A couple weeks back (June 2nd) I wrote an article on Facebook called, "Forgive me. I have been racist." The following blog post is a combination of that post and some additional thoughts added to express my view in its entirety.
My Silence essentially gives fuel to Racism.
My dear friends, I know that what I am about to say might upset and ruffle some feathers, but I trust that if you know me well enough you know that I love everyone and my heart does not desire to push anyone away even when I don’t agree with you. Quite frankly I believe that if we all took the time to get to know each other on a more personal level we might spend less time being offended by what people say - But that's for another day.
For today, I feel an immense weight as a WHITE MALE to express my thoughts on the riots, George Floyd, and even Colin Kaepernick so let me open up by saying and declaring to all my black brothers and sisters – Forgive me. I have been racist.
I know that for those who know me well enough, this might come as a surprise. After all, my best friend growing up was black (Jermaine Warren). The pastor who helped raised me into the man I am today was a black American (Robert Freeman) and really the majority of my friends in high school that I hung out with weren’t white so from the outside looking in someone could probably make the case that I wasn’t racist at all. However, over the course of a couple weeks I have had a DEEP conviction about everything going on and have taken this opportunity to really challenge myself in whether or not my life has been "Racist".
Now, let me just make some general statements that I believe in. First, I don’t think that just because I have black people in my life it automatically makes me someone who isn’t racist. I think racism does deeper than just who is on your "friends" list. Now I have the word "friends" in quotations because for me - In order for someone to be my friend - I have to generally care about them and the things they experience. For 35 years now I have spent my life being primarily silent on the racial injustices being done to the black community. I haven't taken the time to listen to them, try to find a resolution, or helped to lift up their voice of concern. Let me be blunt and just say I wasn't a very good friend. If anything, all i did was remind my friends that I wasn't the problem. I wasn't racist and I proved it by hanging out with black people all the time. But admitting that I wasn't racist and hanging out with black people didn't change anything in this country. I simply became a statistic while the racial injustices just continued on. However....
All that changed a couple weeks ago when I realized that My Silence essentially gives fuel to Racism.
The Hard to Remember - Truth
I seem to remember that white people have a history of killing, raping, and making laws of segregation towards black people. Not the other way around. White people in this country don't know what its like to be "sold" or know what its like to hear stories from their grandparents about the hardships of being someone else "property". (Now that doesn't mean that black people haven't killed or raped white people so don't go there with me right now. In fact if that was your first thought when you read that sentence you probably need to calm down and understand I am not trying to attack you right now. Just take time to hear me out....)
What I am saying is that historically - White people are the ones who imprisoned, shackled, and enslaved black people for hundreds of years. My friends, white people OWNED black people in this country. Think about this for a minute. They owned them like a piece of property and the black community didn't even have rights. The Pledge of Allegiance that you say everyday says, "Liberty and Justice for all" - Now do you think the black community has had "Liberty and Justice" all these years? My friends, white people made black people go pee in a different location, drink from separate fountains, and even walk on different paths all because of the color of their skin. Can you imagine how defeated and broken you would be if you were treated this way?
Ok, now take some time to look up "wet nursing" and try to imagine as a white person having to breastfeed a black baby and take care of them WHILE ignoring your own to one day find out that YOUR BABY died from malnutrition while the black baby thrives off of your milk....Think about that for a minute and then realize that this happened on a regular basis in this country with black mothers. They endured the death of their own to ensure the prosperity of another....
So essentially a black mother was good enough to feed a white persons baby but not good enough to use the same bathroom or drink from the same fountain.....seems a bit unreal but this is the truth about our history as a nation.
What about the 13th amendment. Ever took time to research it and see what the "clause" is? If not let me just paint a quick picture. The 13th amendment was supposed to abolish slavery but all it really did was transfer "ownership" of black people. Essentially instead of people owning slaves they found ways to imprison the black people so they could now work the fields in a jumpsuit. Don't believe me, do your research (and don't just read stuff you agree with - take time to learn both sides and make an educated decision please. I always pray and ask God to help me with such matters as we all know how deceptive the media and newspaper articles are.)
So I honestly could go on and on about the historical side of whites empowering themselves and oppressing blacks (and Native Americans, and Latinos, and others....) but for the sake of not establishing a book today let me just say that we (white people) have a history of "oppressing" other races in this country and if we (again - white people) just have this mentality that "it's not our fault - that those things were done by our ancestors" then we have missed an opportunity to actually make a difference in this Nation and eradicate this demonic influence over our nation.
