It is not unbelievable anymore. Not after hundreds of years of systematic tyranny partially revealed in the brutality of abducting, enslaving, and oppressing men, women, boys, and girls of African descent. This unwanted, unwarranted, unambiguous savagery has suffocated generations from the middle passage to the New Jim Crow in America. For those who have endured past atrocities and those who currently experience reprehensible acts, there has never been an acceptance of these offenses. Each generation since the first inhumane voyage to these shores has fought vigorously for their birthright of freedom, knowing that human equality should not be deficient simply because of the color of their skin. Now a full 8 minutes and 45 seconds of similar cruelty has ended another black life. Namely that of George Floyd. This irrevocable act is yet another antagonism of a people already embittered and has energized the explicit echoes of generations of insistent demands for ending racism.
This Has Got to Stop
Although a strong desire for equality (equal treatment) existed when news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached the ears of former slaves in 1865, they knew that it would not be immediate. They could not have imagined, however, that 155 years later the modes of racial inequality would methodically maneuver to manipulate the ideology of supremacy for the majority race. Reconstruction, Post-Reconstruction, Jim Crow laws and philosophies, and the New Jim Crow have served to demean by subjugation and subsequent conditioning that is not easily undone. The lack of or perceived lack of adherence to subjugation was and continues to be enforced by domestic terrorism manifested as threatening, beating, killing, and lynching men, women, boys, and girls. These perpetrated by an iniquitous system of so-called justice and by the hands of so-called law-abiding citizens. George Floyd a victim of the former and Admaud Arbery a victim of the latter. Not George and Admaud alone, but countless other black people, without regard for gender or age, have been murdered, terrorized, abused, marginalized, and dehumanized every century, every decade, every year and every day for over 400 years, without justice. This has got to stop.
Waiting Too Long
While no human being should experience what black people have experienced in America, this is not the time for denial-based fragility that darkens the clarity of understanding. It is time to see things as they are rather than the semblance of perception. The widespread protests we have been witnessing are indicative of the long dark night void of equity for African Americans and the empathetic consciousness of others who can no longer stand on the sidelines. (African American agency alone will not be successful in ending racism). The protests have created momentum for a continued conversation that must end with the permanent justice of equality for all people in conjunction with the solitary justice found in the conviction of individuals who committed racially motivated crimes. The momentum is in church houses and community houses; it is in town halls and social halls; it is in every space where candid conversations can occur that will be predicated on understanding and solving the issues, challenging and overcoming the power structures that maintain inequity, and ultimately ending racism and the ignorance associated with it once and for all. Now we must seek an end to the waiting. We must turn off the silences. We must begin, in earnest, the perilous process of uncomfortable dialogue with sincere desire to disrupt the perils of racial discrimination. Experiencing racial discrimination is unnecessary for compassionate empathy. What is necessary is a true willingness to understand. The world has been waiting too long for this.
Walk into any church today and it is possible to find differing perspectives on the death of George Floyd. Perhaps because the vast majority of churches are intraracial. However, it must be pondered if the perspective on George Floyd is unified in multicultural churches. Race and racism are issues that have not been eliminated from the pulpits of our churches nor the pews of our churches. Our sanctuaries have refused the process of sanctification on the issues of race and racism. Certain segments of Christianity have perpetuated racism in America and around the globe as is evident, in one way, by the rhetoric one encounters on social media. Christians, among all people, should not be racist but should be instrumental in ending racism in every quarter of society. Albeit, Christians cannot make any claims of perfection regarding praxis. There is a disparity between the intent of Christianity and the practice of it. Nevertheless, if there is a chance of ending racism, the best chance is under the banner of Christ.
We must discern that something is different about this moment. Christians in every church, regardless of cultural status, regardless of denomination, cannot let this moment pass without intentionally instituting forums for measured thought and conversation centered around social justice that will be influential to ending racism. The thought and conversation of these forums should organically lead to measured actions that produce identifiable change. All Christians must introspectively evaluate their thoughts and perceptions on race and racism seeking to learn if there is any misalignment with Christ on these matters. We must ensure the communication in our homes and our closed social circles is Christ-centered and therefore healthy as related to matters of race and racism. Interestingly, it is not a secret that no one is born a racist. The behavior of racism and all that accompanies it is learned in the context of family and other associations. What is important for Christians is the courage to speak against the propagation of racist ideas within these contexts. Our silence is detrimental to progress and change. Our new normal, on race and racism, must be incessantly dynamic toward positive change in our various communities. Let us produce within our circles of influence a confident expectation that racial equality will occur in our lifetime. Let us be optimistic in our hope for change.
Sadly, because of the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of George Floyd, he is more notable posthumously than he was in life. The value of one life is worth going through the struggle of ending racism. May God bless your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.