Fruitvale Station: Grace in a Racist System

I watched Fruitvale Station after many months of trying to avoid the truth. This movie moved me to deal with issue of mistrust with the justice system. I mistrust the justice system but have to figure out a way to teach my children (especially my boys) how to conduct themselves in order to be safe even from the police. As a black father, I understand that there are two sets of rules for black boys and white boys. My son can’t hang out with his friends like white boys. My son can’t walk with a crowd of his black friends like white teens have the ability too. If a white person shoots my son it was out of fear for their life but if I shoot a white male then I was intentionally trying to kill him. Truth be told if I shoot a black male I will be placed in jail without any sort of hung jury.

To place this in the context of reconciliation moves me to a familiar place that ends with black folks having to give more to connect with a people group that continues to dehumanize the black community through acts of murder. The deliberate misuse of the anger toward the black body lives of the edges of toleration that the black community has always extended massive levels of grace. We have lost numerous black males to gun violence by black males and if the shooter is found justice is served. In the black community, we have dealt with this for as long as we can remember.

Race continues to be the pretense…

How does reconciliation come to bear in the face of an unjust system? My theology causes me to redress my anger into forgiveness but yet not to forget the atrocities. We have a system that highlights the black on black crime narrative for justice but finds a myriad of ways to excuse others from the murder of black males. The devalued ethos of black males bodies continues to plague a country that has never been fully convinced of the importance of black males people. As I think about the last scene in Fruitvale Station, the night of the Trayvon Martin verdict and now Jordan Davis verdict, I am stuck in a paradoxical dilemma. We love our black boys and we would suggest to you that they have so much to add to our world.

They are losing faith in the system… and quite frankly so am I.

RIP Jordan Davis

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