Volume 86:What has happened to us? A view of the state of our communities…

Posted on 07/27/2016


Two weeks ago, I penned a personal essay about my experiences as a Black youth growing up in a predominantly White community. For me to say I was overwhelmed by the response is an understatement. What I found to be most fascinating was the fact that the responses came from both Black and White readers, many of whom were unknown to me. One reader, Jerry J., reached out to me personally and asked if I would post his thoughts about the current state of race relations in our country. I agreed to post it before I even read it, because I knew it would add to the growing and increasingly important discourse surrounding race and ethnicity. His post is below.

I look forward to your responses…

What has happened to us?  A view of the state of our communities…

To my African American brothers and sisters, I am torn to pieces over the latest events in our society with regard to race, and it is with humility and respect that I write for the sake of our unity.  I am a person that grieves when injustices occur. 

I believe that God created us equal, but every one of us has differences to provide the challenge that, if overcome, would provide a great reward.  It’s easy to love someone like yourself, but what have you accomplished?

Much like a marriage, what is gained by being right?  Both sides in this debate have wrongs and rights.  Is it right to treat a Black man differently because of his skin color?  Is it right to kill a police officer?

I will never know what it is like to be an African American.  However, what breaks me up as a human being is anyone being taken advantage of.

At the roots of racism – both white and black – is fear.  I personally don’t know any White person who would take a chance like I’m taking right now, which is to open up the dialogue and attempt to be honest about the subject.  I am choosing not to be afraid of the subject.  I am humbled by the issue, and out of respect for you, my brothers and sisters, I choose to jump in.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
What is at stake is way more important than the arguments.  I know with my own wife the only way we get through our differences is to talk, and each side be heard.   It doesn’t mean that either side is right, but both sides have to be heard, because when people are genuinely listened to, trust is seeded.  Sometimes I can’t do anything about it. Other times, I can choose to change for the good of the whole family.  The “whole” is what is at stake brothers and sisters.  We must begin to see life through the vantage point of each other.  There are many things you would not begin to believe or understand about me.  One is that this issue, Black and White grievances means something to me, and the plight of anyone who feels disrespected, taken advantage of, or does not receive true justice bothers me to the core. This is true for me regardless of color.  I don’t believe this makes me good or unique in any way.  It make me human and true to my beliefs about Jesus Christ.

Brothers and sisters we cannot, at any cost, allow these issues to tear us apart.  We have way more in common than not, and I believe the majority of White and Black people all over the world  believe the same way.  The truth is slavery is over and has been for a long time.  I’m not trying to come across as insensitive here, but we have to always “act” like it is over.  Let the scourge that cursed our people – both Black and White – stay dead.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. – Galatians 5:1
Anyone who tries to tell us different, we will not listen to them.  The greatest thing we have in common is our Creator, God, and He has told us through Him we are holy; we are righteous; we are a part of the redeemed; we are made new, and we are free indeed.

Join me in this prayer for all people of every color, creed, religion and nationality.

God we believe that you are greater than any of our differences and holy is your name.  We can overcome anything in your name.

Give us what we need to be at peace with each other.  Soften our hearts that we are able to listen to one another and celebrate the differences you created in us.  Forgive us where we have wronged one another, and we forgive those who have mistreated us over and over again.

Don’t let us fall into traps of temptation that pull us into hatred for one another because we believe there is too much at stake to be mired in fear and hatred of one another.

Holy Father, deliver us from evil. Amen…

Beginning with this prayer we have to dialogue with one another under the auspices of our freedom. We believe that “all men are created equal” even though we have not acted like it over the years.

Dialogue means that whites (non-ethnic people) must listen to ethnic people/African Americans, and African Americans must listen to White people.  We need to hear each other. If you are speaking, you can’t listen.  We do what we can to care for one another, and we stay together — no matter what.

I am specifically talking about every day people — not what happens on the TV, or with our politicians.  What we see on the news and Internet is many times spun to separate us and inflame us.

The real dialogue takes place in our communities –on our sports teams, in our school systems, in our churches, mosques or synagogues, in our work.

My challenge to anyone is what else will work?  Shouting at each other doesn’t.  Killing each other doesn’t.  For my White friends, being silent doesn’t.   Reach out to a White person openly and with humility. Reach out to a African American person openly and with humility.  Reach out to a Muslim, Jew or Christian in the same manner and see what happens.

When we go in with our creators word, just like Dr. King did and stared down evil in his time,  and see what will happen.  I am not a preacher, pastor or anything of the sort.  I am not worthy of that calling, but I am your White brother–one voice in the wind trying to keep his family from being torn apart.  My beliefs are from my past experiences, but my heart is with each of you.

Forgive me if I have offended anyone.  I chose to be bold, but I am not trying to hurt anyone.  Now is the time to stand up for one another–to fight for one another that we don’t get torn apart.

The Apostle Peter’s eyes were opened through his vision that our forefathers gleaned from which he said like this in Acts 10:

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears Him and does what is right.”
The Civil Rights movement in the 50s and 60s was divine in nature.  Where have all the great men of character gone?   I think of Ivan Allen, the mayor of Atlanta, GA who stood with Dr. King against his power brokers of the time to make Atlanta strong for its people.  I think of President Lincoln and Kennedy, Republican and Democrat who saw injustice and proclaimed it wrong, to their own detriment.  White people of this generation have let you down.  I admit, and I own this act myself.  Out of fear of being received as politically incorrect, it has been easier to remain silent.  To borrow from Dr. King–“our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Is it right to not speak to a son or daughter for decades in the name of keeping peace in the family?  In my view, political correctness is the undoing of our society.  It is the great divider of our relationships, be it race or human relations.  Relationships are messy, and success requires getting dirty with one another–just like it means much more to my son when I’m covered with sand playing at the beach than it does for me to silently watch him play.

Because we have let you down, I beg for your forgiveness on behalf of myself first and the rest of the people regardless of color, who’ve remained silent for fear of being misunderstood.

You see many White people believe affirmative action was enough; what else do “they” want?  I have felt the same way, but I also admit to you that I am now trying to “see” with new eyes what it means to be African American, and I’m sorry we have let you down.  You are family, and whatever is important to you is important to us.  It is the Lord–the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit that gives us new eyes to see and ears to hear.  Help us all to see what it is like to be the only Black person in the room full of White people or the only White person in a room full of African Americans.  From this person who was born White, don’t let my skin color turn you away.  I am your brother.  We are family!

Don’t let this thread end.  Don’t speak to me.  Speak to your neighbors, your friends, your colleagues of a different ethnicity.  Give them a chance to be heard. Give them a chance to fail, but never give up.  With every new cause that comes up, be it Black Lives Matter or political correctness, ask yourself if it creates division or brings us together?  The curse of Slavery is over for all of us.  Men like Abraham Lincoln and Dr. King and our Lord, Jesus Christ died to ensure its end.  “It is finished”, and we are free indeed!


“Peep my ver-na-cular cuz I don’t know how to act…”