This is difficult. This is not about identity politics. It is about humane treatment. It’s about being a good neighbor, much like the Good Samaritan who would not take the blind-eye route and instead, seeing and ministering to a fellow human laying in the street after having been beaten. It is about being my brother’s keeper.
I have not in my adult life been so vocal about black and white issues. Why you may ask? I really could not tell you. Was I wearing blinders? Maybe. I remember seeing on the news as a young girl police dogs being led to attack black men and women marching to be treated equally have fire hoses on full blast turned on them, have police beating on them, men, and even women who were merely marching. That was brutality.
Those individuals who bore the brunt of blood, sweat, and tears, unequal treatment, and discrimination did finally through legislation achieve the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawing discrimination based on race and color among other protected characteristics.
However, almost thirty years later, I got a real glimpse again with this same sort of brutality. I saw a group of police officers beat a black man with batons. That man was Mr. Rodney King. It happened on March 3, 1991, in the city of Los Angeles. It was hard to watch. It was hard to understand how they could do that. They were cops who took an oath to protect and serve.
There have been so many more who suffered police brutality since then, and many, many more before I am certain. The key difference is that we now have the visuals. They are being recorded to be forever imprinted in our minds.
This is America, the land of the free, only it isn’t. This is the land where we say that all are created equal, only it isn’t. The land in which our principles are codified in the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Self-evident? Are these truths that all men are created equal self-evident? Apparently not, although I know that all men are created equal. I know this because it was God who made each and every person in his image; people of every nation, tribe, and tongue. What is evident to me is that not all recognize this particular truth, because for years, the black man, for whatever reason, is presented as a threat, or worse, less than human.
Just this month, while in the middle of this global pandemic, we have seen a black man, Mr. Ahmaud Arbery jogging through a neighborhood, who is shot dead in broad daylight by white men who thought he was…, we saw a white woman being asked by a black man, to put her dog on the leash call 911 to say that an African American man was threatening her life; this lie could have easily had horrific results for Mr. Christian Cooper; and then this week, we saw a cop kneeling on the neck of an unarmed black man, Mr. George Floyd, who cried out that he couldn’t breathe which meant absolutely nothing to the cop who did not let up, no relief, but death.
Yes, all of the four cops were fired, but not arrested. A murder was committed before our eyes, but so far no arrests.
So when there is outrage, when I see posts from my friends showing differences in arrests of whites who commit mass murders, and how they are apprehended versus how black men are apprehended or killed for far lesser crimes, I get the outrage. This hurts. It hurts badly.
What’s going on? What is so threatening about a black man?
Marvin Gaye asked this same question almost 40 years ago, What’s Going On?
He says the answer to all this madness is love. I agree with him, we need to love, love our neighbor. Who is our neighbor? Our neighbor is everyone because everyone is created in the image of God.