Thursday, July 07, 2016

To My Black Friends

Mark Langham
14 hrs ·
Alton Sterling. Philando Castile.

I am so angry. I am so ashamed.

Black men represent 9% of the American population but are 40% of unarmed citizens killed by police.

Before you say it. Yes, there are good cops. But...just don't. Not right now.

I know you want to believe police are above wrong motives in the shooting of a citizen. I know you need to believe it because it gives you a sense of security. And rightly so, citizens should be able to trust policemen to protect them. And this is exactly what black Americans are saying. That they should be able to believe police have their best interests in mind.

But they cannot. They are afraid.

The arguments in these cases always run something like: if he hadn't committed a crime, if he didn't have a record, if he hadn't been carrying a weapon, if he hadn't resisted, if he hadn't....

Please tell me, those of you with such a keen sense of justice, to which crime that was committed did Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile deserve to die? Was it selling cigarettes or CDs without a license? Maybe a broken taillight? Or perhaps it was a criminal record? Because redemption and rehabilitation are beyond the scope of your imagination?

Please tell me, those of you that fight constantly for your right to bear arms. Should a man be executed for having a gun? A gun that is not drawn? Were his rights to bear arms violated? Where is your outrage? Is your argument that the gun was not registered? Did the cop know or even ask?

Please tell me, those that say if these murdered men would have just not resisted arrest they would still be alive, should resisting arrest be punishable by death? How is it that police constantly de-escalate mass shooters but a man on his face on the ground gets shot twice in the back. A man sitting in his car gets shot reaching for his license?

To say these are isolated instances, to suggest that the justice system is colorblind is to be grossly naive, to be negligent as a citizen, or to be wholly unconcerned about the racism that exists in the Dept. of Justice. Or perhaps it's simpler, perhaps it is to be racist yourself.

White America stop with the hypocrisy. Stop with the excuses. Just stop. Demand justice. Don't pontificate about the breakdown of black families or the toxic nature of black society and black culture. Don't be a mouthpiece for racism. Just stop. Being black should not be a death sentence.

White Christians. Stop with the moral equivocation. Stop with the sanctity of life speeches until black lives matter to you. And don't say all lives matter. No one is arguing that. But white lives have always been more sacred, had more worth in the US than black lives. It's time to stand shoulder to shoulder with our black neighbors and scream black lives matter. Because they haven't mattered much, haven't been as sacred. Haven't been protected and given justice.

White America do not be silent. Speak out when you see racism. Speak out when you hear racist remarks. Speak out when you see injustice against blacks. Speak loud, clear and relentlessly. Speak as if it were your child that was murdered.

White Christians look again at the justice system through the lens of scripture, see if the image of God is being protected. See if the truth is being served. See if the compassion and humility we preach is the rule of law. If not then quit being complicit in a worldly system that stands against the will of God. Quit being silent. Pray and march and work tirelessly for unity. For justice.

To my black friends, to any black person who might read this: I grieve with you. I want to lift you up as the weight of the world feels like it is crushing you. I don't have all the words. I've had so much white privilege. I need you to know I hear you. I need you to know I'm deeply ashamed. I need you to know that I hate this injustice. I need you to know that your black life matters to me. I need you to know that this cruelty and these crimes against black Americans are crushing my soul. And I cannot even imagine what they are doing to you, beautiful, strong, resilient black America. But know this: from heaven's heart and mine, you are loved, you are loved, you are loved. And there will be justice.





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