The Myth of “Black Community”

Much is being made today about the state of what is often referred to as the “black community”.

Unfortunately, this is not breaking news.

The truth is much was being made of the black community in the 1960s…

…and the 1970s

…and the 1980s

…and the 1990s


Well, you get the point.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word community is defined as:

  1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common
  2. a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals
  3. a group of interdependent organisms of different species growing or living together in a specified habitat

This is important to note because when it comes to “black community” as a social, cultural, or ideological construct we must understand that words have meaning; and the meaning of words establishes the context of the discussions we have about such topics as the one I’m addressing in this commentary.

The Magic of Melanin

Given the above definitions, the assumption most people make when conceptualizing “black community” is that definition number two is the most contextually accurate, having reached that conclusion by likewise presupposing that definitions one and three are equally applicable.

They surmise because black people have a “particular characteristic in common” namely, melanin, there exists an inherent “feeling of fellowship” because, again, being black, we naturally “share common attitudes, interests, and goals”, and on that basis further assume that blacks prefer to “live together” in “specified habitats”.

In other words, get a group of black and brown-skinned people together in one place and – Voila! – like magic – “black community”.

See how that works?

The idea of melanin-based “community” is a mindset that gives little or no consideration whatsoever to the uniqueness of one’s God-given personhood. No thought at all to the diversity of ideological and philosophical worldviews or the uniqueness of one’s cultural or societal experiences.

The idea of “black community” merely assumes that to be of a certain skin color is to also be in “community”—ideologically, philosophically, politically, and theologically—with others who likewise are of a similar skin color.

It is the cultural equivalent of a recipe for baking a cake, only instead of adding the prescribed ingredients, such as eggs or vanilla, in this case just add melanin.

The absurdity of such logic should be obvious to anyone.

And yet the assumptions don’t end there.

Losing Our Religion

There are those today who would have us believe the aforementioned assumptions are representative of a mindset that is exclusive to white people.

But I assure you it is not.

There are countless black Americans who hold to the conviction that merely being black suffices as a juxtaposition for “community,” and that any differences that may exist between we who are black should be sacrificed on the altar of our common skin color.

I use the term altar quite deliberately. For what was once universally regarded as a righteous (biblical) cause, that is, the pursuit of justice as an imago Dei issue (Gen. 1:27), has morphed into its own religion wherein melanin is exalted as an object of worship in and of itself.

Like the Israelites of old who constructed and venerated a golden calf at Mount Sinai (Ex. 32:1-6), there are today those who, under the more commonly accepted notion of “black community,” have fashioned for themselves a radical Jesus who is worshiped for His “social consciousness” while devaluing the redemptive Jesus whose propitiatory death on the cross forever bridged the immeasurable chasm between a holy God and sinful man (Rom. 3:23; Eph. 2:4-7, 13-17.)

The ramifications of such a partitioned Christology is an apologetic that is grounded primarily in the Jesus who confronted the moneylenders (Matt. 21:12-13), but to the exclusion of the Jesus who preached the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:1-12). Consequently, the clenched fist has replaced the cross as the symbol of our salvation, thereby inverting the very idea of salvation so that it is no longer God who redeems us but we ourselves through our own soteriological efforts at self-redemption.

This is problematic for several reasons, not the least of which is that when your definition of salvation changes, so does your paradigm of who can save you and from what it is that you must be saved from.

A New “Great Commission”?

Prior to His ascension into heaven, Christ commanded His disciples to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matt. 28:19a).

Jesus did not tell His followers to organize themselves into a “movement” so as to impact the culture and free themselves from the political and religious oppression they were experiencing under Roman rule.

If such an man-centered approach could have accomplished the kind of salvation Christ had in mind by dying on a cross, it stands to reason, does it not, that He would have instructed His disciples accordingly? That Jesus did not take that course of action has proven difficult to accept for the so-called “black community,” many of whom would rather protest than pray and demonstrate than die to themselves.

Consequently, a new “Great Commission” has been created and adopted, one that preaches a “gospel” of social confrontation and agitation as opposed to spiritual regeneration and transformation (Jn. 1:12-13; 3:7, 16).

Examine Yourself 

There can be no “community” where you and I have nothing in common.

Melanin does not shape my morality.

