Hitting Close to Home: Racism
“Why are you making us pay for our ancestors’ past mistakes?” “Our county was good to the slaves.” “Slave owners lost a great deal to
o, you know.” “We tolerated blacks after the war, and now we live in harmony. Some even attend my church.” “We shouldn't talk about racism; that’s in the past.” “We need to move on and stop those liberals from changing our history.” “There are just some bad apples.” These are comments I've heard in the past couple of weeks .
If you know me, you know that I have been graciously navigating my way through these type of comments for a long time. I learned a long time ago that one discussion or argument will not change a person, especially in today's divided climate. Today, however, it is hard for me to be gracious. Today, I am crying out to God and asking you for prayer.
I am furious right now. The past few weeks have been a lot. Normal life combined with a visit down South, the recent comments of a close caucasian friend, and a racial incident in Georgia involving my niece have me at a loss. I find myself broken and lamenting to God.
The event involving my niece really had my blood boiling. Two weeks ago, several caucasian teenage girls aggressively went to my niece and called her a "Nigger” and said, “you better never look at us again, or we will hurt you." They continued to say, "Do you know why they call us "crackers? We used to crack the whip on you niggers." The school didn't reprimand the teens. They didn’t do anything. My niece's mother is in several meetings this week with the school district.
When I relayed this incident to another relative, they said, "Well, teens say and do things that hurt each other. If she were at a black school, she would be fighting another type of name-calling." I concede that not all predominantly black schools are safe. But this mixed-race school wasn't safe for my niece either. The balance of power and control are vastly different between the two types of schools. The white teenager uses the word nigger and explains that her ancestors used to whip my niece’s ancestors. In this conversation, the white teen is clearly communicating, “I am better than you. I have power and control over you, and you better get back in line.”
This is a direct attack on Genesis 1:26, "Let us make man in our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea…” Those girls basically told my niece that she was not their equal, and that she was lower than human. That is the painful legacy that chattel slavery left us - a scar on all American hearts. No one is immune. It's woven into the fabric of America. There was no resolution for my niece. Right now, as I am writing this blog, her mother is fighting for justice for her child at school. Those girls need to be reprimanded and educated.
As I wrestle with all of these feelings, the trial of Ahmaud Arbery starts this week. Ahmaud was a young African American male who went for a Sunday run and never returned home. He was gunned down like an animal by three caucasian, who would have gotten away with this unnecessary slaughter of innocent life, had it not been for the fact that everything was captured on video.
I want to invite you to listen to the podcast Buried Truth season 3 https://www.wabe.org/shows/buried-truths/ on the Ahmaud Arbery story and observe systematic racism at work. What is so painful as a citizen of the United States, a taxpayer, and a child of God, is that the justice system didn't arrest the men for months. In fact, they tried to cover it up. Systemic racism hurts our unity as a nation and the body of Christ. Quest desires to create safe spaces for us to learn and grow together.
Join us to discuss the podcast on November 4 from 7:00 to 8:30pm. Register at https://www.questmovement.org/events/candid-conversation-ahmaud-arbery-murder. What are the systemic issues surrounding this case? Where are YOU right now amid all this? How do we make a difference in our local areas? How can we spread the GT healing groups throughout our communities and our nation?
I am glad we serve a God above all this pain. I am glad Christ Jesus is our savior. We have hope and a safe place to lament and take our pain. More importantly, we are all one in Christ. Galatians 3:26-28 says, "So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." God is just and he calls us operate in justice. Let's be the body of Christ and make a better tomorrow for the next generation.