Lessons from Ferguson & Baltimore
Protestors tell us police brutality driven by racism is a huge, ongoing problem, existent for years. They say violence and looting are the result of pent up rage resident in Black men who have suffered this brutality.
It is difficult to understand how such a serious problem could exist for so long without the slightest mention being made, in Ferguson, or in Baltimore. Democrats have ruled in these areas for decades. Certainly public officials knew about this problem, correct? Obviously they would have done something about it, correct? Citizen complaints and law suits and public hearing testimonies would have substantially addressed solutions, right? Has the voice of protest ever been silenced in this country in the last 50 years? Haven’t we heard primarily about the success of community policing, diversity in these departments, and declining crime rates?
Prior to the events in Ferguson almost a year ago, did you hear about horrendous incidents of police brutality directed almost exclusively toward Black men? Do we really believe such terrible, epidemic events were ignored by Democrats in power, public officials sanctioned and supported by the vast majority of media outlets? Isn’t it reasonable to expect such problems would attract the attention of politicians and the press? Police kill more unarmed Whites than Blacks. How does that factor into deliberations? And if police brutality encouraged by racism is over-stated, then what explains these multiple instances of death videotaped by bystanders, and the resulting riots? In other words, what is the driving force behind the riots if indeed the supposed cause is not really the central cause at all?
A couple of years ago I had a telling conversation with a Black pastor. I asked him how it can be after all we’ve been through these last 50 years, race relations are worse than ever. His answer was telling. He acknowledged certain Black leaders are in the business of stirring strife, to gain prominence and to profit, noting many have a political agenda involving the actual destruction of the country. He also pointed to dependency created by government, and the resulting environment characterized by indolence, hopelessness and resentment. He referenced the drug problem, and the destruction of the Black family thanks to the effects of demoralization and the welfare state. And he said the current regime at the federal level really does not really care about Blacks in the inner city, their plight worsening these last 10 years. But the most telling thing he said was to say Whites do not understand or appreciate the lingering anger, even rage, real, or conjured, in the hearts of millions of Blacks in America.
“You cannot imagine the conversations I heard around the dinner table as a little kid,” he explained. “The old people and our parents told stories about how they were treated. In 1950 it was still possible to hear first-hand accounts about slavery, lynching and all. Some people were just sad, even defeated. Others were filled with hate and rage, and they transferred that to young ones. Stories have been handed down through the generations. White people don’t understand what happens to you when you are told for 400 years you are not human, when you are beaten and insulted and worked to death, when they rape your wife, and sell your children away. We need healing. We need to forgive, but we also need White people to understand. White people also need to understand more violence has been done the Black community through abortion than all other violence combined. Abortion in the Black community is actually systematic genocide.”
That pastor is a wise man, telling the whole truth, and offering the only real solution to this problem. Shall we continue to root out racism and address brutality in the police department, and in the larger society? Of course. Can we do that without condemning all White people and all law enforcement officers and without burning down our cities and starting a race war? Let’s hope so. Shall we reject the voices of agitation calling for unending strife? Most certainly! Is the problem much bigger than accusations on the streets where police are making legitimate arrests, and where they are often damned if they do, damned if they don’t? Obviously.
Real, intelligent, compassionate and courageous leadership is required. Solid families are crucial. Serious crackdowns on violence merchants are necessary. But beyond all that, healing and forgiveness will be absolutely mandatory if we are ever going to turn the corner in this country. Trillions of dollars spent through government programs for 50 years have led us right back to 1968 when we saw nothing but fear, rage, resentment and riots—the devil’s playground.
The pastor offers up the ultimate solution. He says unity, forgiveness and healing are found in one place: at the foot of the Cross. The outstanding question then becomes, are we really interested in real solutions, or will we prefer the devil’s playground?
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