Over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor of the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.
-Martin Luther King Jr. “Letter From Birmingham City Jail” (1963)
I don’t know what it is like to be on the receiving end of the destruction of racism.
I don’t know what it is like to be despised for the color of my skin.
I don’t know what it is like to live in a country who’s economy was built on the blood of my ancestors who were seen as property instead of people.
I don’t know what it is like to hear that my 12-year-old son was shot on sight because he thought like a child and took his toy gun in public.
I don’t know what it is like to fear red and blue lights because there may carry a police officer who doesn’t value my life based on the color of my skin, and a nation will determine I deserved his brutality before knowing the facts.
I don’t know what it is like to be gunned down while I worship because a man thought my skin color warranted my murder.
I don’t know much about racism. But I do know, as John Piper says, “Jesus is the end of ethnocentrism”. I know that his church ought to be where reconciliation begins. I know that, as Jarvis Williams, says, “racist churches are unacceptable.” and “That so many churches are segregated because of racism absolutely disgraces the gospel and Jesus death.”
I don’t know much about racism, but I know when Jesus said, “it is finished”, he was talking about redeeming us out of all sins, including the sin of racism that has carved deep chasms in our nation, and I know that because we believe in this Jesus, the work of Dr. King is not yet finished.
I don’t know much about racism, but I know that it is imperative that we listen to those who do, it is important that we imagine what it must be like, and it is necessary that we fight against it. I know that it is worth engaging in hard conversations and working relentlessly for reconciliation, and I know that it is possible because the blood of Jesus unites us.
I don’t know much about racism, but I know it’s about time we stop responding with trite and unhelpfu phrases like “All lives matter“, and “just comply”, and instead bear the tension necessary to bring justice to our brothers and sisters who are groaning for it.
Below are some excellent articles on this topic, read them, they are worth your time:
The Final Civil Rights Battle: Ending Police Brutality
Justice Without Facts is No Justice at All
3 Reasons Why I stand with the Protestors
Tamir Rice and the Fears of Black Fathers for Their Sons
Letters to a Young Protestor, 7: On Racists
You Can Support the Police and Racial Justice
One New Man By Jarvis J. Williams
Bloodlines By John Piper