Racism: Persistence in the Face of Apathy
Okay, so I just watched Selma for the first time. (Yes, I know, I’m late. Please don’t chide me. Better late than never.) And this on the heels of recently watching the Book of Negroes Series, and Underground Series (the latter produced by Grammy award-winning singer and genius, John Legend), and it has me thinking. Now truth be told - and I know just about every person of colour in a nation where their people has been historically, traditionally, and systematically oppressed knows the feeling I’m about to express - I briefly had one of those feelings which said, “I should probably not be around white people for the next week or so.” I texted a friend about this, told him what I’d been watching, and he wholeheartedly agreed!
TMI...with a Purpose
Now I say this tongue-in-cheek. Firstly, because I live with two white roommates, one of which has been my best and dearest friend for several years, and I love them both. Neither do either of them have an ignorant, prejudiced, or racist bone in their body.
Second, I don’t actually desire to harm people. Okay, maybe some of the racist white folks in the films, because at least in terms of filmography, they’re not real. Therefore, I’m not actually hurting anyone. You know, the ones who were hunting down blacks for fun, the slave catchers, the slave owners, the slave auctioneers, the slave owners’ even more racist wives, the slave-owning rapists, the slave traders...you get the idea. But again, they’re not real (at least in the filmography sense), and “be angry, but sin not,” “don’t let the sun go down on your wrath,” and all that good stuff.
Third, none of the hateful, ignorant, prejudiced, racist, murderous acts I viewed were done by people who are (mostly, to my knowledge) 1) currently living, nor 2) people who did anything directly to me.
Fourth and most importantly, because I’m a believer. A Christian. A little-Christ. His little sister. Seated in Him, in heavenly places, at the right hand of the Father. Made in His image and His likeness. And if He Who was hated for being not only God, but for being a Jew and for being an alleged political agitator to those who were undiscerning; He Who was tempted in all points as I have been, am being, and will be could not lash out and take His holy vengeance on them - even though the Bible says vengeance belongs to God and He Himself was fully God whilst being fully man - then I don’t think He’d give me a pass for senseless violence, not carried out under the duress of war, or self-defense, or the defense of an innocent.
By now, I’m sure most of my white readers are mortified. Please, calm down, and read on. I don’t hate anyone - anyone but the devil. I don’t want to inflict harm on anyone - anyone but the devil. At the end of the day, I do not want to harm anyone, not even threaten them. And truth be told, violence would not properly represent nor aid the cause of those who are yet being discriminated against in the United States of America in 2016. In fact, it would seemingly prove right all those with ignorant, prejudiced, racist sentiments against blacks. In fact, it would - in many eyes - justify the injustices already and perpetually carried out against the black and brown peoples of America.
Violence is not the answer. Violence is never the answer. And at the end of the day, Satan (in the form of a spirit of rage or wrath) cannot cast out Satan (in the form of the spirit of racism). Not at all. The spirits would merely shake hands and congratulate themselves on a job well done and another lie sewn into the human race perpetuated.
But I’ll tell you the other, more pervading thought that came to my mind while watching Selma: The woman in Jesus’ parable who sought justice by banging down the door of the judge.
The Persistent Widow
Here was Jesus’ parable:
Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” (Luke 18:1-5)
Now we know the obvious parallel here is with prayer. The fervent, effectual prayer of the righteous man - or in this case, woman - does indeed avail much (James 5:16). And yet, I believe there is another applicable parallel to be drawn here - persistence in righteous causes. After all, it is righteousness that exalts a nation, therefore, it would behoove us to seek, institute, and implement it (Prov. 14:34).
The Power of Persistence
When we examine history, we see that anyone who accomplished anything worth doing - and even those who accomplished things not worth doing - had one thing in common: persistence. Some names - good and bad - come to mind when I think of this. The prophet Jeremiah, the apostle Paul, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, and William Wilberforce. Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, and Stalin. From Jesus to Jezebel, leaders in the natural and spirit world have and do persist in the furtherance of their goals. We could say that persistence is a spiritual concept, and therefore, neutral. It depends on what it is used for and how. Clearly the man who won his wife through persistence is to be praised over the stalker who continually transgresses upon his restraining orders incited a frightened, uninterested woman.
