When You Think You’re Beyond Racism, but You Aren’t.

Awareness is the most powerful tool in the universe. Simply knowing what we did not know gives us an opportunity for growth we did not have.

Whether we use that new awareness or not is solely up to each of us.

Fear is what allows racism to persist, and the fear of the big black man has gone on way too long. How many more generations will it take before, in the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “[we] live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”?

To get there, we first must be willing to stop lying to ourselves about our own fears, and sometimes that’s the toughest hurdle we have to face.

No one likes to admit they’re afraid. It’s just common sense to avoid those neighborhoods, cross over to the other side of the street when we see a group of kids from a race not of our own and, as many police officers throughout the United States do every day, shoot and ask questions later. 

It takes courage to first admit fear, and then do what it takes to overcome it. It takes a growing awareness of who we are and who we want to be to take whatever next step is before us so that we can, in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “become the change we wish to see in the world.”

This kind of change, the end of racism, doesn’t come easy. It won’t end by pointing the finger at those who are blatant while denying our own deeper prejudices. It won’t end by protesting injustice while sitting at a dinner table where all are of the same color and race. It’s up to each of us to build a bridge, first within ourselves, and then to those who are different from ourselves.

It’s up to each of us, one by one, to celebrate diversity, not just with our words, but with how we live our lives.

Who is in your circle of friends? How diverse is that circle? What have you done to make your circle more diverse?
If we are to see the end of racism, it cannot just be in our prayers, but in the affirmative actions we take in seeking out that which we wish to celebrate.

When we bring light to our deepest, darkest fears, we gain the opportunity to release them.

That is the purpose of our short film: to bring to light that which which may be unconscious or covered in denial. To uncover the hidden prejudices that many call common sense. The prejudices that hide in good people who want to do good, but find, when the rubber hits the road, that their fears take over and they hide behind common sense.

The only way to be bigger than what is common is to take a deep breath and enter where fear says do not go. Just like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., each of us must stand in the face of the injustice within our own hearts when every part of us says run. We must be bigger than common sense to achieve a world that celebrates all races, all religions and all sexual preferences.

Each of us is offered that opportunity regularly to rise above our fear. Every time one of us rises, the world moves a little closer to becoming the dream spoken about so eloquently by Martin Luther King Jr.


Rev. Cliff Rubin is the Senior Minister at Spiritworks Center for Spiritual Living in Burbank, CA. He is also the grateful husband of Ashley Fuller Rubin and father of Isaac Rubin. After achieving a BS in Filmmaking from the Los Angeles Film School, he has put together a troupe of amazing congregants to inspire through film, to creatively do what Mahatma Gandhi so eloquently stated, “Be the change you wish to see.”


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