I don’t watch, read, or listen to the news regularly, because I feel it paints an excessively negative picture of the world. At the same time, all of the terrible things that happen in the world every day are still happening, and sometimes I can’t ignore them. As much as I’d like to pretend that the world is a good place, it’s frequently not. Yes, there is beauty and love and decency in the world; there is also hatred, tragedy, and terror. I choose to focus on the good as much as possible, but today I have to speak out about the issues of racism that are leading to brutal murders across our nation.
Racism is a huge problem in our country. I have not understood this in the past because I’d like to believe we’re better than that, and as a White person I’ve not experienced the reality of racism firsthand. I’ve tried to explain away stories I’ve heard, or brush them off as rare instances. But the reality is that racism, and particularly institutional racism, is very much alive.
My heart is broken at the horrific stories of Black people being murdered by police officers for no reason other than being Black. I thought I would offer a sort of tribute to all of the recent Black victims of police brutality by listing their names here, but I was shocked to find that the list was too long; I’m talking hundreds within the past two years alone. Not all of these hundreds of victims were purely innocent in the incidents that led to their deaths–many of them were breaking laws or making poor decisions–but they were all unarmed, and treated with excessive force which led to their deaths. I can’t help but think that race was a primary factor in these officers’ decision to use excessive force. A list of these victims can be found here: http://mappingpoliceviolence.org/unarmed/.
The victims of the past week, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, did nothing to warrant the brutal murders carried out by the police. These victims leave behind families and friends, and potential futures that they never got to live out. My heart is equally broken over the tragedy of the police killings in Dallas. These brave men dedicated their lives to serving and protecting, and they too leave behind loved ones and lives that mattered. All of these events are disgusting to me, and the fact that it’s all over race, an innate part of a person’s DNA and culture, is unthinkable to me. How can we humans do this to each other? I don’t understand. It needs to stop.
I support police officers. I respect their bravery and appreciate what they do. I believe that there are many countless officers who uphold justice and rise above racism. I would not want to live in a society without police officers there to uphold the law and protect civilians from those who would harm them.
I also support the Black Lives Matter movement. This movement is important because yes, of course all lives matter, but black lives are the ones being systematically deprived of human rights and dignity. Angrily criticizing this movement in favor of the idea that “all lives matter” is ignorant to the fact that not all lives are treated as equal in our country. Yes, all lives matter. But they are not all treated that way. And that is simply wrong and unacceptable for us as human beings, and especially for those of us who follow Christ. We need to do better, people.
Ending on a positive note, I believe that we can do better. I know there are people everywhere who embrace other people of different races without a second thought, and I have hope that one day, this will be the norm. One day, all Black people could feel safe in our country and equally protected under the law. One day, all White people could shed ignorance, entitlement, and suspicion in favor of love and respect. We could live in peace and stop senselessly killing each other. That’s what I’m hoping for. A world without racism is one step closer to God’s will on earth. That’s my prayer today.
Praying for comfort for the families of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Lorne Ahrens, and Michael Smith, victims of this past week’s violence.