If persistence is important to the enemy to accomplishing his hellish goals, then how much more important a role should it play in the life of the believer, not only in prayer, but in the pursuance and manifestation of righteous causes?
Opposition to Persistence...on This Topic
There are many, even in the Church, who turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the cries of the harmed and even dead innocents. There are those who call themselves Christians who busy themselves trying to justify the injustices against innocent black and brown-skinned people, rather than seeking to end injustice altogether. And there are those who would dare - and frequently - to come against those trying to raise their voices and their pens in favour of the righteous cause of ethnic equality, accusing us of the being the warmongers instead of the warmongers themselves. You can see it in misplaced rebukes such as this one found in a comment under one of my recent Facebook posts.
You said a lot of silly things in your quest to encourage a thought habit that Christ abhors. He abhors a lot of your attitudes, too. The determination to make a war out of something that is not a war is unChristlike, too. Keep it simple. Love your neighbor. Let go of all those agendas.
When someone asks my race, I answer “human.” That is the only race any of us ought to acknowledge.
And here are the words of another professing Christian, inboxed to me on Facebook at the beginning of this year.
Look at all the crimes of blacks...way too much coverage!
Black people are being so deceived, and your articles encourage this. How many people are you keeping out of the Kingdom because you are so focused on Black and White? Why do black people waste time on the past? If color is not an issue with God...why do blacks dwell on it so much!
I feel for all the black children that are being raised up hearing COLOR instead of teaching...LOVE. Instead of teaching look how blessed we are! You dwell on the past and your anger.
Sorry, I feel all of you are playing right into Obama/the world’s scheme...which is division instead of working together.
I hear all this equality. There doesn't appear to be a problem with majority money and fame going to blacks in pro sports? Are the white people screaming about it? Do you realize how much all of you are setting whites against blacks simply because most all of you are so ungrateful for your Blessings and where God has brought you? (For context, please listen to this Round Table.)
(Just in case you’re wondering, no I will not “dox” these individuals like the newspapers did to blacks who tried to register to vote during the Civil Rights Era so hateful whites could harm them, nor like the Dallas police force did to the NON-guilty, PEACEFUL protester, Corey Hughes they publicly accused of sniping cops who has since received THOUSANDS of death threats. Why? Because people be crazy yo, and inciting violence is not the Spirit of God.)
Many others have made comments as well and 95% of them, like the two above, are from older white women (60ish) professing to be Christians. It’s no wonder that with mentalities such as these, we in the black and brown communities find ourselves feeling as if it is still the 60s and 70s during the Civil Rights Movement instead of 2016 with a black President in office. How can we expect progress when those who are vocal are deceived, and the vast majority of remaining white Christians are silent?
And yet, we must persist.
Dear White Folks, SPEAK UP!
One key that stood out to me while watching Selma which is one I’ve been somewhat vocal about is that whites must join this cause. They must speak up and they must act. They must put their own reputations and if need be, their very lives, on the line to stand with their brothers and sisters who just so happen to have a little more melanin in their skin than they do.
The harsh reality I considered which the film depicted was that racist cops would not dare to harm the good and decent white folks marching with the black peaceful protestors, not when the media was there to film it and print pictures in the newspapers that would travel across the nation and around the globe.
Sure, a portion of them would have been more than happy to terrorize the “white niggers” marching with the black “niggers” when no one was looking. And they did terrorize a minister who traveled all the way from Boston and a white lady working with Dr. King’s group shortly after his speech in Selma culminating their victory. Both of them were killed brutally for being on the “wrong side” of racism. But most of the racist white folks wouldn’t dare, even if they did think or even grumble about it amongst themselves. Let’s not forget World War II and the countless forced exoduses of Jews from Britannia to Russia over the centuries.
And again, while many of my white readers may be in flat denial about this (I can already see the “rebuking” comments and emails I’ll get after this post goes live), I can assure you that it is true. It’s one thing to kill a black man in the street. He doesn’t have a real job, he’s only selling CDs or cigarettes.
