Empowerment Tuesdays: A Reflection of My Experiences of Social Injustice and Racism in America from a Christian Perspective
A Reflection of My Experiences
of Social Injustice and Racism in America from a
As one who counsels or provides therapy, I've seen so many social injustices. As a social worker I advocate and empower; as a believer I also contend and pray, but, neither are separate because I am only one person and my beliefs influence my actions that ultimately comes down to loving God with all my heart and loving my neighbor as I do myself. Therefore, I find that I must educate. First, lets have you review a little of history.
Imagine if during slavery, abolitionists did not shine light on the plight of slaves and took on only an all lives matter approach. They knew that all lives matter but they also knew that no one was debating that particular issue. The debate was if the plight/ life of the slave mattered. Keep in mind slavery was profitable. What if they said what about the slave owner? How will it affect their lives if slavery is abolished? What if they decided that the life of the slave owner was just as important if not more? What if they remained comfortable with the way things were?
Please note the following:
Black lives matter is saying Black lives matter.
Blue lives matter is saying that Blue lives matter.
All lives matter is saying that All lives matter.All are true.
Keep in mind though that one is not negating the other. What needs to be addressed right now? Are police being killed because they are police? Is everyone being killed because they are people? Ask yourself, What are the problems at hand? What needs to be exposed for what it is?
I lament because I experience subtle racism in corporate America and most are unaware of their actions or the effect of their words. For instance if a coworker of another race goes to work wearing his or her natural hair nothing negative will be said and, if it is, it won't have the same undertone. Meanwhile, when I wear my natural hair, I prepare myself for that one person who will say something because I chose to wear my crown in its natural state.
I point out the small stuff to show you that there are deep rooted issues in our country that need to be addressed. Yes, I still wear my hair in its natural state because I'm grateful for my crown. However, there are people that have internalized issues like the one mentioned and don't walk as freely.
When it comes to my children, I look at them and I can rest knowing that I placed their lives in God’s hands. However, I am not ignorant to the fact that they could and most likely will experience racism. So I inform them of today's reality- that while I try to ensure the environment I bring them up in is inclusive, they may still experience those that may exclude or look down upon based on the color of their skin.
My oldest son experienced racism when he was only 6 years old. He asked me, “why do I get in trouble when my classmates are doing the same thing or much worse.” I told him because he stands out. He's more noticeable to people who aren't looking for people but who they consider trouble makers. Of course I also told him that he doesn't have the liberty to follow the crowd. Boys will be boys, doesn't quite ring true for him. And of course my reasoning for him didn't match up with the world’s reasoning. I've taught him that as a child of God to listen to God's instructions. I've taught him to do the right thing even when no one is watching.
For my fellow believers: Go back to Moses' time. Yes, God took care of His people. But, He also instructed Moses to take a stand. He stirred Moses’ heart. He gave Moses instructions on what to say and do.
See, in that time, the laws of the land were wrong. It didn't sit right with Moses to see his people in bondage. He didn't keep silent. He said what God instructed him to say. He did what God instructed him to do. He shed light on his people's plight. It was not about Pharaoh and his people mattering too. It was about freedom. It was about right is right and wrong is wrong. He didn't negate the fact that all people mattered because that wasn't up for debate. He knew that all lives mattered but it wasn't all lives that were slaves in that time. He told Pharaoh to let my people go."
Don't forget that along with patience and longsuffering God is also a God of Justice. Hands that shed innocent blood is still an abomination unto Him. Please take all of this into consideration when you see someone fighting for the freedoms of another, when someone is shedding light on injustice.
Loving my neighbor as I do myself means just that.
This means that I will still love you if you don't believe what I believe and I will pray for you like you were my sister or brother.
This means that I will give you the same dignity and respect that I give everyone else.
This means that I will not treat you as less than if you have a mental illness.
This means I will not treat you as less than just because you went down a different road in this life, if you abuse substances, or even if you served time.
I can disagree with a behavior or lifestyle choice and still show a person respect.
Don't allow history to continue to repeat itself. Social Studies/History is a part of education for a reason. I won't even begin to discuss what used to be the life of a Jew, or that of a Native American, or the many others that were/are discriminated against. Lastly, not everyone has the calling to be an abolitionist. But that doesn't negate the fact that God stirs the hearts of those that He's called to speak up on behalf of others.
Just my thoughts.
“Where you dwell matters.”~ Erica Felisa Thompson