Two Hands: One Black, One White

2020-07-11 Two Hands
On one hand, someone once said, “If everyone woke up at 6:00am and found we were all the same color, the same religion, and the same nationality, by noon we would have found something to incite our prejudices.”  Prejudice, the ignorant, unreasonable, thoughtless and uninformed formation of an unfavorable view of someone before that person has done anything to warrant such a low opinion, is as constant as the sun.

On the other hand, the manipulation of perceived prejudice to gain personal advantage over someone else is just as constant, and often constitutes a “reverse prejudice” against innocents who differ only in that they resemble those who have expressed prejudice.

On these issues I see two conflicting perspectives, both of which hold some truth.  The difficulty will be in balancing these, especially in a public forum where emotions often can run high and thoughtful dialog can become difficult.  Politicians, police officers, city council members, or anyone publicly addressing racial conflicts must be at the top of their game for any such confrontations or presentations.  It is not enough to spout maxims for the media nor to post tweets or clips on social platforms.  We need serious and thoughtful dialog whenever it will be allowed.

On the one side is the obvious injustice too often suffered by people of color, such as Ahmaud Arbery, Travis Miller and George Floyd experienced.

Anecdotally, a strong young black man who often serves as a day-nurse for a handicapped neighbor was sitting in his car in front of my home.  He had arrived 45 minutes early and was dozing in his very nice new Toyota at 8:15am.  Someone in my neighborhood called the police!!  When the officers kindly knocked on his window and woke him up, he was as professional as he always is and explained clearly his reason for being there.  He even showed them his nurse’s id and driver’s license, a courtesy on his part not required by law.  I have to wonder if an unknown white guy had been dozing in the car, would the police have been called, or might the neighbor have knocked on the window to see if he was all right?

speaks of the racism she encountered (and overcame) growing up in the South.  Just Mercy is an excellent movie portrayal of the difficulty in minorities getting justice as recently as the 1990’s.  And of course, the more recent crimes against blacks in Alabama, Kentucky, and Minnesota simply aggravate a perception of white carelessness.

However, on the other side the BLM “movement” lacks validity based on its origins in Marxist philosophy and socialist intentions (https://thefederalist.com/2016/09/28/black-lives-matter-bringing-back-traditional-marxism/).  While it is true that black lives matter, why does the movement not address black-on-black crime that accounts for many more deaths than white-on-black violence?  Why is there no mention of one of the greatest civil rights leaders  in history in any of the speeches by BLM speakers?

“You can’t blame [these crimes] on a police officer, you can’t say this is about criminal justice reform.  This is about people carrying weapons who shot up a car with an eight-year-old baby in the car.  We’ve got to stop this.  We are doing each other more harm than any police officer on this force.  We’ve had over 75 shootings in the city over the past several weeks.  You can’t blame that on Atlanta’s Police Department.” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms, July 6, 2020.

A Facebook post that I copied for a guest blog (June 16, 2020) details a black police officer’s lament, “I realized that most in the African-American community refuse to look at solving the bigger problem that I see and deal with every day, which is black-on-black crime taking hundreds of innocent black lives each year, and instead focus on the nine questionable deaths of black men, where some were in the act of committing crimes.”

 

, along with Lexington Kentucky’s Police Chief Weathers, as well as men like Travis Miller, stand as heroes in my book.  We have had a black president and blacks have access to opportunity more than at any point in our history.  Black men and women have ably competed for seats of power in CEO positions, as governors, mayors; in almost every area of authority.  We must not let “white guilt” for crimes committed by ancestors excuse illegal and unjust actions that hurt black and white communities, nor allow “victim mentality” to rule our black communities.  The issue must not be devolved into demanding equal outcomes.

Furthermore what separates us in skin color is so insignificant, one source put it at 0.01 % of our DNA!  It is simply that more or less melanin is most easily identifiable to the ignorant who insist on seeing us as “different races” instead of recognizing we are all the human race with insignificant differences in melanin.  As Vodde Baucham, a black minister at a predominantly white church says, “We are all actually the same color . . . from our melanin; we’re just different shades of the same color.  Just because you don’t have as much melanin as I do, don’t you DARE think God does not love you as much as he loves me, because He gave me more!”

2020-07-11 Mother to Son

In Mother to Son Jasmine Holmes writes poignantly about “the talk” black mothers must have with their sons, not about the birds and bees like white moms, but about how to act when in driving downtown or across country and the additional dangers he will face just for having more melanin in his skin.  She offers us a window to see what black boys face as they grow into men in America. By giving voice to the perspectives of their mothers, Holmes offers Christ-followers a way forward toward racial unity and understanding.

She explains how one of the most difficult challenges faced by black Christian mothers is helping these children strike the right balance between their blackness and their Christianity.  She makes us wonder if white Christians feel this same conflict?  Do white mothers instruct their children to subject their cultural whiteness to Christianity?