He’s got a record. (Probably. I mean, he’s black right?).
He hasn’t bothered to marry that woman; she’s only his baby mama. My bad, his fiancée.
He’s wearing a hoodie or at least not a button down shirt and khakis (even though I’m sure Emmett Till was dressed most presentably).
Someone said he had a gun!! Did it really matter if he was just trying to defend himself from potential thieves or was a child simply playing with a TOY GUN in the park by himself? Killing a white man or woman would be VERY different than killing a black one. Imagine if Alton Sterling, Philando Wade, or Eric Garner had been white men!
I’m not saying it hasn’t happened, but I personally can’t ever recall a young white man being arrested for some actual crime having his character so thoroughly discredited before the true details of his situation were revealed and most sadly, I don’t recall any white person ever speaking out to highlight the obvious double-standard present in the media and legal “justice” system. Who’s highlighting the double-standard of showing the black kid’s mug shot and the white kid’s senior picture?
Who’s highlighting the double-standard of the educational and legal systems stating white kids suffer from mental illness (and to be fair, some of them REALLY do! I mean anyone who shoots up a church...c’mon...), youth, and “affluenza,” while the black kids are just inherently violent, monsters, and in fact, not kids at all! Let’s charge ‘em as adults while we let the white kids attend college with a slap on the wrist.
Who’s highlighting the double-standard between shooting to maim/incapacitate white men whilst shooting to kill black men?
Who’s highlighting the double-standard of feeding white kids into the college system and black kids into the prison system (unless, of course, they can entertain us by playing college and pro-ball in which case, we’ll minimize their actual education and prostitute them for their athletic skills)?
Who in the white community is addressing these issues? And if someone is in fact doing it, are they doing it consistently or only when it is politically expedient or socially convenient?
Conservatives, you won’t be any less conservative if you understand that black lives do indeed matter. White brothers and sisters, you won’t be self-loathing if you understand that there has been a systematic devaluing of any life that is not white in this nation for hundreds of years, and that you can’t just break a generational and traditional mindset in a moment - on either ethnic side - and then just tell people to “get over it!”
I have no doubt that if the tables were turned and white Americans were under attack from militant black groups, Latino groups, Native American groups, Asian groups, etc., that we - black Christians - would come to your aid - not because you’re special, and not even because you’re a Christian (although you might not be!), but merely because you’re a human being in need of assistance.
How do I know this? Because black men by the droves laid aside the racial injustices at home and suffered great humiliation when they VOLUNTEERED to fight this nation’s enemies in World Wars I and II. They were disrespected, demoralized, and segregated, yet they fought and fought valiantly. And black women did the best they were allowed to do to help nurse our brave boys back to health, irrespective of colour. And even though they knew that once they got home they would still not be considered a full, true citizen of this great, yet broken nation, they still serve valiantly.
They did all this, only to come home to more racism so much so that the very planes used to gun down and bomb Germans in The Great War were turned, unwarranted, on the black inhabitants of North Tulsa, OK. (And I met one of the Greenwood Race Riot survivors so I know it’s true.) So now, we would ask the same from the living generations of white Americans: serve with us. Fight with us. Speak up with and for us!
And yet, even if you don’t, we must persist.
The Deception of Waiting
Why must we persist? Because the widow did not win her case by waiting. Waiting almost always seems to be the answer from the white men and women in positions of power. Wait, the economy of Britain or America will crumble if we abolish the entire slave trade in a moment!
Wait to integrate schools, restaurants, restrooms, and buses. They need time to adjust to the new laws. After all, you can’t legislate morality, so it’s best to just wait it out.
Wait, you’ll get to vote...eventually. You know, when the time is right.
Wait. Wait, wait, wait, wait! You know really, we’re doing you people a tremendous favour.
But those who waited never got what they came for and never changed history. Only those who were violent in their persistence - although not in their literal methods - ever turned the world upside down.
