Wednesday, March 30. Walking up to the area where Jamar Clark was shot. Seeing the memorial.
“Telling me I’m obsessed with racism in America is like telling me I’m obsessed with swimming while I’m drowning.” -Hari Kondabolu
I wasn’t sure what to think. This was my first time attending a protest. If you are not aware, on Wednesday morning, Attorney Freeman announced his decision not to charge the two police officers who shot Jamar Clark in Minneapolis, despite the 12 witnesses who said Clark was handcuffed, only two saying that he wasn’t, and six saying they were unsure.
This is so tough. At the 4th precinct, there was music blasting and black people dancing in the middle of the street. White people crowded around, either taking selfies or taking pictures/videos. I saw faces, uncomfortable, not quite knowing what to do. I myself am guilty of this. Fearful of being judged, fearful of what people would think.
A good friend and mentor once told me that you can do just about anything by 10-second bursts of small courage. Wednesday night contained many of these 10-second bursts.
But this isn’t enough. If I’m not constantly analyzing my motives, my intentions for being there, it is so easy to get caught up in the hashtagging and the pictures and the temptation to simply document these things, not actually be a part of it. Actually talk to people, actually listen.
If I claim to be a feminist, but only write and post about gender inequality in the churches I have grown up in, I am a fraud. If I am not fighting for the end of oppression for everyone; fighting for the end to sexism and racism, then I am sadly mistaken in what feminism is really about.
In my gender studies class, I’m learning how black women came up with the term “womanism” because feminism at the time only revolved around issues that affected white women.
It is so easy to take my white privilege for granted. To fight for the injustices I see at my college but not the injustices I see in the rest of the world around me. We’re sheltered, we’re in a bubble – but that’s not an excuse. Get informed. Actually read an article. Actually get involved.
This is a call to everyone. I get that you’re busy. We all are.
But I honestly believe that if Jesus Christ were on the earth right now, he would be standing at the front lines of the Black Lives Matter protests. He would not be killing doctors who perform abortions, he would not be persecuting people who identify as gay or bi or transgender; in fact, I believe he would be peacefully protesting against the “Christians” who do such things.
What if we actually read our Bibles, and not only read them but studied the context in which they were written, in a culture that reflects patriarchy, injustice, inequality, sexism. This doesn’t mean that the writers were racist or sexist themselves – they were reflecting on the culture and the time they were living in, written to specific people for specific things, not at all meant to be eternally binding or applied to us. Stop taking verses out of their context and trying to apply them to me or anyone else.
But chances are, the people reading this right now do not do this.
But you know people who do.
I’m just one person. But I can have a dialogue with the people I know and the people I meet.
So can you.
And if we all do this; have those hard conversations with the people we know, minds can be changed.
Please don’t be mad when people don’t change their minds, however.
Just plant the thought as a seed in their minds and watch it grow. Pray for God to water it, and pray for that person – for their heart, mind, and eyes to be opened to the truth.
Do your best and trust God with the rest. But doing your best requires you and I to do something.
This is a call to action.