The constant rehearsing of the trauma of racism has placed an indelible chasm in the soul of black folks. As we wrestle to understand and try to reconcile how other Christians can stand around as such heinous crimes were/are being done to black and brown folks. How can Christians care so little about the poor and alienated while condoning the evil rhetoric of a Donald Trump? Yes, I applaud Donald Trump for at least being honest about his politics but he is an evil man. How do Christians even justify that black and brown lives are not vehemently abused by society? If you call yourself a believer in Jesus and live out the tenants of the Christian faith, how do you reconcile with such evil?
Racism kills the very essence of love and confines perspectives; there is no growth or progression. You can’t say you’re not racist but sit idly by and not combat racism. You can’t say you’re not racist and think that it is ok to allow poor education and poor healthcare to ravage through black and brown communities.
Racism sucks the life out of organization. It demeans in order to tear down. There is no redeemable quality within racism. Racisms presents a subtle approach but it comes with obvious and intentional outcomes –keep black and brown people poverty. There is nothing accidental about racism. It is an intentional weapon used when the majority finds its status sleeping away.
The mere thought of racial reconciliation is laughable at best. What exactly would this reconciliation mean? Here the words of James Cone,
Reconciliation does not transcend color, thus making us all white. The problem of values is not that white people need to instill values in the ghetto; but white society itself needs values so that it will no longer need a ghetto. Black values did not create a ghetto; white values did. Therefore God’s Word of reconciliation makes us all black. Through this radical change, we become identified totally with the suffering of the black masses. It is this fact that makes all white churches anti-Christian churches in their essence. To be Christian is to be one of those whom God has chosen. God has chosen black people.
Now these words can be easily misconstrued if read through the eyes of racism. But Cone is very simply stating that God is on the side of the” least of these.” Black is not a color but a place where “your heart, your soul, your mind, and your body are where the dispossessed are.” To be Christian is to know what the underside looks like and to feel the pain of the margins. Reconciliation is not just a pathological response of forgiveness but it is a deep intrinsic reframing of one’s authentic God-self.
I love the words that introduce Dr. Yolanda Pierce’s website,
“I am not interested in most conversations about equality. To whom would you like to be equal, given a broken and morally bankrupt system? Do you want to be equal to the persons, forces, and systems which generate the very terms of your oppression? I am, however, interested in the weightier matters of law: justice and freedom. How can we act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly?”
These words echo the sentiments of a generation that’s been disproportionately jailed, harassed, overlooked and abused for the sheer nature of their skin. Honestly, the system is not broken, it is working exactly how it was programed to work. When corrupt people build a system, you can rest assured that the system is corrupt. America was established through corruption, theft and racism and those sins continue to wreak havoc on all people locked “in these yet to be united states.” Maybe KRS-One was right when he rapped,
“There can never be justice on stolen land.”
There is no simple strategy or words that can make things better overnight. But a collective sorry that is entrenched in justice is a good place to start.
“How can we act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly?- Pierce