Wait. What would have happened to the widow in Jesus’ parable had she waited? Nothing. The answer is nothing because nothing ever happens for those who accept the “wait” from the passive, fearful, or apathetic bystanders. “Wait” accomplishes nothing.
Ah, but persistence!! That blessed virtue.
More Opposition to Persistence...
But people don’t like those who are persistent. Yes, history may remember you kindly, but the people with whom you are persistent will often loathe you for it. Don’t believe me? Ask JFK, RFK, and MLK. The Kennedy brothers stopped saying “wait!” and MLK never did, and they were shot to death. EVERY ONE OF THEM. And while those opposed to persistence may not always be this demonstration, they will still will hold you personally responsible and label you as a troublemaker and an agitator.
The judge in Jesus’ parable stated, “Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.” This is precisely who we are dealing with: leaders from the community level to the capital level who “do not fear God nor regard man,” or say they do, but their actions do not line up with their professions. We are dealing with people who simply do not care, either because they have ignorant, prejudiced, or racist sympathies themselves, or because they are more concerned with their personal political agendas than with the inalienable rights of the common man. Either way, we’re dealing with a wicked system backed by a demonic principality.
Even the Apostle Peter had to have Jewish his privilege checked by the Apostle Paul who called out Pete’s racist duplicity publicly.
Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. (Galatians 2:11-13)
And this was an issue that God had already dealt with Peter privately about before in Acts 10. Peter, my favourite Apostle in the ENTIRE Bible, was racist. And even after he received divine revelation from Heaven in the form of an open vision or trance, he still CHOSE to play the racist when it was socially expedient for him, even inducing other professing believers to do so by his own foolish example. Indeed, there is nothing new under the sun.
Old Spirit, New Mask
Racism in America, for the most part, is an old spirit with a new mask. It’s very subtle that most don’t even know they’re wearing the mask. It doesn’t usually burn crosses, lynch blacks, bomb homes, or wear a hood or a swastika these days...usually. Oh no. That devil is more intelligent than we ever truly give him credit for being. No, no. He wears a well-tailored suit, sits in positions of governmental influence, and says, “Wait.”
He wears the sainted blue uniform of this nation’s public servants, fires a gun with legal backing and white majority approval, and receives a suspension with or without pay, usually followed by a reinstatement of office and a slap on the back from his brothers in arms.
It wears the St. John or the St. John’s Bay of the white suburban housewife who gives herself bonus points for magnanimously overlooking her creamy-complected daughter’s husband’s black skin and dreads, and tells herself that his Christianity will fix his all-too-obvious ethnic shortcomings...and then writes articles for Patheos.com encouraging other white parents to do the same when their precious white daughters bring home a black man. (And then deletes the article because they were misunderstood and thus, and got their feelings hurt.)
It wears the collar of clergymen who called for prayers of unity in the Body of Christ and nation - only after the cops in Dallas were shot. Not when the two black men were fatally shot by cops which promoted the peacfe-intentioned rally to begin with.
It even wears the varied clothes of the well-meaning blacks who assume that whenever someone black or brown finds themself on the wrong side of a cop, it’s because they did something to warrant the injustice, although the amount of violence used against the potential criminal was, of course, too great to fully justify. (You know, the good slave mentality: to avoid being whipped or lynched, just behave yourself, know your place, don’t try to run away, do as “massa” says, and you might possibly, almost, halfway, hopefully be alright. For now. That is assuming, of course, the overseer doesn’t have it out for you already.)
We have greatly deceived ourselves in this nation, the Church first and foremost, and it’s time to re-educate ourselves.
And it is because of this deception that we must persist.
We must persist despite violence, despite accusations, despite the loss of reputation, despite threats, despite well-intentioned yet misplaced rebukes, despite the lack of comfort and convenience...despite it all, we must persist.
Re-Education, Clarification & Culmination
And to those of you who say it’s not convenient or expedient for you to stand up and speak out, I say isn’t that when the truth is most important? Standing up for truth only when it’s socially acceptable never built anyone's character.
And to those of you who say you are not leaders, you are not influential, I say you are to someone, if only to your child, your niece(s) or nephew(s), or the silent observer unbeknownst to you.
