Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I Must Say This

It pains me when I see people hurting.  Violence is secondary.  Anger is a secondary emotion, covering pain and hurt.  As a white woman, I have not experienced racial violence or racism.  Not really.  I have experienced sexual violence, and all of it's terrible complications, but not racism.  I must say, if I were a African American woman or a mother of a African American or mixed race child, I would be terrified.  I would be hurt.  Who are we, as white people, to condemn an entire race for how they feel?  I don't agree with the violence, but I can see where that anger is coming from.  How could I know what these men and women have experienced?  Could it be possible that race is more of a factor than we white people really think?

Racism is not dead.  It's stealthier and quieter, and as a white woman, I don't see it.  But just because I don't see it doesn't mean that it never happens.  As with the people in Baltimore, there are a great many people doing the right thing.  Ten thousand who peacefully protest, and one hundred violent people ruin it for everyone.  They taint the peaceful people's cause.  I believe the same about police, that most of them are trying to protect and serve the public.  But I'm sure there are some others who make terrible mistakes in making snap judgments about black men, and that can cost a black man his life.

I would be terrified if I was the mother of a black son.  I would fear that he would act immature for a moment or lose his cool, and then lose his life.  I would be afraid that if he moved too fast, he would be gunned down.  Or if he was rough and mischievous like my own son, a policeman would take it wrong and blast him away.  I am a mother to a strong-willed child.  I am a sister of a brother and a daughter of a father.  What if mistakes made by a teenage or young adult African American man cost him his life, but if you are white it doesn't?  What if that is true?  What if we are condemning people of color who systematically are predisposed to poverty and violence?  What if it's not so easy to jump over those hurdles like we think?  It's very easy to criticize the poor and deprived from our nice big homes.  And how about the black people I know and see who are successful, educated, kind, and helpful?   They hurt too, because they know that a white officer might perceive their children and husbands as a threat when they are good, law abiding citizens themselves.  I see people who are white Christians judging the rioters.  Of course, violence isn't the answer, but if someone had killed my son, my husband, or my best friend, would I be angry?  If his crime didn't deserve death, which many of these stories hint that they didn't, then yes.  Maybe I would be there too.  Violence isn't the answer, but I see white Christians trying to invalidate the pain and suffering of a race of people who have plenty of reasons to be angry and hurt.  I am a mother to a son.  I cry for the  mother of Freddie Gray.  I don't know the circumstances, but as a child of God, I know I should be mourning for him too.  He is a human being.  Maybe a child of God, himself.  Let us not negate the suffering of millions by condemning what 100 out of 10,000 did.  Let's look at them as human beings and love them, support them, and understand that the numbers of black men being arrested and killed by police doesn't add up.  Sure, sometimes I know the police were acting within their duties.  But what about the times when they weren't?  Did Freddie deserve to die?  Tamir?  All the countless others?  Probably not.

This does not need to be us vs. them.  We need to love them just like Jesus does.  That's it.