Tag Archives: Racism

But I don’t feel privileged !!

I’m pushing a noisy old lawnmower around my backyard trying to avoid dog poo and sweating like a pig when the thought occurred to me – “I don’t feel privileged!”

Nearly two weeks after the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police there have been protests nationwide calling for reform. Reforms in the way the police department interact with people of color. Reforms in centuries old racism. Reforms in how we see ourselves and others.

White Silence! Silence is violence! White privilege!

These terms have been in the news as the nationwide mourning of George Floyd continues. Just to be clear I am referring to the peaceful protest that have swept the nation and even the globe. I am not referring to the opportunistic thugs that have looted, burned and assaulted our cities.

These terms which have been part of the discussion will have one of two effects among the white community. One reaction, sadly my first reaction, was to dismiss this as rhetorical and not at all relevant to me or anyone I know. This knee-jerk reaction, I have come to see, is an insult to a community different from mine and serves as a barrier to both any real conversation and lasting change. The other reaction to these terms and others like them used recently is self-evaluation. This is the reaction which hit me as I mowed my lawn yesterday.

But I don’t feel privileged !

I continued pushing that mower as I took a quick look over my life. Especially the early years. Born into a large family which struggled to survive at or just above the poverty line only to later be shattered by alcoholism and domestic violence we weren’t the typical white American family. Raised by elderly grandparents whose passing left me emancipated way too soon. Experimenting with drugs and alcohol as I made my way into adulthood I grew up angry and without any real direction.

Where in those years did I benefit from being a privileged white boy?

Later, as I grew, I enrolled in and dropped out of college, wandered from one construction job to another, in and out of relationships. The aimless wandering continued for years. Eventually I met someone, dated, married, looked into buying a home, etc. Still not feeling privileged my historical search continued.

Then it hit me! How can I know what I don’t know?

What I mean by that is how can I know what awful incidents that I have not suffered because I am white. I have been pulled over by police and sometimes been let go with a warning and others times received a ticket but nothing else. I have never been refused service or turned away because of my skin color. I have been hired for jobs that I applied for but never, until yesterday, considered if I would have been hired were I black.

Throughout all of my 60 plus years I was unaware of what difficulties I had not experienced simply by being white. In looking back I can see how my life got better over time because of the help I found along the way. I can easily say that had it not been for certain individuals at different times in my life I would not be where I am today. I have no way of knowing for certain but I do suspect that these opportunities may not have been made available to a person of color.

If this means that I am a privileged white man I can only say that I never asked for it.

I have never had a problem with color. I know many white people say that but I don’t. I’m more likely to judge you by your behavior, character or cleanliness but not color. Yes, I said I judge. We all do. Let’s not pretend we don’t. My sociology professor gave the class an amazing statistic years ago. He said that 90% of who we are is based on outward influences (the people and world around us as we grow) and that 10% is from our own personality within us. Nature versus Nurture may be a never-ending debate but for me I side with my professor. Racism is genetic. You get it from your parents.

I can’t say how or when we as a people will bring racism to an end but I do know what will not help to bring about change. The violence and retaliation we have seen these past two weeks will not bring about change. I know people are hurt, angry, fed up and frustrated but burning buildings and beating each other up will not work.

We have a heart problem! A type of heart disease that has only one cure!

Jesus!

Jesus is the answer to any and all of our problems.

Until a person gives their life and heart over to Jesus they will be unable to love, accept or understand how another person feels. In our own limited ability we will only thrash about in this pool we call life and never safely reach the shore. Bigotry, hatred, envy, racism, superiority, privilege are not from God. He Loves everyone equally and so should we.

This is my only thought. My only hope for the people around me in my community and for the nation or world wide. I apparently am a privileged white man even if I am stepping in dog poo as I push this mower around my yard. I didn’t ask for preferential treatment. I won’t apologize for it either because it is not what I wanted. What I will do is all that I can do – stand up for what is right. Speak out against hatred and bigotry. Pray for peace and an end to the inequality that has plagued our nation for far too long. I ask anyone and everyone who reads these words to do the same.

Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock got pulled over and it was very insightful. God has a way of getting His point across. In scripture when we see the same thing repeated several times it is God’s way of emphasizing that point. Last night after my revelation while mowing the lawn I watched an episode of Comedians in cars getting coffee. Near the end of the show Jerry Seinfeld is driving very fast in a sports car with his guest Chris Rock beside him. They get pulled over and Jerry thinks it’s the funniest thing considering he is filming a show but Chris Rock is nervous. Chris expresses his nervousness by instructing jerry on what he should do and says that his first thought is “where’s my license, even?” The situation exemplifies the difference between us. One man, white, and laughing at the situation and the other, black, and obviously worried about the possible outcome. It left me feeling sad.

It’s Time For Change!!

Seriously people it is time for things to change!