To those of you who say what my now former Facebook “friend” said: “[Human] is the only race any of us ought to acknowledge,” I say that is precisely my point. Now could you please go and teach others that same concept and everything that goes along with it so we can abolish these hateful, ignorant, prejudiced, and racist attitudes? Don’t kill the messenger, kill the root of the deception the messenger is trying to counteract.
And finally, to those of you precious people, black and white and every colour God made in between, who are fighting the good fight of faith against racism, I say first and foremost, THANK YOU. Second, “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not, (Gal. 6:9).” Third, do not let anger fester in your heart, nor deception in your mind. Reverse racism is a myth, and vigilante justice is never the answer, not to mention it is a sin. And fourth, may your actions be consistent with your words. Faith without works is always dead.
I know there are many white brothers and sisters who are utterly uncomfortable when I address the topic of race, some who are downright angry about it, and some who dare to think “[Christ] abhors a lot of [my] attitudes” or who accusingly query, “How many people are you keeping out of the Kingdom because you are so focused on Black and White?” Let me say this:
First, respectfully, I am not here for your comfort. I was not placed on God’s green earth to make you comfortable. Neither did Jesus come to make you comfortable. And while if you were visiting my home, I would want you to sit comfortably on my sofa, well-refreshed and well-fed to the best of my abilities, we are not talking about that type of comfort. We are talking about human lives and the quality thereof. And if we cannot have a level-headed, mature conversation on this subject without you turning red, jumping on the defensive, or lashing out with hateful comments or accusations, I would say that you have an emotional and mental immaturity at best or a demonic spirit of racism at worst. If the first, re-education and perhaps counseling can fix this. If the second, I have some extra virgin olive oil and a Prayer of Deliverance that can settle that devil, yet you must be open to either in order to change because I assure you, I will not.
Second, if authentic, mature conversation regarding everyday, realistic racial issues in our nation sets you off, please see my former comments on casting out that devil of racism who is currently demonizing you.
Third, for those of you who espouse the idea that I am somehow doing damage to the Kingdom of God and the furtherance of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God by mentioning these issues, I would say you are wrong. My conversation is perfectly within the bounds of issues I regularly confront head-on. When you read the tagline of my website it states:
Embracing the truth of the Word, providing tools for effective spiritual warfare, challenging spiritually toxic mindsets.
I would be utterly remiss if I spent time addressing the strongholds of Jezebel, abortion, and the LGBQT agenda in this nation without also addressing the strongholds of spiritual and systematic racism. I would also be incomplete in my efforts if I spent time laying bear the deceptions of witchcraft, Islam, Mormonism, and other spiritually poisonous ideas without addressing the toxic topics of ignorance, prejudice, and racism.
And if you’re not convinced that racism is a topic that God cares about, then please turn to the Books of Exodus, Joshua, and Esther. Really, the whole Bible. Read how God warred everlastingly with Amalek even unto his descendant Haman, the Agagite, because of their racist, murderous tendencies. Read how the Samaritans were treated by their half-brothers, the Jews. Read how the Jews were treated by their Roman oppressors, and honestly, probably by all of their oppressors. Read how the Jews were enslaved and their male infants massacred by a Pharaoh who did not know Joseph and feared the Children of Jacob. God cares about the topic of racism and thinks very harshly of it because through the pen of John He said,
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. (I John 4:20-21)
All men were made in the image and likeness of God, not just the sons of Japheth.
And mind you, this verse comes in the context of John teaching on love, immediately after exposing the spirit of error. Racism is a spirit of error, of murder, and of hatred. It must be dealt with because this is one of the few that has made its home in the Church for age after age, and if we do not deal with it and cast it out, and join together in true unity, how can we expect Christ to return for His Bride? He is not coming back for a spotted, bipolar, violent, nor ignorant Bride. He’s coming back for a beautiful, unified Bride. We must do our part to beautify her and hasten His coming. I for one refuse to stand before God and say that I did nothing for the cause of unity in the Body and amongst the human race in general. That is a weight I simply cannot bear. Can you?