I had a different post in mind for today, but the murder of Terence Crutcher has put a halt to my plans.
I am overwhelmed.
When it comes to this issue, I have a hard time engaging in this conversation publicly because I come from the place of privilege. I have the gender, skin color, and sexual orientation that the western world naturally accepts. So when I see the slaughter of African American brothers and sisters, I am often left speechless, pained with the loss of language.
But I know that I need to be a part of the conversation. I know that not contributing isn’t the answer. The answer is listening and engaging.
I will never know what it is like to be African American. Even with having family from the heritage, I will still never fully know. Only empathy and listening can give me an idea.
So why am I writing this? Why am I posting this?
Because I need to publicly say that this is a problem. That America believes that Black bodies are dispensable. Too many officers have gotten away with murder.
A brief note to my conservative friends: let’s not make this into a polarizing political issue. Every single individual life matters, even ones in uniform—but we need to recognize that there is a clear trend that cops pull the trigger on African American folks too easily.
This is the problem I constantly run into. I always feel like I need to qualify everything. One side wants to say all lives matter and another wants to say black lives matter. The point of this post is not picking a side between the two, because this problem is too messy to be captured in three words.
This is a real problem. This racial oppression is real. The evidence over the centuries is undeniable, and yet I know people deny it.
This post is for me to finally engage. To finally speak. But all I’m saying to my African American brothers and sisters is this: “I hear you, and you’re right. You’re absolutely right. And I am so, so sorry.” I know that the least I can do is listen, validate, and empathize. I’m learning more and more what I can do, and how I can do it better. This problem is difficult to create language. It is also difficult to engage in this conversation when it’s so polarizing (even though it absolutely should not be).
I’m sorry for this messy post, and I’m sorry for stepping on toes if I did. I just realized that the only way to create language to describe the problem is to actually start talking about it. So let’s talk. Let’s talk to each other: with kindness, dignity, and respect. No matter what side of the political side of the spectrum you come from or what hashtag you use, let’s treat each other with the love of Christ.
Here is the quote that rang through my head as I witnessed the murder of Terence Crutcher:
There is nothing uniquely evil in these destroyers or even in this moment. The destroyers are merely men enforcing the whims of our country, correctly interpreting its heritage and legacy. It is hard to face this. But all of our phrasing—race relations, racial chasm, racial justice, racial profiling, white privilege, even white supremacy—serves to obscure that racism is a visceral experience, that it dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth . . . this is your country . . .this is your world . . . this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.
Ta-Nehisi Coates to his son Between the World and Me p 10-12