Thought for the Day:
“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Question for the Day:
Are you silent on matters of injustice?
As our country still reels in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder caught live on camera and protests persist in just about every American city, it is clear that this nation’s long history of systemic racism, police brutality; and its culture of bigotry, discrimination, racial profiling and oppression might finally be growing too large to be contained in America’s metaphorical basement. The anger over injustices Black Americans have experienced for centuries is finally reaching a boiling point thanks to technological advancements like the cell phone and social media that make it harder for corrupt police officers to just make up stories that seem plausible enough to explain away the unnecessary deaths of black people. Now, the entire country is forced to bear witness to the ugly reality that America never really “crowned thy good with brotherhood” and it definitely was never the “land of the free.”
I have to admit that it’s been frustrating to be a black person in a country that incessantly gaslights you. How many other hashtags came before George Floyd that were swept under the rug or justified as natural reflexes in the face of white fear. “Large, black, male, hoodie, angry, criminal, suspicious, and ‘fit the description,’ are the buzz words that generally seem to make an excessive use of force seem perfectly reasonable to the average white person on the outside looking in. Where blacks see police brutality, whites often see an officer just doing their job in hopes of getting home safe to his family.
I’ve said in previous posts that most white people were raised to see the police as their advocates and allies, where black people know that when an officer comes on the scene, there are no guarantees. Look here, Karen… So, when we call foul, the average white person automatically responds by assuming we’re just jumping to conclusions, don’t have all the information, clueless about what happened prior to the altercation, being dramatic, making entitled demands, or just flat out trying to get away with a crime. Very few even think to consider that the officer might be in the wrong because to them, police officers protect and serve but to black people, this has never been a given. Blacks With The Blues
Even in the face of video taped evidence, most will still assume that the victim bought their unnecessary death upon themselves. Though it makes no logical sense that Sandra Bland should end up dead after being pulled over for a broken tail light, or that a gainfully employed, licensed to carry Philando Castille should be shot in front of his family, most white people shrugged and defaulted to their typical victim blaming. Arrested Development (What Happened to Sandra Bland?) Well, if they didn’t have an attitude, just did what they were told, followed instructions, didn’t mouth off, etc…. then they’d still be alive. The belief that it’s ALWAYS the black victim’s fault is most recently evidenced by ‘Ordinary Joes,’ Greg and Travis McMichael believing that they had the right to shoot a jogging Ahmaud Arbery dead because he didn’t “follow their commands.” That’s beyond just bad judgement but more of an example of the deeply ingrained belief a lot white people have in their ultimate authority over black lives.
Luckily, the average white person, doesn’t have to worry about their son going out for Skittles or an ice tea and never returning because an officer or some doped up neighborhood watchman might consider them a threat. They don’t think twice when their blonde haired, blue eyed little boy is playing cops and robbers in the park with a toy gun because it’s highly unlikely that an officer would see them as armed and dangerous. They don’t have to concern themselves with their sons, brothers, uncles, cousins or husbands going out for a run, reading a book in their car, breaking down on the highway, bird watching, reaching for their wallet, or eating ice cream in their own home ending up murdered. Black people know that even the most benign activities could still result in death which is a completely foreign concept for the average White American. So, I guess for most white people, their unfamiliarity with police misconduct is at least partly to blame for their ignorance. Therefore, the only way they can make sense of it is to assume that there must have been SOMETHING that black person did to deserve it.
Yet, here we are. I suppose there’s finally been one too many videos and a few too many hashtags because a lot of well-meaning white people are finally starting to ask the right questions. I’ve personally seen my white friends and colleagues make a sincere effort to understand our plight. Some have even asked meaningful questions in the hopes of gaining an honest understanding which I truly appreciate. I’ve also noticed some white people attempting to be extra nice which is a bit weird.
Okay, that was probably unnecessary, but it was funny. Nevertheless, white people that wouldn’t normally look twice at me are now flashing all thirty-two of their pearly whites and going through the drive thru at many fast food joints is almost as pleasant as the service at Disney World. And though I appreciate the extra love, being super nice to the black people in your life isn’t really the objective. We don’t need your smile nearly as much as we need your protest.
When Rihanna urged all white people who claim to care about black lives to “pull up” during her acceptance speech at the 2020 NAACP Image Awards, she spoke for ALL of us.
If you want to support the Black Lives Matter movement, then buy from black owned businesses, show up unashamed at a protest in your city, sign petitions that call for police reform, VOTE OUT racist politicians that support policies that silence and further oppress marginalized communities. You can write letters to your legislators and let them know you expect corrupt police officers to be held accountable. Stop supporting companies that back crooked politicians, vote to remove symbols of hate such as the confederate emblem from the Mississippi state flag, and BELIEVE people of color when we say we are being unfairly discriminated against, targeted and harmed. Stop making us convince you that we’re telling the truth and blaming us for the racism we experience. Take responsibility for your complicity and refuse to minimize issues that you don’t personally understand. And always remember that just because something is not a problem for you, doesn’t mean it’s not a problem.
However, the MOST important thing all the good white people in this country need to do is to call out your racist, bigoted, “nigger joke” telling friends who secretly belittle the Black Lives Matter Movement and express their disdain for people of color behind closed doors. Correct or report your friends who make racist posts on Facebook or worse yet, make outright threats against minority people. Black people have been doing this forever, but now it’s YOUR turn to call out the hate mongering folks in your life because they actually might receive it from you. It’s not enough to not be racist personally. We need all concerned and well-meaning white people (especially the good Christian ones) to commit to being an outspoken, vocal ANTI-RACIST that makes white supremacists uncomfortable. Black people have always made white people uncomfortable, but guess what white allies, “TAG, you’re it!”
“As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.”
1 Timothy 5:20