She admits that it has been hard to drive this point home with a black son.  She stresses he must reject media that might be culturally affirmed but violates faith values.  Bitterness, resentment, and hostility — though culturally justified — cannot be embraced by young disciples of Christ, and that is true no matter how much or little melanin you have, whether your hand is black or white.

How Long, Oh LORD, How Long?

Today’s blog is mostly quotes of wiser men and women than me as they try to lift us out of the morass of hatred into which our nation and the world is falling.  My heart grieves for George Floyd, his family, the blacks of our nation; our churches, our cities, our political, religious and social leaders; our law enforcers, our country and the world that is being deceived by the Evil One.  Yes, Virginia, there really is a devil, and he comes to kill and destroy. (John 10:10

“O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
    and you will not hear?
Or cry to you ‘Violence!’
    and you will not save?
Why do you make me see iniquity,
    and why do you idly look at wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
    strife and contention arise.
So the law is paralyzed,
    and justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous;
    so justice goes forth perverted.”
  Habakkuk 1:2-4

In a Facebook post reflecting on the [George Floyd] case, Heritage Foundation President Kay C. James called herself “frustrated and exhausted.” 
“Black Americans like myself sit up at night with all the normal fears any parent would have when their kids are out, but have to add to that worry that they may not make it home just because they are black males.
“I was stunned years ago when I realized that my white friends did not have have ‘the talk’ with their sons.”  

A Prayer of Lament by: Mark Vroegop  
“O Lord, how long will your church be divided along racial lines?  How long will the lingering effects of animosity, injustice, and pride mark your blessed bride?  How long, O Lord, will my white brothers and sisters not understand the pain in those whose experience is different than ours?  How long, O Lord, will my minority brothers and sisters struggle with distrust and feel ostracized?”  (Mark Vroegop has been the Caucasian Lead Pastor of College Park Church in Indianapolis since 2008.)

“We must listen to each other, show compassion and empathy and never turn our backs on senseless brutality.  We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability.  Every one of us needs to be a part of the solution, and we must work together to ensure justice for all.  My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd and the countless others whose lives have been brutally and senselessly taken through acts of racism and injustice.” Michael Jordan

“As the nation’s capital we applaud the American spirit of protest, especially protest to the federal government.  However, we will not allow continued destruction of our hometown.  Every single American should be outraged by the murder of George Floyd.  However, smashed windows and looting are becoming a bigger story than the broken system that got us here.  I want to implore our residents to think of ways to help and be part of the solution and not be part of the destruction.  We want your voices to be heard, but we also want to protect the safety of everyone in our city.”  Muriel Bowser, the African-American mayor of Washington, D.C.

“I’m duty-bound to be here to simply say that it is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with an enemy.  It is your duty to fortify your own house so that you might be a house or refuge in times of organization, and now is the time to plot, plan, strategized, organize and mobilize. It is time to beat up prosecutors you don’t like at the voting booth.  It is time to hold mayoral offices accountable, chiefs and deputy chiefs.  Atlanta is not perfect, but we are a lot better than we ever were.” Michael Santiago Render, a rapper better known by his stage name, Killer Mike

“This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America. It can’t be ‘normal.’ If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better.  This can be a real turning point if we can channel our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action.
“The small minority of folks who’ve resorted to violence in various forms, whether out of genuine anger or mere opportunism, are putting innocent people at risk, compounding the destruction of neighborhoods that are often already short on services and investment and detracting from the larger cause.  Let’s not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it.  If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves.”
  Barack Obama, one of our most divisive presidents who did the least to benefit African-Americans since Richard Nixon.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.  Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.” Martin Luther King Jr, 1963

I am reminded of the Aesop’s fable, “The North Wind and the Sun.”
The North Wind and the Sun had a quarrel about which of them was the stronger. While they were disputing with much heat and bluster, a Traveler passed along the road wrapped in a cloak.
“Let us agree,” said the Sun, “that he is the stronger who can strip that Traveler of his cloak.”
“Very well,” growled the North Wind, and at once sent a cold, howling blast against the Traveler.
With the first gust of wind the ends of the cloak whipped about the Traveler’s body. But he immediately wrapped it closely around him, and the harder the Wind blew, the tighter he held it to him. The North Wind tore angrily at the cloak, but all his efforts were in vain.
Then the Sun began to shine. At first his beams were gentle, and in the pleasant warmth after the bitter cold of the North Wind, the Traveler unfastened his cloak and let it hang loosely from his shoulders. The Sun’s rays grew warmer and warmer. The man took off his cap and mopped his brow. At last he became so heated that he pulled off his cloak, and, to escape the blazing sunshine, threw himself down in the welcome shade of a tree by the roadside.
Gentleness and kind persuasion win where force and bluster fail.

And finally:
“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Apostle Paul to the Romans 15:5-7)

Keep praying and living for peace and justice.  Never stop until we see Him face to face.
We Shall Behold Him sung by Vickie Winans