Why The Church Should Not Ignore #blacklivesmatter

I'm sure it hasn't escaped anyone's notice that racial tensions are at a fever pitch right now. I'm sure it hasn't escaped anyone's notice that everywhere you go you run into the hashtag #blacklivesmatter. From the church there has escaped a barely audible, 'ugh'.

When we hear about young black men being killed, we sigh, 'if only they had listened to the police'. We grumble, 'then stop breaking the law'. We see the hashtag, #blacklivesmatter and respond, #alllivesmatter.

Please listen, hear my heart and understand why we cannot, why we should not ignore #blacklivesmatter.

Blacks are being killed by law enforcement. Whether or not the suspects committed a crime is irrelevant. In our country there are rights granted by the Constitution that ensure that a person has the right to due process which includes a trial by a jury of his or her peers. That means you can't kill them if they aren't threatening your life.

In the Freddie Gray case, Freddie Gray had not committed a crime. Still, he was approached and later died from the injury of a severely broken spine while in police custody.

Eric Garner of New York was selling cigarettes illegally and died from what is known as positional asphyxiation at the hands of police.

The list could go on and on, but I won't list more for the sake of time.

I want to share some statistics with you. Blacks are statistically more likely to be pulled over than whites. When considering the numbers, take into account that African Americans comprise only 13% of all Americans. In New York, when stopping and frisking passersby who have not committed crimes, it was found that blacks and Latinos were stopped in 80% of cases. In Chicago it was found to be 72% black.

Moving on from there, black drivers are 31% more likely to be pulled over than whites and blacks were more likely to be given tickets than whites for the same offenses. If a black person is pulled over, they are three times more likely to have their car searched than is a white person.

If arrested, 59% of blacks will remain in jail while waiting for trial, even if presumed innocent until proven guilty. When the case goes to trial they are less likely to face a jury of their peers as 40% of blacks are struck from the jury pool. If offered a plea deal, blacks are more likely than whites to be offered a deal that includes prison time. This is even after controlling for type of offense and prior record.

Prosecutors are twice as likely to file charges that carry mandatory sentences to blacks than they are to whites and blacks, on average, serve jail sentences which are ten percent longer than whites who commit the same crimes. After release, 2.5 % of Americans experience being disenfranchised, or restricted voting rights, but for blacks, that figure is 7.7%.

Add to these facts and figures the studies that show that black people are more likely to be followed while shopping and are less likely to see members of their own race represented in the place of supervisors and management. When put together, the overwhelming picture this paints is bleak. Blacks are treated differently. Or maybe it is we who are treated differently. Who knows?

More police encounters, being stopped without cause and wrongful death are a blight on our black communities. The grievance is real. When our black communities use the hashtag, #blacklivesmatter and we fire back with #alllivesmatter, it is saying that we don't care. It is saying that we don't want to hear about it because it is their own fault. It isn't compassionate. It isn't kind.

The #blacklivesmatter is a cry for us to acknowledge that black lives do, indeed, matter. It's their sons who are disproportionately being killed. It would be as if there was an #unbornlivesmatter and we fired back with #alllivesmatter. All lives do matter, yes, but right now it's the unborn who are being killed.

Make sense?

In the news recently an unarmed black deaf man was shot and killed as he was attempting to use sign language. I saw the posting of a scared mama whose black son is deaf saying this is her worst fear.

Why is this her worst fear?

Because it can happen.

Contrast this with white Stanford student, Brock Turner, who received sympathy at the hands of the judge and his community for potentially facing the consequences for raping a girl while unconscious.

Our country is becoming more and more divided.

What are our black Christian brothers and sisters supposed to think?

What if it was my son who had to go out and face such statistics?

What if it was your son?

Until these grievances are acknowledged and righted, the problems are only going to continue. While I would never condone rioting, it is the symptom, not the cause of a disparate set of standards for black and white.

Consider the acts of civil unrest perpetrated by our founding fathers when the pressure cooker of grievances boiled over. I will named just a few.

1677 – Culpeper's Rebellion

1689 – Boston Revolt

1689 – Leisler's Rebellion – against the policies of King James II of England

1765-- Stamp Act Riot

1770 – Boston Massacre

1773 – Boston Tea Party

1774-- Burning of the ship, Peggy Stewart in Annapolis harbor

We usually look at these insurrections with pride and with prominent placement in our history textbooks. Is rioting patriotic when white people do it? Does it honor God in either situation? When we point the finger, sometimes the finger points right back at us and the values we hold dear. 