So - It was in my silence that I became "Racist"
You can disagree with me on this if you want - But even the Lord says, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord you will be saved (Romans 10:9-10). That is because our words have power. When we take the time to speak up for our oppressed brothers and sisters we are helping to establish confidence, boldness, strength, courage, and a host of other things to their heart. When we openly speak out against it when we see it ( or even when we don't see it and our brothers and sisters are screaming that it's happening) we are openly declaring war on racism. But when we stay silence - that's when the weeds of misinterpretation start to seep through. Black people start to wonder if people care. They start to question if they really are ugly, bad, and not worth anyones time. Anger starts to build up because they feel hopeless. Defeated. Pushed up against a wall.
See the reality is - All this rioting is just a consequence of years and years and years of being silent on the matter. (And yes I do realize the timing of the riots, the political agenda at hand, and all the other crap that the media is playing) The reality is we haven't done our part to really truly hear our black brothers and sisters and help them in this fight and if you disagree with me then lets talk about Colin Kaepernick....
When I first saw what Mr. Kaepernick was doing I was strongly against it. STRONGLY. Looking back, I still don’t know if I completely agree with his tactics (kneeling during the National Anthem) but I do know and believe that Colin is not a bad person and He doesn’t deserve disrespect for wanting change (Good change) for OUR fellow American brothers and sisters.
Now if I am honest about the situation – I am not sure that anything else would of gotten the attention that it deserved if he would of went about it a different way. And to be quite frank it DIDN'T get the RIGHT attention. It got a lot of attention to say the least, but not the right type of attention until now. My friends, I remember speaking ill about Mr. Kaepernick and saying that I didn't appreciate Him disrespecting the flag and it has taken 4 YEARS for me to understand that it really wasn't about the flag to begin with. So essentially - here is another part of evidence that I was indeed ignorant and blinded by the racial injustices being done to my black brothers and sisters.
So even though this silent protest wasn't necessarily coming against our service members - it most definitely was bringing to the attention the injustices being done IN THE COUNTRY that the flag represents.
Now I am not attacking anyone but you ever wonder why we sing things like, "We lift our hands in the sanctuary..." at church and yet no one in the sanctuary is actually lifting their hands or we sing out "Shout Hosanna" and most people aren't even singing the lyrics....
Well that's because we are creatures of habit and sometimes we don't even realize what we are singing or what we are saying and we essentially are just going through the emotions.
Now with that same thought - Have you ever considered what it must feel like to be black and sing the national anthem that says, "Land of the Free..." Or to stand up and say the pledge of Allegiance that says, "Liberty and Justice for all..."
Imagine if it were you. What thoughts would come across your mind. "I guess we aren't a part of the "All". I guess this isn't my nation or my land because I am not free. My friends, what Colin Kaepernick was doing was trying to bring to attention the fact that our National Anthem and our pledge of allegiance doesn't even do what it says....and we all can agree that it's important to hold our nation accountable for what it says that it is....One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All...
So then, for the sake of wanting to bring to attention the social in-justice that was happening within our walls… I feel that Colin would be JUSTIFIED in this case. If you disagree – its ok. I don’t hate, i merely disagree with you.
Now, for the sake of conversation and for the sake of this post – I simply want to offer my apologies to Mr. Kaepernick (and for anyone else who stood with him) for not being a good listener and seeing the bigger picture. Like the great Dr Martin Luther King Jr I too have a dream. I have a dream that one day my fellow Christian brothers and sisters will Cultivate Love to such a degree that it transforms the way we see people and puts to death this demonic cult of racism for good. So today I ask that you forgive me for my ignorance. Forgive me for not being a good listener and casting my lots. Today I choose to just love you no matter what. Scripture References Romans 14:10 – Why do you pass judgement on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your bother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God” John 8:7 – And as they continued to ask him, he (Jesus) stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
To all my white people. Stop. Drop. And Roll. Remember when we were told to do this back in the day if we were on fire....Same applies today. We are literally in a spiritual fire and the only way we are going to get out of this is to STOP trying to defend yourself, STOP trying to be right, STOP trying to justify your cause....and begin to DROP to your knees and begin to pray and ask God for help. Repent for our nation, for our silence, for our ignorance (even if you don't feel like you have ignorance, its good to just be humble) and ask God to give you wisdom, strength, and knowledge on how you can help. And lastly let the comments, suggestions, hatred, frustration of anyone against you to ROLL off of you. Stop giving the enemy room to operate in your life.
To all my black people. Stop. Drop. And Roll. And same applies to you but in a different context. STOP what your doing right now, DROP to your knees, and start declaring the word of God over your circumstances. Let the promises of God ROLL over your life and ROLL over the enemy and his schemes in this nation. It is time to put an end to the racial injustices in this nation and it starts with asking God to have his way in our hearts and in the hearts of our oppressors. Be encouraged my friends - God is on the move.
Last bit of advice for my white friends - Get to know the black community. They are incredible. Make decisions to visit their churches, invite them over for dinner, and be a aprt of their life. Help to make them feel like their concerns are your concerns, that their joy, is your joy - And I promise that in doing so - You will be blessed. Love you all - Shalom.