This past week has been an emotional roller coaster in America. We’ve witnessed another unarmed, Black man killed in the hands of a police officer. 4 police officers murdered George Floyd in Minneapolis. I can’t bring myself to watch the video and I don’t plan on ever watching it. I’ve went through so many feelings from anger to sadness to feeling fearful. I’ve never prayed so hard for my husband until now and I PRAY HARD FOR MY HUSBAND! I was going to stick to a post on Instagram and Facebook but this is still heavy in my spirit so I’m sharing this with y’all. Here are my thoughts:
Another loss of a black man doesn’t surprise me. However, I’m exhausted. Black Americans were into this country since 1619 and yet we’re still being mistreated. This country was built on systemic racism with slavery, Jim Crow laws, and mass incarceration. Who knew our desire for equality was too much to ask. Not to negate the fact there has been some progress, however, we have a long way to go. Let me start with the progress we’re making because I try to focus on the positive.
I’m seeing progress as there are more people outside of the African American community who have spoken up and want change. I follow many bloggers and while there are some who don’t touch on the subject, I’ve seen several that have voiced the disgust. They’ve also taking their distaste for systemic racism to action, and doing whatever they can to educate themselves. I’ve also seen companies, pastors, and entertainers use their platform for good. I’m so grateful to God that He’s softening the hearts of non-POC and filling them with compassion and understanding. To all you, I thank you!! It takes humility to step outside of your world, to come into ours and witness the pain and struggle of being Black in America.
For those who empathize with our pain, there are people who don’t want to touch on the subject because it makes them uncomfortable or simply don’t want to understand. This becomes very frustrating as we try to explain to them in the simplest form yet we still feel unheard. Here are a few examples of our frustration:
- What about black-on-black crime? Yes, we aware black-on-black crime exists and something needs to be done. But intraracial violent crimes of the in non-POC population are at a greater rates. Even though the rate of black-on-black crime is higher (16.5 to 1,000 compared to 12.0 to 1,000), black Americans only make up 12.7 % of the US population while white America make up 74.4%. I’m not a math genius but it’s evident that white-on-white violent crime is prevalent at a much higher rate (National Crime Victim Survey, 2000). Also, black-on-black crime mainly rose in the late 1970s and early 80s due to gang violence, drug abuse, and poverty. Racism has been around long before black-on-black crime. But the news and TV shows tend to put more emphasis on the crimes done by black America.
- Lack of acknowledgment of white privilege – the meaning of white privilege goes completely over people’s heads as they always mention how “hard” they worked to make a living. Those who live in the rural and poorer community think this term doesn’t apply to them. There isn’t an official definition of white privilege but here is the best meaning: having greater access to power and resources than people of color [in the same situation] do (Diversity in the Classroom and Understanding White Privilege: Creating Pathways to Authentic Relationships Across Race by Francis Kendall). For example, white Americans do not experience being followed in a store, harsher sentencing, or being overlooked for a job because of their “unique” name or hair texture. Whether people want to admit this, white privilege exists and this should be recognized in order for change to come
- All Lives Matter – I have to calm down when I read this phrase on social media and keep scrolling. This phrase is used in response to “Black Lives Matter” once it became a movement. Some white Americans use these terms as if black lives are the only thing that matters in America. In contrary, black lives aren’t valued as the African American race that has suffered since being brought into this country and it still continues. Our ancestors were white Americans’ property for years. They then faced discrimination and prejudice. Let’s not forget war on drugs in the 1980s focused on the attack on black Americans. If it’s not one thing, it’s another! I agree that all lives matter but in reality all lives do not matter, until black lives matter.
- The defamation of the victims’ character – When news break about a death of an unarmed black person, information about their past surfaces like criminal history or past encounters with police officers. The news usually comes to light as defense attorneys try to dig into the victims’ past to discredit their pain and suffering. For example, in 2005, George Floyd was charged and sentenced for five years for armed robbery. Did George Floyd make a poor decision? Yes. But that does not justify the police officers’ actions to murder him. One thing that isn’t mentioned enough is his involvement in ministry to help stop gang violence in Houston. Floyd was an advocate for breaking the cycle of violence that he witnessed among young people. He lent a helping hand at church services, 3-on-3 basketball tournaments, barbecues, and community baptisms. As advocate of breaking the cycle especially among our youth, this brought such joy in my heart. That’s how I’m choosing to remember his legacy versus his past or the last 8 minutes of life recorded on camera.
The pandemic is a blessing as we stop and reflect on valuable things in life. This is definitely the case for the unfair treatment of African Americans. This has led to protesting, speaking out, and asking questions. I’m very huge on taking my frustrations into action but I ultimately know that racism is a heart issue. Matthew 13:15 says “For the heart of this people has become dull with their ears they scarcely hear and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return. And I would heal them.”
God understands the heart therefore, He is the only way to change the heart of racists and close-minded people. There is no limit to His power and we have to pray for those whose hearts are hardened. Throughout the Bible, God showed his ability to turn ruthless, evil people into a person that exhibited God’s love. Paul is an example and if God has the capability to change him, He can change anybody!
As I end my post, I want to encourage us black people to continue to love, support, and pray for each other. Thanks to the media, the representation of black America isn’t the best. If someone outside our race has questions or do not understand, that God gives us the words to speak with him or her. Once His seed is planted, God will do the rest. I also pray that we will have unity and peace in this country. That God’s love is shown through each and every person. And I pray that there is more understanding and empathy with less judgment. That people realize despite someone’s past or character, no one deserves to be put in harm. That we aren’t identified by our past. Once hearts are softened then change will come. Here are a few resources for those who are not educated and desire a call for action:
- 13th – A Documentary on Netflix
- Donate to The Loveland Foundation
- Get involved with the OneRace Movement
- Read So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- Get involved with The Innocence Project
Before this post ends, I wanted to share a clip from Blackish when Marla Gibbs’ character that touched me, here.
If you have any thoughts and encouragement that you want to share, please comment below. Love y’all and God bless!!