I have decided to turn off the comments section. This is a very hot topic and I ain’t got time for all that. I am going to be talking about my personal experiences with hate that has led to a distrust of a lot of my White brothers and sisters, so if someone wants to act a fool then they are free to do so. It just won’t be on this post.
I want to clear something up first before going into this: racism, as it is defined, is not just hating someone because of their race or skin color. Racism is the SYSTEMATIC OPPRESSION of an entire group of people BECAUSE of their race. Therefore to call a Black person racist would be wrong because we as a people are the ones who were, have been and are oppressed to this day. What it can cause them to be however is prejudiced or discriminatory.
…which is why God has led me to share this very testimony.
I can’t place my finger on it. I’m not sure when exactly it was I began to have a wariness for a lot of my White friends or White people in general, but God reveal to me this morning I am prejudiced towards them. I wasn’t surprised when people I used to be okay with would sprout off something racist or choose not to respond when the deaths of unarmed Black men seemed to become an almost daily occurrence. To be honest I expected it because I had that expectation planted in me growing up.
I remember hearing in conversations, “You can’t trust them White folks. They’re dirty even to each other and will smile each other’s face all the while.” I didn’t like hearing things like that because it reminded me of all the countless times I heard stereotypes being thrown at me about my people, “Blacks are thieves,” “They’re all on welfare or some type of government assistance,” “They all have these children…and some of ’em don’t even know who the daddy is!” “They’re dirty and don’t bathe—that’s why their skin looks that way.”
(The list goes on and on…)
Someone has to break up the color line; someone has to break the barrier. That’s what I thought to myself as a kid. Despite hearing the nigger jokes, some even coming from someone I thought of as a friend, despite all of the ignorance I had to deal within the school system I went to…I constantly kept fighting to:
- Be the anti-stereotype. I had to prove them wrong.
- Find a way to bring the two groups together and move forward in peace. Even if it was just me and a few others alone…
But one day I subconsciously began to agree with what I heard all those years: White people are not to be trusted, “A lot of them are a bunch of undercover racists,” “The ones who don’t mean to be can’t help it. It’s just a part of their upbringing. They were bound to start clinging to that White privilege sooner or later,” “Don’t be surprised when something goes down and all your White ‘buddies’ are nowhere in sight. They’ll always choose their own when it comes down to it.”
Horrible things to think, I know…but those beliefs started to become cemented in my brain around this summer when Alton Sterling died on camera, then Philando Castro, and then another, and another, and another…
I watched the ones I called friend to see what they would say, if they would say anything at all. It amazed me that I kept hearing ALL LIVES MATTER echoed throughout my timelines, but when a Black life was slain no one grieved over that. When a White life died in a terrorist attack, avatars were changed. There was outrage and sympathy for the White officer who was killed in the line of duty, but the Black life that was shot down by a crooked cop got no response. I considered Blacks who chose to side with them (whether in commentary or in silence) as cowardly as the ones who weren’t speaking up.
“Are you serious? Are you really going to tell me you don’t see the injustice in this?!” “So you’re not going to say anything at all huh? Just going to sit there and pretend like nothing’s going on…?”
I used to be confused when I came across African Americans who were prejudiced, “How can you treat someone that way? With all the mess that we’ve been through and the way we’re still treated today…how can you treat others the same way?” But it all makes sense. Hurt people will continue to hurt people until Jesus comes in and heals them. A recent incident exposed the monster inside me when I was struck by some e-trolls for a comment I made about the treatment of African Americans in this country. One comment came from someone who was Black and I found myself done with it all…
…yet God kept bringing Psalm 35:15-18 to my remembrance:
“But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not: With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth. Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions. I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.”
(Ps. 35:15-18 KJV)
Currently the Lord has been having me study Psalm 35. For about four days now, I have been stuck on verses 15-18. Jesus will not allow me to move forward. I found myself getting annoyed, “God, I’ve already read this. I don’t want to study this again. Why can’t I just move on?”
“Because there’s still something you’re not getting. Because you didn’t listen the first time, or the second, or the third, fourth, fifth and countless other times. You’re NOT LISTENING…”
We all need to understand, including myself, that there is a difference between loving your neighbor and living peaceably with them, and just simply TOLERATING them. When you love people they may say things that anger or offend you, but you can still live peaceably with them. You begin to pray for them and their heart, that God will move on their behalf (like David did in Ps. 35.) You forgive them because the love of God in you moves you to do so.
But when you tolerate people, you don’t love them; you barely like them. You may smile and be cordial, maybe hang out, but the minute they cross the line it’s an all out war. Everything is cool as long as they stay on their side and you stay on yours…when you are tolerating them. Gatherings are okay, long as there isn’t any intermingling going on. God knows what on earth would happen if little Johnny and little Keisha became interested in each other, right?
And oh Lord…how astoundingly justifiable it would be to distance myself from my White brothers and sisters when something racial comes up because they proved that ideology right once again, “They don’t care about you. They all act like they just love you, but they don’t care at all.”
When you tolerate each other, all you see are differences and you have a total disgust for those differences. You don’t see a brother, sister—not even a person or human being.
I can remember the Lord asking me once, “Did you ever consider how much courage it takes for one person to stand up? Did you ever think about how scared they must be to say anything, let alone retweet or repost something at all?”
I called all of them cowards…but I’ve been living in cowardice myself by being reluctant to talk about issues like this.
But…I’m speaking up. I encourage you to speak up as well. No, it’s not easy, but it must be done in order to see some real change.
I hope you’ll pray with me that God will continue the change in me. Pray with me that I learn how to forgive and remember where He brought me from. Why God chose me to talk about things like this…I don’t know. All I know is that I can’t avoid it anymore. I have to step forward and do what He called me to do. I am going to write about Blackness, racism, prejudice, discrimination and all the things I once avoided. I’ve been quiet for far too long…
…and also, I’m going to do it because once God puts something on your heart it won’t go away. It will not shrivel up and die, it will not disappear. It will continue to remain there until you finally answer the call.
The same goes for your convictions…
I’m still in the process of letting go, but I can say I’m not angry anymore. Little by little, I’ve started this journey to deliverance; all I can do is take it one step at a time.
That’s all you can do…that and pray.