Police officers kneeled on George Floyd until he died.
In the United States of America.
The land of the free and the home of the brave.
I experienced the anguish and helplessness of watching a man be murdered with no way to help. If a thug attacked a man and held him down, I would call the police.
But when the thug is a policeman, who do you call?
I wanted to jump on the officer and drag him off George Floyd, stop him from killing a man who was not resisting—at least not anymore.
But I knew that, had anyone actually done that, the situation would have only gone from bad to worse.
After watching the video, I suddenly understood the riots in Minneapolis.
Let me be clear: I condemn the violence, looting, and arson that have happened. They are not appropriate responses to what happened and only make things worse.
But when you feel there is no recourse for justice, in yet another injustice that piles upon injustice, what do you do?
Racial prejudice is definitely a thing. I know from first-hand experience. Because I’ve felt it in my own heart.
In fact, to this day, I still find it rearing its ugly head sometimes.
We have no way of knowing, at this point, whether or not Floyd’s killing was racially motivated. I refuse assume that every white-on-black killing is racially motivated.
But to act as though racial tensions and biases don’t exist is totally absurd.
When my parents were born, American schools had only recently integrated. My parents are only in their fifties.
And when the government ordered the integration of schools and black students began attending formerly all-white schools, mobs came out to protest.
Am I supposed to believe that, somehow, all that racism went away during the last 60 years? All by itself?
Is it logical to believe that those parents did not train their children to think in racist ways? At the very least, what’s the likelihood that they gave their kids toxic racial prejudices?
As I wrote last week, privilege is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s totally okay to be a white dude.
But if you see a black dude being mistreated, you better help him.
And woe to those who use their privilege to mistreat others!
Where do we start?
Most of us are not called to a specific ministry of racial unification. God gives each of us a unique calling, and it’s impossible for one person to right all the injustices in the world.
And, in fact, I don’t believe that we will ever rid the world of racism.
However, there is one place that I can most certainly work to eliminate racism. And that’s my own heart.
If each of us will start with ourselves, we can slowly make a difference.
I also believe that we struggle with racism in America because the church not only failed to address it years ago, but actually perpetuated it.
I have been in church buildings where black people were, years ago, relegated to sitting in the balcony, away from the white people. In one church, they couldn’t take communion with white people.
Oh, and that wasn’t in the deep south. That was right here in my home state of Maryland.
So now is our chance. Let’s cleanse racism from our own hearts, then address it within the church. Because if we can cleanse the church, we can offer healing to the world.
Several years ago, I saw a little girl, the daughter of an interracial couple. The thought went through my head: “She would be cuter if she was all white.”
Immediately, I was ashamed of my thoughts, and asked God to change my thinking.
Some time later, I saw her again, and all I saw was a very cute little girl. Suddenly, I remembered my previous thoughts, and realized that God had indeed changed my thinking. My racial prejudice toward her was gone.
I firmly believe that God holds the keys to breaking down prejudices. Because God is love.
And in the words of Martin Luther King: “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”
So let us, as one of my readers reminded me, pray for God’s kingdom to come, and His will to be done. Let us pray for justice, and seek to bring justice in our own spheres of influence.
Starting with me.