The other day I reconnected with my brother, Jordan. His wedding was coming up, and I missed that I hadn’t seen him in awhile. Adding him on Facebook however, I soon found race related posts surfacing. I groaned because I hoped he was “above that”. I put that in there for honesty, but I understand now how that will read to my brother, but also trust he can understand what I mean.
For me, I have held the belief that the cultural obsession with race is divisive, even if you believe we are different races. Which I don’t. It just doesn’t help, and takes the eyes off of the real problem of sin. And the real solution of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ). Plus, If you take away this form of hate, it will just transform into another. Or more likely go stealth.
I tried to make this known, but then Jordan shared with me a recent story from his life in “Not forgetting, just moving on” https://obsessedwiththeoppressed.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/not-forgetting-just-moving-on/.
The story portion is of unfair, angering, and tragic racial abuses. The largest of which being at the hands of law enforcement. That these things happened to someone I know is infuriating.
Yet, as I read, I had problems, some small, some big, with the lessons learned. Most of which came down to, yes, the perspective, the interpretations of events.
I know that questioning touches on one of things my brother wrote not to do. We should approach a story of abuse, especially from someone we know, from the default of credibility.
However, the perspective of the oppressed, is not the only valid perspective. I won’t go farther in that, but it must be said that just because someone perceives insult, does not mean they were insulted. For example, some black people take offense if a white man makes a “black” joke, it is assumed insulting even though if a many a black did it, it would be fine. No one hazards to guess that maybe the white is trying to bond like he’s seen blacks do.
So, while I read, counter arguments began to form. I thought of a dozen different openings and styles for this blog, to show how it was just as racist and unjust to accuse all whites, as it was to mistreat all blacks. Just as wrong to ignore that there is economic and judicial inequality, as it was to ignore the hundreds of thousands of whites who died to free the south?
But every time I thought I had a good flow, I felt the Spirit teaching me… this will only lead to argument. Is that what Jordan or a thousand blacks need to hear?
So I kept reading.
As I did, I felt I could really hear Jordan a little better. He admits that his campaign against racism, his making his voice heard isn’t a solution. That set some of my mind at ease, because that’s where I was, and I think where many of those not directly touched by racism live. What good does all this talk about racism do? The racists on both sides aren’t listening, and the reasonable just get tired of being shamed (to use the new lingo).
When I say stop the race talk it’s only making things worse, the black people hear “the racism doesn’t affect me, so you blacks need to suck it up, stop whining, and get your act together.” So they lump the whites together with the racists, and won’t listen to whites because they don’t trust them.
When he says there’s a racist system, enforced by racist cops, and if you don’t protest with us, then you’re an undercover racist, the whites hear “I don’t care that your blood was spilled to free blacks, don’t care that 99% of you never burned a cross or supported a lynching. If you’re white I see no difference. And all those cops and all that good effort that you’ve done isn’t good. You’re all evil bastards.”
Unable to communicate, because each side views the other as evil or barbaric, what can either side do to help? If either side says anything, the opposite runs it through a filter that says white equals oppressor, or black equals ungrateful rabble. Is there any possibility that actual harmony can occur with this?
No matter what the white cop does (just for an example; the cop is just the extreme version of any citizen), his actions will be seen as suspect. The black will treat him as such, always being guarded and defensive. Because the black looks like he’s hiding something, and viewing the black through his own experience (or inexperience) the white cop will deal with the black as if he is already guilty.
Thus, each sides distrust reinforces the others. Conclusion there is no natural means of actually promoting harmony.
What then, do we give up? Merely tolerate either the status quo or the rioting of protest?
May I humbly suggest, as I work this out myself, that the problem is we’re looking for a logical solution, to a problem that is emotional. What we need is a desperate and sacrificial one. We need a supernatural solution.
Am I saying just pray? No.
“The blacks” will never naturally trust me because I naturally refuse to be slandered as a racist. I’m not guilty and I won’t accept white guilt.
Especially because I’m only half white (whatever that means. Who decides who is really black or really white?). And the black will not naturally accept that full reparation is not even possible.
When Yeshua (Jesus) came and died for our sins, he was being punished for sins that were not his own. He was willing to be called guilty of every single crime, so that there could be peace between sinners and their holy creator. What about his disciples?
What did Paul mean, to be poured out as a drink offering?
Can it be that, not because every white is guilty or indebted, that the white who follows Yeshua accept a responsibility (as much as he can) for a sin that is not his own for the sake of the brothers and sisters?
Yeshua talks about taking on his yoke. A yoke binds one laborer to another. The strength of one, steadied the weakness of the other. Paul talks about bearing one another’s burdens. Is it possible, or is not probable, that we are called to carry the burden of racism to alleviate the burden from those racists that won’t repent? And also the victim who has no relief?
As Paul says, wouldn’t you rather be wronged than to make a scene out of disputing between brothers?
Go ahead and call me a racist. I will be the racist, if that will bring peace. And I repent of it. Forgive me, Jordan, Jonathan, any other black for the sins of racism. While I’m at it, if you’re native American forgive me for taking your land, too.
But, there is also a burden for the other one in the yoke. The black must forgive, because there are whites (most whites) that have desired to repent. And Yeshua says to forgive.
And since, I am part Mexican, which means I probably have native American, Mayan, Aztec, a little African probably too, along with my Spanish, I’ll forgive my whiter brothers.
Is this kumbaya nonesense? Like I said, it’s an answer that relies on God. No natural solution is possible between two fundamentally distrusting races. There simply has to be forgiveness on both sides. What would my blacker brothers say to Yeshua, a middle brown jew, whose entire country was strewn with Jews crucified by lighter skinned Romans, who then pronounced faith for a Roman centurion and healed his servant?
There has to be personal repentance on both sides.
Does it stop there? I can hear my darker brothers say forgiveness is not enough, there has to be change. There has to be real boots on the ground help for this burden.
That help may not come in the form of protest and signs, but yet help. But that’s not systematic. I in Adams County do not have the ability to fix Cincinnati or the state of Indiana. That’s why forgiveness is needed, because we can’t keep holding the entire problem against everyone. I am responsible for my circle. The area God had given to me. So my help, cannot be judged by what I’m not doing somewhere else.
If you need help enter my circle and I’ll do what I can. And that’s what we each need to do, where we are. We can’t keep waging war against whole groups of people because they don’t join the war in your way.
In summary. If you need to blame someone, I’ll be guilty. If you need help, I’ll give. If you need forgiveness, I’ll do that too. Hope to see you there.