“We need to talk about race. Why are people angry? Why so upset? Didn’t we elect a black president? Pass civil rights laws? Isn’t racism illegal now?” These are the words that begin Phil Vischer’s (now viral) video, “Race in America. It’s candid and mind-blowing. But mind-blowing doesn’t always mean viral. What made this one different? What made this video draw sides of the aisle together not apart? That’s what I’m going to explore here.
If there’s one person I trust to teach my kids the Bible through digital media, it’s Phil Vischer. He’s the original creator of Veggie Tales and many other exceptional kids’ Bible videos. He’s also a podcast cohost at “The Holy Post” (yes, that rhymes, and, yes, it’s as funny as you would expect).
What I didn’t know about Phil Vischer was how passionate he is about race and justice and the church. I didn’t know that until a friend sent me this video in early June.
“Wait,” I thought when I saw the video cover image. “Phil Vischer is talking about race? The Veggie Tales guy?” (I’m rolling my eyes at myself as I write this.)
Clearly I didn’t know Phil Vischer. He’s made of strong stuff, and boy can he lay down the truth! He’s totally ready to risk alienating parts of his audience for the sake of proclaiming what is right. And he really, really cares about race, and makes you want to care as well.
In the video, with his characteristic, matter-of-fact demeanor, he distills the factual history of racial disparity in America down to a jaw-dropping, 17-minute truth bomb. And he manages to do it in a non-partisan way without the use of any, hot-button trigger words. He doesn’t have to. The examples speak volumes.
The video is so non-partisan, and so “unreligious” that is has been shared by people across the religious and political spectrum. And it has been viewed over 4 million times. That’s significant because, up until the time of this video, Phil Vischer had never gone “viral.”
How did this happen? He explored that question on his recent podcast episodes. And two encouraging explanations have emerged.
1-The truth is astounding. At a time when the world is reeling with the onslaught of opinion after opinion without knowing who to believe, a video like this rises above the pandemonium and lets the truth do what it does best: pierce the heart.
2-There are lots of people in the “middle” politically and religiously. People who don’t cling to everything in one party and reject everything of the other. People who believe that the gospel means submitting to Jesus as Savior and spreading his kingdom on earth. They have been anxious for a prominent voice to reasonably share the truth about America’s racism so they in turn can share.
Facts don’t always need dramatic amplification to be effective, they just need practical presentation. And non-confrontational presentation. While sarcasm and intensity are attention-grabbing they are rarely heart changing. They just fuel the fire on either side of their argument (this idea was discussed in this podcast episode).
So, for all these reasons, I am so, very thankful to Phil Vischer for this video he made (you can listen to the story of how he put it together here). I’m grateful that he is using his influence to push many evangelicals to reconsider why they have been apathetic about race. I’m thankful that he’s produced a video that others have shared from large and small platforms. And I’m thankful for how straight-forwardly he lays out the truth. This really is a great starting point for anyone approaching the journey of understanding race in America. I know it was for me.
Ready for Action? Here are Some Ideas:
- Watch Phil’s race video if you haven’t already.
- Share the video on social media.
- Share this blog post on social media.
- Enter into prayer. Ask God to break your heart over racial injustice. Ask him to show you the way forward. I’m praying these things right along with you.
What are your ideas for action? Leave them in the comments! Let’s help each other grow.
If you liked what you read here you might also be interested in these posts: My Anti-Racism Awakening, and What This Blog Isn’t. Please also consider signing up for email updates to hear about new posts. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Subscribe Me!” I’m not a great planner, I won’t flood your inbox 😉