R. K. Old Testament Times. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2005.

Moore, Carey. The Anchor Bible. 2003.

Porter, M. The Conspiracy to Destroy Black Women. African American Images, 2001.

The Zonderan Encyclopedia of the Bible.

Ehrman, Bart. The Bible: A Historical and Literary Introduction. New York: Oxford    University Press, 2013. 

 [1]Ehrman, Bart. The Bible: A Historical and Literary Introduction. New York: Oxford            University Press, 2013. 

[2]Moore, Carey. The Anchor Bible. 2003.

 [3]Porter, M. The Conspiracy to Destroy Black Women. African American Images, 2001.

The Zonderan Encyclopedia of the Bible.

 [4]Porter, M. The Conspiracy to Destroy Black Women. African American Images, 2001.

The Zonderan Encyclopedia of the Bible.

 [5]Heilman, Madeleine E. Gender Stereotypes and Workplace Bias. Research in organizational behavior, 32, pp. 113-135 (2012)

 [6]Acquino, Ria Barretto. Women Ordination in the Roman Catholic Church (2014)

DeGruy, Joy. Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (2005)

 [7]Gelman Andrew, Jeffrey Fagan and Alex Kiss. An analysis of the New York City police departments stop-and-frisk policy in the context of claims of racial bias. Journal of the American Statistical Association (2012)

[8]Harrison, R. K. Old Testament Times. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2005.

sheldon

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