My ethics are not influenced by my ethnicity.

The idea of black community will remain a mirage as long as you and I insist on defining community apart from the gospel of Christ, which alone has the power to transcend all ethnic and cultural persuasions and backgrounds so that we become one people under one common mission—making disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). 

The community Jesus Christ is building is deeper, wider, broader, and longer-lasting than any “community” formed solely on the basis of an attribute that literally is only skin-deep. It is an eternal community of believers—called the Church—and it is to that community that we all should desire to belong.

“That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” — John 17:21 (NASB)

Humbly in Christ,


21 thoughts on “The Myth of “Black Community”

  1. Darrell, I really appreciate your boldness in challenging the prevailing, gospel-undermining narrative of today. I get the sense that so much of the fist-pumping is born from the fear of losing one’s identity and capitulating to white supremacy. And so what we get is a theology of racial identity that makes sure racial identity is prominent. Of course, this is exactly what KKK and other white supremacist groups did, anchored Christianity in racial identity. The glory of the gospel is that the Christian is a new creature in Christ, receives his or her identity to which all other identities must bow.

    1. Lisa, thank your for sharing your thoughts, but most of all, for your encouragement. I am not naive to the fact that in today’s cultural milieu mine is like “the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” So, to have others like yourself come alongside in agreement with what the gospel teaches about who we are and how we are to live – despite circumstances and situations that pressure us otherwise – is very encouraging and comforting. Your point about the KKK is spot-on. When our identity is couched in terms of race, ethnicity, or even nationality, things which none of us had anything to do with in and of ourselves (Acts 17:26), we prove ourselves to be no different than they. As I said in the blog post, race has become the new “golden calf.” Needless to say, this ought not to be. We who are in Christ are now wholly identified with Him (Galatians 3:26-27.) So, again, thank you, Lisa, very much. Let’s work together to bring more gospel-centered light to this issue.

  2. Thank you, Brother D.B., for this thoughtful post! I am always hoping that more Christians will be more vocal in speaking against this “social justice warrior” mentality that is becoming more and more prevalent in our culture without in real rationale to it. I have often wondered if people thought that I was weird because I believed that my identity was laid in Christ and not my skin color. I am happy to be an African American, but I am overwhelmed with joy of being a follower of Christ. Now, I desire my words and behavior to be soaked in a love that is only reminiscent of the love shown by Christ on the Cross. So, I ask the Father to forgive me for my prejudices and I should ask Him to forgive these “social justice warriors” — for we “know not what we do!”

    Thank you again, brother!

    1. Lynn

      My first time to this site & I appreciate it a great deal. I have this question jadanner1, understanding that our primary identity is in Christ, why do you identify as African-American and not simply American? I believe the advent of the hyphenated America has done much to divide us as a nation and has done our national culture great harm.


  4. Helen Louise Herndon Herndon

    How very much I appreciate your Gospel-centered and biblical-centered response to culture. Just as Jew and Gentile Christians had to give up something to “become community in Christ, one in Christ,” we all, regardless of our race or ethnicity, must be willing to leave behind anything that hinders being true disciples of Jesus Christ who love one another as Christ loved us. Caucasian, Asians, and others are not united by their or lack of it. Already, I love you brother in Christ because you speak Christ’s truth, our Triune God’s truth. May God bless you, use you for His glory, as He has already done here. Having lived overseas and working with Christians of 17 different nationalities, and several races, Asian, Arab, African, European, American, I am enthralled with your perception.

  5. This was a timely and exceptionally written argument, sir, and I agree with one of your basic premises in the post in that the “Black fist” has virtually replaced the “old, rugged cross”. Obviously, I believe that this has been intentional by so-called leaders, and allowed by deluded, even well-meaning people. Keep more of these pieces coming because a morally adrift Black “community” needs them; we have left our Lord who sustained us all these centuries.

  6. Patricia Amey

    “Melanin does not shape my morality.”
    “My ethics are not influenced by my ethnicity.”

    That part!!
    Excellent and SELF-EXAMINING piece Bro Darrell!

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  8. leesue54

    I just discovered you on IG as a suggested account to follow. And then found you on FB. I love your heart for the Lord and your thoughts on what is happening in the U.S. right now. Thank you for your boldness on a “hot button” subject.

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