And if you don't think people were not hurt in these acts of civil unrest, check your history. People poured hot tar and feathers on those they wanted to make an example of and the tale of the Boston Massacre is brutal to read. 

It makes me question why we so readily understand oppression at the hands of England over the colonists but not oppressive standards in our criminal justice system toward blacks. 

Please don't misunderstand my heart or where I'm coming from. I am writing to tell you that discrimination is real and that people are hurting. The fact that we don't hurt with them too speaks volumes. Is it right for people to commit violence against police officers? Absolutely not. Let us not forget how many black men are police officers too. It isn't an us versus them. We are all in this together.

Let us remember that it is never good when a group of people are dehumanized or treated with less regard than the rest of us. Whether that group is comprised of blacks or Hispanics, women or the unborn, inequality has a way of spreading. It might not be that long before Christians receive similar treatment.

Can we agree that it is tragic whenever anyone meets their end? Especially if they possibly did not know Jesus? Can we also agree that Jesus died for us all, black and white? That we're all sinners. That He would not want to see us turn away from difficult conversations and opportunities to show His love to those who are hurting? And that our judgments ring loud and clear.

Can we agree that Jesus died for us all, black or white? Saint or sinner? Instead of looking away, can we point the hurting toward Jesus?

Let us find a way to engage with and meet them where they are. Otherwise our silence stands to look like we agree with their children getting shot or like we just don't care. Either way that is wrong. There is a mission field here and we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Church, please care. Please let your black brothers and sisters know you don't agree with discrimination, however awkwardly you may do it. Ask yourselves whether Jesus thinks that black lives really do matter. Take a minute to figure out what He would say and start from there.

Red , yellow black and white

All are precious in His sight

Jesus love the little children of the world  

 

For more, visit: www.facebook.com/rosahopinswriting

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List of articles from whence came the statistics cited in this article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_incidents_of_civil_unrest_in_Colonial_North_America

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/cop-shoots-kills-unarmed-deaf-mute-man/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-quigley/40-reasons-why-our-jails-are-full-of-black-and-poor-people_b_7492902.html

https://www.law.upenn.edu/live/news/2170-new-study-by-professor-david-s-abrams-confirms#.V-iLqvArK01

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2015/08/racial_disparities_in_the_criminal_justice_system_eight_charts_illustrating.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/01/us/critics-see-efforts-to-purge-minorities-from-voter-rolls-in-new-elections-rules.html?_r=0

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/02/09/those-with-darker-skin-report-slower-police-response-throughout-the-americas/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/01/16/white-privilege-explained/?utm_term=.1d7a7d8ceb28 

 

Comments

I love how passionate you are about this.Yes ALL lives matter but we should not ignore the facts.We have one enermy,the devil and if the Church does not take care of this as you rightly say,the situation is not gonna end
Hey Rosa, I linked up after you on the #rara link party. That's the fun thing about the link-up; you find new voices. Your's is strong and brave and passionate. Keep up the good work. Pray for our churches to be kingdom churches. I feel this whole ugly mess of death is caused by a spirit of fear and the roots involve much more than racism. I'm praying for both the law enforcement and the lives of our black brothers and sisters. I pray for justice and truth. Surely, we need Jesus. Blessings! ~Andy
It would be encouraging to hear a louder voice of protest from the churches. The judiciary certainly seem to have double standards. Poverty and Racism play a part. It should not be the job of the Police to be judge, jury and executioner. But because the people they are policing are allowed to carry guns, they are trigger happy. Some brave soul needs to take the first step in "amending" the 2nd amendment.The number of people, even children, black and white, accidentally killed by guns each year in the US is tragic. After the Port Arthur massacre in Australia, we did take the guns away from the people. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Arthur_massacre_(Australia) And in England where I am from, the average cop on the streets has no gun. - See more at: http://www.lifeinsidethehouseontherock.com/blog/why_the_church_should_not_ignore_blacklivesmatter#comments_form
It would be encouraging to hear a louder voice of protest from the churches. The judiciary certainly seem to have double standards. Poverty and Racism play a part. It should not be the job of the Police to be judge, jury and executioner. But because the people they are policing are allowed to carry guns, they are trigger happy. Some brave soul needs to take the first step in "amending" the 2nd amendment.The number of people, even children, black and white, accidentally killed by guns each year in the US is tragic. After the Port Arthur massacre in Australia, we did take the guns away from the people. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Arthur_massacre_(Australia) And in England where I am from, the average cop on the streets has no gun.
 

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