Let me commend to you a post and numerous comments about racism on Scot McKnight’s blog: http://www.jesuscreed.org/?p=2239. The dialogue there centers on the issue of stereotypes, racism, and using another’s characteristics for humor. One interesting point of dialogue caught my eye: Could using another’s ethnic identity be offensive without being racist?
If being an offense is a sin (and I would argue that it is–the Gospel is an offense to many be we should never be), then what impetus would we have to argue that something is sin but not racist. Seems the only reason to argue for one is that we see offensiveness as bad but not nearly as bad as racism. That is like being called a pedophile. Does our interest in defending against the claim of racism evidence a level of defensiveness (and therefore blindness) to the realities that racism is nothing more than systematic offensiveness–using another’s characteristics to put and keep them in a subservient position?