Is this really how you want to memorialize the tragic death of George Floyd? As of this morning (Sunday May 31, 2020) there are reportedly 111 major cities that have experienced riots, looting and firebombing. No I did not say protesting! I said rioting, looting and firebombing. People block the street and throw rocks at a police car so the driver plows through the group of people blocking his path. Two wrongs never equal one right. People are frustrated and angry. In their anger they loot and burn down businesses which are owned by minorities who have spent a lifetime building that business. Seriously people!!

Mr. George Floyd was needlessly killed while in handcuffs during a routine police call in Minneapolis for allegedly passing a bogus $20. He was unarmed and in police custody when several arresting officers held him down. One officer had Floyd pinned at the neck and ignored please that he could not breath. Officer Derek Chavin has since then been arrested and the other officers involved have been fired. There may be further charges filed against the officers as the investigation continues.

Injustice, racial tensions, bigotry, hypocrisy, profiling, and other instances of mans’ inhumanity to man have been and will likely be a part of our world as long as we walk this earth. That does not mean there can not be a change. But change can only come when someone is willing to act rather than react!

This world is seeing an unprecedented event because of the cover-19 pandemic. People have died. Resources are strained. Stress levels are high and patience is wearing thin everywhere. The straw that broke the camels back during this time is yet another senseless murder of a black man. Black Lives Matter is an organization whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities. BLM seeks to use resources already in place to speak out, stand up and shine a light on the racial imbalances that occurs far too often. This is one of the paths to change. The path to change can not be found in the ashes of burnt out buildings.

The rallying cry of “No Justice No Peace” isn’t a call for change but rather a threat of violence. Holding an entire city hostage to destruction in order to bring about a desired result is nothing short of kidnapping and terrorism. Likewise walking out of a looted Walmart with a shopping cart full of items will not bring about change. If anything it will fuel the fire of unrest as it exemplifies the mob mentality of opportunistic thugs.

Confusion, disillusion, fear and hopelessness are the cordwood foundations to this fire. The deluded “right” who feel they need to treat other people with disregard and disdain are just as wrong as those who set fire to a police car. Fear and hopelessness that exists in communities of color is a type of heart diseases. When a person has nothing to loose they can do anything. Being backed into a corner by the confusion and despair of poverty, inequality and violence will make a person lash out without restraint.

I recall the Rodney King riots in Los Angles in 1992. Rodney King led police on a high speed chase. When they eventually caught up to him they arrested the other two occupants of the vehicle and proceeded to brutally beat, tase, stomp on and kick Mr. King. In spite of a video tape of the event the officers were acquitted. What followed was days of rioting and unrest that left 63 people dead and 2,383 injured, 12,000 arrested and $1 Billion in property damage. What I recall most (other then the sight of the beating of Mr. King) was the beating of the truck driver (Reginald Denny) who was dragged from his cab at a stop light and beaten by and angry mob. Both of these events are seared into my mind and I feel both are equally horrific and senseless.

Los Angeles 1992.

Minneapolis 2020!

Where next?

Miami? Philadelphia? New York?

Your Town? Your Neighborhood?

When and where will it stop?

Mr. Rodney King asked the question – “Can’t we all just get along?” The resounding answer over these years has been a loud “NO!” apparently. But we must get along. Change must come.

Change Must Come. Change Can Come. Change will come when we look at ourselves in the mirror and look at others through the eyes of God. Jesus told us that we should love God with all our heart and LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS as we love ourselves.

LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS AS WE LOVE OURSELVES!

There is the key. I believe that many biases and bigotry and violence begins with of the the insecurity of the heart. Whether that insecurity leads to egotistical overcompensation and bullying or if it leads to violent anger against authority and property under the cover of darkness within a mob. It’s a matter of the heart.

Jesus said that it is what comes out of the heart that defiles a man. So we need to guard our hearts against hatred, bigotry, anger that leads to violence. We are told that out the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks so listen to your words and see what is in your heart. If your words are filled with hatred then your heart needs change. That is the only way that lasting change can and will come.

And Change must come.

Happy Xmas!!

It’s enough that in this politically correct world that we live in today we are told to say “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greeting” but “Happy Xmas” is the one that gets me started! I’ve racked my brain trying to find another holiday on the calendar that get an abbreviation so severe. Granted, Saint Patrick’s Day is called “St. Pat’s” and Thanksgiving is known to be referred to as “Turkey Day”. Yet, crossing out Christ just isn’t acceptable.

In a world where we are told to be accepting and tolerant of all beliefs and opinions there is still one group that is fair game – Bible Based Christians! Yes, there is still much work to be done with respect to race relations. Nobody can ignore the fact that the black community in America is under attack. Because it’s in the news! But anti-Christian rhetoric abounds in TV and Movies and nobody says anything! Internationally Christians are being persecuted and killed but the news media looks away.

 

So, I say, now more than ever – KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS!!

 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

Luke 2:10-12 KJV