Letter Regarding Racism

Excerpt of an ongoing personal correspondence between a black woman from the Midwest and a black member of the Twelve Tribes regarding racism, their views on Southern culture, a new definition of slavery, the issue of mixed-race marriages, as well as the questions, “Is Yoneq a prophet?” and “Are the Twelve Tribes a hate group?”

My name is John, and I read your message to my friend Michael. I am that black man who wrote the article you read on our website (see Are We Racist?). I appreciate very much your honesty and straightforwardness. Not many people take the time to say what is really on their hearts. Thank you for being true to what you really feel. I will try to address, as best I can, the different issues you mentioned in your communication with Michael. I sincerely hope that it will be to your satisfaction.

Racial superiority is not an issue in our communities. It never has been an issue. The definition of racism that you found in the dictionary is an apt description of what exists outside of our communities, and also in every culture on the face of the globe. Racism is a problem in both black and white societies wherever it exists.

As to my speaking from a Southern oppressed perspective, I can see how you might draw that conclusion, in light of the popular view of Southern culture. That sort of attitude, however, is actually part of the bigotry that keeps our races divided, both within each race and across racial lines. To assume that any black person living in the South is automatically oppressed and is unable to think or discourse objectively on the subject of race is tantamount to racial prejudice, whether the assumption comes from black or white.

Southern blacks in general are neither stupid nor naïve, as the media and other blacks tend to project. When Martin Luther King, Jr., came to my home town of Chattanooga, Tennessee, my family and most of the families of the children with whom I went to school were homeowners, with property around their homes. Very few of the Northerners who came with him owned their own homes.

Racial oppression is not the pervading atmosphere of the South, nor has it been restricted to the South. Lynching of black people by mobs has its origins in New York City. Pennsylvania has also had its share. The things I’m telling you are the result of my own research and cognition, just in case you’re interested.

I spent the last twenty years of my life in Europe, absorbing the different cultures there. After ample time and experience in viewing American culture from afar, I have concluded that there is none to compare with it. The crowning point of all these travels was the time that I lived with the Zulus in South Africa. This served to confirm and reinforce my conviction that there is no better place for blacks to live and prosper than right here in the USA.

The experience of more than 50 years inside and outside of Southern culture has formed my understanding of what racism is and what it is not. That timeframe includes some years in the Northern states as well.

My conclusion that the twelve tribes are not racist is not based merely on the fact that they don’t behave in that way, as you suggest, but I have a more objective base from which to speak. I live with the twelve tribes, and interact with them on a daily basis. I know the heart, spirit, and philosophy of the twelve tribes. I also know the heart, spirit, and philosophy of racism. The two are diametrically opposed to one another.

You mentioned that you have no testimony that Yoneq is a prophet. In our communities that is a non-issue. With prophets, as with everything else, you know a tree by its fruit. As the sayings go, “The proof is in the puddin’,” and, “Wisdom is known by her children,” etc. Our time is not spent in trying to know who is a prophet, or who isn’t. We dedicate our time and our lives to learning and understanding what it really means to love one another with the same love that our Master loved us, and just how one puts that into daily practice.

Everyone outside of Messiah is a slave to sin in some form or fashion. That’s why it is given to all men to die once and then the judgment (Heb 9:27). It is only in Messiah that we are released from the true slavery that enslaves our souls in such a way that we will have to pay for it in eternal death. Human slavery didn’t enslave the soul. A man was and is still free to live by his conscience. His soul is enslaved by the choices he makes. He is a free agent in God’s eyes, whether slave or free, therefore responsible for his own choices.

You hinted that you don’t want a Southern white man teaching you against mixed-race marriage, because it doesn’t sound like a revelation from God to you. Maybe it would be more palatable if it were a Northern white man, or Northern black man? I think you are absolutely right in your statement that there are many ways to be racist.

Be that as it may, no one here teaches against mixed-race marriage. That’s not one of our doctrines. We neither teach for nor against interracial marriage. We have mixed-race couples in our communities. Their marriages are just as blessed and holy as all the others, and so are the offspring of those marriages. It is God who puts people together in marriage. He puts true love in the hearts of the man and the woman. We have been raised in such a Hollywood-ized society that we have completely lost sight of what love and marriage really mean, or what they entail.

In order to understand what we are really saying about mixed-race marriages, you have to put down all your defenses, and brush all the chips off your shoulders to be able to hear your heart, our hearts, and the heart of God. It is very clear to us that God has a purpose for those who are truly His people. He wants them to be together in a life of sharing everything and caring for one another in every way. This has to be done in such a way that the whole world will be able to readily see that God is powerful enough to cause the races to live together in peace. Sexual relations and marriages across racial lines haven’t brought that about, nor have they proven anything. If these things were of any significance, then Brazil with its racial amalgamation would have brought Messiah back centuries ago. It is, however, one of the most corrupt third world countries on the globe.

The visible distinction between the three major races serves a wonderful purpose. Within our communities it becomes quite clear that God is causing the three separate races to be able to live and thrive together in a life of true love and caring, because of our love for the Son of God and each other. It becomes absolutely clear what having one’s sins forgiven will produce. These things must be distinguishable from afar — quickly understood, easily comprehended. That is what gives total honor to God, showing that He is truly capable of causing such a life to happen and continue.

If it becomes clear that God is putting two people together with a desire for matrimony, no one will deny that marriage or stand in the way of it, even if it is across racial lines. There will be just as big a celebration for that marriage as for any other. People marry among us because the fruit of their lives and relationship together demonstrates that God Himself is forming that love in their hearts for one another, and is giving them grace to build up the Body of Messiah together as a new social unit. Why else would one want to marry?

I know that these are difficult concepts to grasp at first glance. You can pray that God would show you what our heart truly is about these things, as I’m sure you have already been doing.

You stated that the doctrines that we teach are taught by countless other hate groups. I was quite surprised by such a conclusion. You obviously haven’t read our articles with an objective eye. I don’t know of any “hate group” that is calling for the races to actually live together under the same roof, and share everything in common, in the same manner as those who first believed in the Son of God. If there is one, please let me know which one it is.

I don’t mean to be unkind, and I think that the things you wrote were more out of reaction than out of sober reflection on what you have seen or heard among us. You are obviously an intelligent woman; there is no arguing that point. So, I want to appeal to your intelligence and to your heart that you would go back and sit with Michael and his wife, or come visit me and my wife, and hear our hearts, while seeing the fruit of what we are saying. Many people are saying many things, but what is it producing? Outside of all the reactions, what do you honestly see?

I sense that you are one who wants to know the truth. Please don’t shut the door because of mistaken or wrong impressions. You are more than welcome to come to our communities wherever they are. Michael can tell you where I am, if you are interested in coming here to visit us.

I would love to know what your response is to the things I have written you, whether positive or negative. Please feel free to comment, or ask any questions that may come to your mind.

Until next time,

The Twelve Tribes is a confederation of twelve self-governing tribes, composed of self-governing communities. We are disciples of the Son of God whose name in Hebrew is Yahshua. We follow the pattern of the early church in Acts 2:44 and 4:32, truly believing everything that is written in the Old and New Covenants of the Bible, and sharing all things in common.