With two shootings in two days from white police officers against black men, there is an incredible amount of hurt, pain, confusion, and debate surrounding this issue. As a white man, I am, honestly, a little confused about how to respond to this issue to my black brothers and sisters. All I can say is that I care. And that I hear you. And that there are many like me who desire to stand with you.
But the main purpose of this article is to encourage and maybe give a little clarity to my white brothers and sisters concerning how to respond.
I have received dozens of emails and messages on social media from my white brothers and sisters concerning how my views are ignorant, misinformed, and how when people “like me” speak up like this, it creates even more racial tension.
Friends, racial tension is a reality. Racial inequality is a reality. Racial profiling is a reality. And white brothers and sisters, you and I (well, the majority of us) have never ever experienced that in our lives.
But that doesn’t mean we are not called to hurt when another part of the body is hurting (1 Corinthians 12), and bare the burdens of our brothers and sisters who are hurting (Galatians 6), or even seek to learn to do good, seek justice, correct oppression, bring justice to the fatherless, and plead the widows cause (Isaiah 1:17). We are to do all of those things, and in this case, correcting oppression and seeking justice is exactly what we are doing.
Here are a few points I want to make:
ONE: All people are image bearers.
This is Genesis 1-2 language. Every person in all of history is an image bearer of the Creator. Black, white, or brown, we are all the same. An being image-bearers puts us all on the same playing field.
TWO: Racial injustice and profiling are realities.
However, racial inequality is a real thing. I have been having conversations with my black brothers and sisters lately about what it’s like for them growing up a black man or woman in the south. These conversations, friends, are eye-opening. Here are just a few points, though, concerning the injustice and profiling realities:
- 1 out 3 black men are expected to be in jail during their lifetime.
- Black men are more likely to have their cars searched.
- Black men are more likely to be arrested for drugs.
- Black men are more likely to be jailed while awaiting trial.
- Black men are more likely to be offered a plea deal that includes prison time.
- Black Americans may be excluded from juries because of their race.
- Black men are more likely to serve longer prison sentences.
THREE: We need to seek to correct oppression.
I do not necessarily know how to respond fully at this point. I am still having conversations, and I am still challenging the status quo of most white Americans, but most importantly, I am still listening.
FOUR: We need to desire a more harmonious country.
I remember arguing with a black friend of mine in college about how racism doesn’t exist today like it did during the Jim Crow era. He was furious with me, and I quickly saw his emotions exit his body. And to this day, I still have not lived it. And if you’re white, then you probably haven’t either. However, racial tension is a reality for sure. The more I have educated myself, and tried to make myself more racially diverse in friendships, the more I have seen this reality. I have been getting countless messages defending the actions of the police officer, with little compassion toward a man who lost his life. I am speechless here. Friends, this much change.
FIVE: We need to crush anything that brings tension to our black brothers and sisters.
And I mean everything. Although I am a product of the south, I am obviously an opponent of the Confederate Battle Flag. Here are my words towards this matter a few weeks ago:
SIX: We need to have hard conversations with each other.
Maybe this is why I keep talking about this issue publicly. I am not trying to end friendships or make people mad. I am only attempting to provoke compassionate thoughts. White people need to have hard conversations together. Whether they are on social media or not.
SEVEN: We need to champion our police men and women.
Please here what I am saying. I am not against the police. I am against police brutality. I am against wrongful racial profiling. I am against racial injustice. I am against racial inequality. The point here is is yet another (and another… and another) black man was shot by white police officers. I’m not saying it was racially motivated, but his case is one of MANY over decades of police brutality against black men. I weep for black mamas fearing for their black sons who grow up being racially profiled, targetted, and demeaned because of the common view of black men being thugs, and send their babies out into a world where 1 out of 3 might end up in prison. God have mercy.
EIGHT: We need to seek to have racially diverse lives.
White brothers and sisters, we must seek to have racially diverse lives. We must put our children in environments where they have racially diverse friends. If you live in a white suburb, and your kids go to an all white school, and you go to an all white church, and hang out with all white friends, then it’s probably time for a little bit of change in your life.
NINE: We need to hurt when one part of the body hurts.
If you agree with nothing else, then agree with this. We must hurt when one part of the body hurts. No matter the history lesson you can give me on the Confederate Battle Flag, or your opinion on police protocol and procedure, or your careful dissecting of the details of these videos, we still must hurt alongside of black brothers and sisters.
TEN: We need to pray for this to stop.
And above all, friends, we need to pray for this sort of thing to end. Who cares who is at fault here. I don’t. Someone lost their life. Children lost their daddy. A wife lost her husband. Parents lost a son. Siblings lost a brother. Let us pray swiftly for justice, for peace, for reconciliation, and for King Jesus to come quickly. But until then, I stand beside my black brothers and sisters with my hands up, pleading, “Don’t shoot.”