Grace and Peace To You, Black America
Like most of you I was appalled, angry, distraught and sadden to see and hear this helpless black man call for his mother and cry out I cannot breathe. Now, after getting over the initial rage and shock of seeing a human being senselessly murdered at the knee of another human being, and at the risk of sounding ignorant, being ostracized, and criticized, I have a question. But before I pose my question, let us review some statistics. According to Northeastern University Criminology Professor, James Alan Fox, FBI Crime in the United States Expanded Homicide Data, and U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, figures shows that “the majority of people are killed by someone from their own race. For example, for 2010-13, records showed that about 92 percent of blacks who were murdered were killed by other blacks, while the statistic for whites killed by whites was 81.5.” We are outraged, protesting, burning, and looting. I am not against protesting. In fact, protesting played an important role in the civil rights era and it is often used to show solidarity with people undergoing suffering and tragedy.
So my question is this: If someone knocked on the door of Mr. and Mrs. Love My Son and told them that their son was murdered, but don’t worry, because it will not hurt as bad, because he was murdered by the gun of another black person and not the knee of a white cop. He is not as dead, because he was killed by a gang member and not a racist police officer. Why don’t we have the same indignation, hurt, and pain? Why don’t we protest when another black person senselessly kills another black person?
I am in no way burying my head in the sand an acting like racism is not a problem. Starting at the highest level of government, racism is a demonic spirit and until our white Christian brothers in the pulpit began to address it, inevitably it will continue. I paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by saying “It is not the behavior of hideous men that condemn us, but it is the silence of good men who look away.” You cannot legislate love or morality – it is a heart issue. If we could create legislation to prevent these things, then the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the voters right act of 1965, and Brown versus Board of Education 1954 would have solved our problems by now. Should we be angry? YES! Should we be, appalled, hurt, and grieve for the families of Travon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee, George Floyd, and many others? A resounding YES!
But as African Americans let us not let their deaths be in vain. Let us call a Spade a Spade and hold our public servants accountable. Let’s petition for stricter laws for public servants, better judges on the Supreme Court, and let us demand racial equity! But, most of all, let us clean up around our own door, love and protect the sanctity of the lives of our young black men and stop killing each other. The word of God tells us, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8, NIV). How can we expect other races to respect us when we do not respect ourselves? God we are tired, hurt, confused, and angry – Hear the cry of your people. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19 ESV).
“The strong man is the man who will not hit back, who can stand up for his rights and yet not hit back,” (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)
Humbly Your Brother in Christ,
~ David L. Caldwell