First, Ahmaud Arbery was shoot down. Then, George Floyd was suffocated on asphalt of Minneapolis. Amy Cooper called 911 desperately crying that she was being attacked by a black man who in reality stood far away from her video taping her dangerous little drama. It’s been a parade of terribly sad events for America. And they are not isolated. In fact, they are just the tip of an ice burg of stories that reminds us that the justice system doesn’t work for the African American and minority communities of America.
Honestly, I don’t want to say anything primarily because I don’t fully understand either. I am a sheltered little Oreo that grew up in white Middle Class America on the West Coast likely the safest place for a black woman. I won’t say I haven’t had my share of racism. I have. However, not to the extent of my African American brothers and sisters. That meant I had to educate myself too.
A lot of people are insisting, that the chaos in our nation is tearing us apart. However, the choice is up to us. We don’t have to let it. We can allow it to bring us together.
But what can we do to help relax the tensions in America? Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” James 1:19, New International Version
This is probably the most important thing you can do. Don’t try listen to speak listen to understand. Right now our African American brothers and sisters all over the country need to be listened to. They need to be heard. The only way we will understand their need is to unconditionally listen.
Watch Justin Khoe setting an example for listening.
“A proverb in the mouth of a fool is like a thorny branch brandished by a drunk.” Proverbs 26:9, New Living Translation
Now is not the time to be saying things like “You need to forgive your enemies,” “Don’t all lives matter?” “Can’t you find a more peaceful method of protest?” “Racism doesn’t exist anymore,” and “All the chaos is tearing this nation apart.” These statements are slightly misguided and rather calloused. I will tackle two of them.
First of all, #BlackLivesMatter is a bit of a misnomer. It means Black lives matter too. The African American Community assumed that was a given, but maybe it’s not. Maybe you are reminding us and yourself because you actually need to be reminded. I would certainly hope not. For now, remind yourselves that “all lives matter” on your own time.
Second, when Colin Kaepernick knelt to protest peacefully a lot of you freaked out (you can read my post on that here). Protest will never be comfortable. Unfortunately, this kind of protest actually caught your attention. What does that say about us as a society? Anyway, this is a side issue. Let’s put our focus where it matters right now. Because we need to be letting actions of love speak louder than words at the moment.
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” James 1:5, New Living Translation
These issues aren’t going to be solved without some wisdom. Taking the time to ask God for wisdom in these chaotic times is crucial. I was painful reminded of this while watching When They See Us. I was alarmed by the fact that women pushing for the rights of other women ran over the rights of minorities. It is so easy to rush in to a cause thinking we are helping someone yet stepping on the rights of someone else. That’s not a mistake we need to continue making.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” ― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom
Absorb the African American experience. Learn about them. Many of these things we weren’t taught in our history classes at school. Read the books. Watch the videos. I watched Just Mercy. I am working through When They See Us as well. Other resources on my list are the documentary 13thand the podcast “Brené with Ibram X. Kendi on How to Be an Antiracist.” There are a myriad of other resources that you can find if you simply take a moment to look for them.
“Patient persuasion can break down the strongest resistance and can even convince rulers.” Proverbs 25:15, Good News Bible
If you are a person of privilege, have those conversations with your friends. Call out that racism. Refuse to participant or stand by it.
I am choosing not to cut off the ignorant people in my life because I am choosing to hope that their hearts are in the right place. The other day, I asked one of my favorite influencers what encouraged him toward growth in this area. He said the people who made the difference were honest and kind. In his words, “Honest enough to speak up about how they were affect by things, kind enough to value me anyway.” Our African American brothers and sisters are way to hurt and tried to deal with some of these people. And rightly so. It’s our turn to take up that battle.
“Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you tells him, “Go in peace; stay warm and well fed,” but does not provide for his physical needs, what good is that? So too, faith by itself, if it does not result in action is dead.” James 2:16-17, Berean Study Bible
I am not going to tell you what to do our how to donate or how to educate. That’s your assignment. It’s your turn to take the initiative to make the world a better place. Yes, this world is not our home. However, let’s make the area around us a little piece of heaven.
What are you doing to love a Black person near you?