Since the Grand Jury has made the decision to not indict Darren Wilson, life has been crazy it seems. I can’t think of any other way to put it. There have been articles that have criticized and affirmed the Grand Jury’s decision. There has been tons of attention on Social media because of this.
As one who enjoys blogging and writing on race, I had become surprised in recent years to see many people writing the Racial tensions in America off as being non-existent.
You’ve heard it.
“We live in a post-racial Society.”
“Now that there is an African-American president, all racism is gone.”
You’ve heard tons of these statements that lead to a conclusion that racism is dead. But the difficult thing for me is that I’ve seen a glimpse of the racism in some people’s hearts.
As a white male I know how some people will talk when no one of color is around. Many people look at a person who makes horrid racist statements and excuses it as, “That’s just the way he is.” And usually follow it with some type of smirk. It’s inexcusable. But also after you meet enough of these “That’s just they way he is” or “he’s just a product of his generation” guys, one thing you won’t put up with is when people try to write off racism as being a past problem of our society.
No, racism is not dead my friends. It’s alive and well and rooted in the hearts of our society. It’s planted deep within the fabrics of our culture and as much as it’s learned manners and how to be somewhat polite, it still finds the right moments when no one will expose it, to come out and to cause harm to people.
So many things have been written on Ferguson. So many people have written some great things I did and didn’t agree with. This will definitely be a staple in history that our kids will ask us about. They will ask us what our perceptions were of it. They will ask about the other shootings that lead to it. They might refer to the LA riots over the Rodney King beating or the aftermath from the Trayvon Martin trial. But regardless, this is a point in history that won’t go unforgotten.
Post-Post racial OR always been racial?
When people tell me that we live in a post racial society I think of the guy who referred to black people as animals. Or I think about the stares my wife and I receive when we eat out at certain places. Or I think about some friends who couldn’t get a hotel room at a hotel that had availability because… “we have no rooms ready for you.”
I could go on.
You probably could as well.
One thing that I am thankful for with all of the hell that has been brought because of the backlash from the Grand Jury’s verdict, at least now the state of our society has undoubtedly been exposed to many at the very least as being troubling.
What will the Church do now?
So with the obvious fact that race is still a prevalent issue, the question we need to ask is what will the church do?
What would be great would be for churches to start seeing the need to address Racial issues with their people. As well, it would be great to see theologically conservative Seminaries to start working through Racial issues more within the classroom curriculum as well as building bridges within African-American communities which has been done very poorly for many seminaries for a while.
Unfortunately, as hopeful as I am, I also know that Michael Brown and Ferguson will soon fade away from our minds. Our society will move past these issues and get back into the Post racial America conversation. When Obama leaves office, it will most likely be viewed as “Ya’ll had your opportunity, now we will get back to how things ‘should be’.” And the hurt that is within many of the hearts across America will continue to grow and consume many people.
I hope I’m wrong…
Unfortunately, I highly doubt that theologically conservative seminaries will make many curriculum changes to deal with these issues. I don’t see many churches beyond a few making strides to address racial issues. I mean, with as many churches that are too scared to present the Gospel in an honest light, there would be even less that would deal with racial issues.
Thankfully though, even in these moments where racism has shown its ugly face and has no intent on going away, I can think about the Cross. I can remember that my savior knows suffering. He has experienced my suffering worst then I have and can relate to me in my suffering. When there is an unjust death, he can remind me that he experienced the ultimate unjust death when he was punished worst then the two thieves on either side of him. He knows the pain and separation people feel during the death because he felt it with the father.
There are no easy words. There is no easy way to see reconciliation happening within the fortress of American racism. Nothing is guaranteed in my lifetime or in yours. But one thing I know is that in spite of the turmoil of situations like Ferguson and Michael Brown, we will one day arrive in a place where race will no longer be an identifier. For the Christian, we will stand on ground that is finally equal.
Looking forward to that day. Until then though, the fight for Justice continues…