Tension between Blacks and Whites has grown over the past seven years, and most do not want to discuss it. Many Blacks are angry at the way they are treated and many Whites don’t understand why people of color are angry. There are others, both Black and White, who are just stirring the pot, so to speak, and creating tension. Many well-intended people are afraid to discuss the situation for fear of being labeled “racist” or “radical.” Emotions on both sides of the issue were heightened by the Super Bowl halftime performance of Beyonce’. While using such a venue to make a political statement is debatable, there needs to be respectful dialogue on the issue of race, and the “church” needs to be involved.
Let’s look at Ferguson, Mo., where the Justice Department has sued Ferguson because its investigation found that Ferguson police disproportionately targeted black residents with stops and searches and arrested many without legal justification. This is the latest fallout from the federal scrutiny that followed the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson in August 2014. Neither a grand jury nor the Justice Department prosecuted Wilson, concluding that Brown was shot in self-defense. Riots ensued, inflamed by elements such as Black Lives Matter and other groups with anti-American agendas who flocked to Ferguson. There are many more examples, even one where police shot a young boy who was playing with a toy gun in a park. Shooting to kill should be the last resort, not a matter of policy.
Many Whites look at Ferguson and see the facts that Brown had robbed a store and attacked a police officer. Thereafter, radical groups inflamed rioting. It was lawless and police had no choice but to restore order. Many Blacks see the situation differently–that the police, as an ongoing practice, had targeted people of color unjustly and the Brown incident was the tipping point of pent up frustration. A year long investigation proves the point: When reasonable dialogue is prohibited, the unreasonable occurs. Imagine, if you will, having fear of being intimidated by police every time you walk down the street. This kind of thing happens. The perception of it happening a lot becomes an oppressive reality that folks live with every day.
Making martyrs of criminals doesn’t compute with the law abiding. But most can understand a police state. Radicalization and violent revolution, as promoted by Black Panthers and Islam, is not the solution. Neither is White supremacism. These are all extremely dark. We, the “church,” need to figure out how to speak into these situations. Instead, we point the finger. We push back. We look the other way. But the light of Christ needs to show us a way out of this darkness. We often appear like an enemy rather than the eternal solution, causing folks to migrate toward agenda-oriented groups. We are all one race–the human race. We need to respect one another. It starts with the Golden Rule found in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
Have a Blessed and Powerful Day!