Tag Archives: racism

Racism at Books-A-Million (I Dare you To read This)

I don’t have to give a disclaimer.  I only do it to establish a common decency.  I do not identify with either the Alt Right or the New Left.  I despise Antifa as well as the David Dukes of the world.  I consider the KKK to be pond scum (that gives pond scum and insult).  I have little use for anyone who judges another person based on their skin color.  I teach my children that all human beings are created in the image of God.

I insistently teach my children that all human beings are created in the image of God. Blacks and Whites are equal.  We are all equally valued by God.

We do not talk about white pride in our home, although we are proud of our identity.    We are proud Americans.  Why wouldn’t we be?  America is great.  It is the greatest nation on Earth.  We talk often about American exceptionalism.  We talk about the uniqueness of America and her citizens.  Black people, brown people, white people, and a variety of others are all indissolubly linked to the making of our country. We celebrate that.

We celebrate that, unapologetically.

Because we celebrate our diverse origins and identity as Americans, we celebrate the Negro Spirituals and the fact that a true glimpse of divine beauty can emerge from horror, as well as the music of Tin Pan Alley, Motown, New Orleans, Chicago, California, and Nashville.

We love the Beach Boys, Elvis, Johnny Cash, and the Temptations.

I firmly believe that racism must be taught.  My children do not see any difference at all, in people, outside of appearance, between a Black and a White person.  My son, when given an opportunity to choose a baby doll, chose one skinh black sin.  He sleeps with him every night.  I didn’t teach him that.

I didn’t teach him that.

That being said, I was forced this week to bring up issues of race with my 6-year old daughter.

In what should have been a benign trip to Books-a-Million, my daughter and I overheard the words, “Donald Trump…hate…murder…racist..blacks.”   I had to fight the urge to set this utterly and undignifiedly uninformed employee straight, but I composed myself.  I could tell that my daughter carefully regarded these words, and then found herself taken aback.  It caused for her, a moment of cognitive dissonance.  She knows that in our home, all races are equal.  She knows that her Mom and Dad are both, NOT RACISTS.  She also knows that her Mom and Dad would not vote for a racist.  She knows that her Mom and Dad DID vote for Donald Trump.

I let it go.  Unfortunately, I could tell that my daughter carefully regarded these words and then found herself taken aback.  It caused for her, a moment of cognitive dissonance.  She knows that in our home, all races are equal.  She knows that her Mom and Dad are both, NOT RACISTS.  She also knows that her Mom and Dad would not vote for a racist.

But here is the clincher:  She knows that her Mom and Dad DID vote for Donald Trump.

Uh Oh!

Now, she is reasonable.  She can tell good from bad.  She’s young but shrewd.  She is well trained.  She has heard Trump on television.  She has heard my wife and I talk about him—often positively. Despite being 6, she has a pretty firm grasp on who this guy is.

Back to Books-A-Million:   After the comments she heard from the employee sipping on his Starbucks, typing on his iPhone, and wailing about corporate greed; next came the coup de grace:  She handed me a book she found that portrayed President Trump as a starfish with a sphincter for a mouth.  Out of his mouth (crevice) blew flatulence with words superimposed over a poof of smoke representing his breath.  She knew it was Trump because of the orange tint and the hair (clearly).  She asked me why he was shaped this way.

 

I explained to her, “Some people do not like PRESIDENT TRUMP.”  Then, she asked me in response to the comments about hate and murder she had heard.  “Daddy, why did they say those things about Donald Trump?”  I don’t know if it was cognitive or not, but she paired the hate she heard from the employee, with the parody and pictures she found in the book.  Most Ivy League students couldn’t perform such a feat.

Most Ivy League students couldn’t perform such a feat.

Call me a racist if you want, but here is what I told her: “Baby, some people are so bent on calling things stupid or racist, that they resort to calling people who they disagree with stupid or  racist—even if they aren’t stupid or racist.  They have been so effectively programed (by activists and politicians who benefit financially from stirring up racial conflagration) that they see it as a good deed to call these people these things.  To them, anything that doesn’t match what they have been programmed to think makes a light go off that says “Racist!  Racist! Racists!  Stupid! Stupid!  Stupid!”

I explained to her that I believe that the earth is millions of years old, but that I reject Darwinian theory.  I reject the view that says bacteria became bugs, bugs became animals, and animals became humans.  I reject it outright.  I told her, that among my peers, I am seen as anti-science (stupid).  I explained that the word stupid is invoked because Darwinian theory has a number of weaknesses that they cannot account for.  So, in defense of their view, they hurl the word “Stupid!”  I explained to her that the cries of Racism are simliar.

I went on to explain to her that racism is horrible.  I explained past and PRESENT slavery to her and told her about the history of America and its role in the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and its role in ending it.  When I finished, I told her, “These racial programmers do not want racism to disappear.” Jesse Jackson has no intention of helping to ERADICATE racism.

Do you doubt me?  Are you kidding me?  If racism were to disappear tomorrow, there would go Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton’s meal ticket.  There is lots of money to be made in agitating grievances.

FOLLOW THE MONEY.

I will take it a step further:  If most blacks in this country were persuaded to believe that most whites wish for them nothing but success (which is the truth), the Democratic Party would go extinct.  Gone.  Nonexistent—like the dodo bird.

But I am brought now to an uncomfortable question:  Can the racial divide in this country be healed?   I think the answer is “Yes.”  I am optimistic.  I think it will take a swallowing of pride on both sides, white and black.  It will take admitting that slavery, though horrific, did cause horror and untold pain for blacks (the very ancestors of our friends).  On the other side, I think it will take blacks admitting that no matter how bad slavery was, and how horrific their forbears were treated, that whites today have no responsibility (it wasn’t us…it was our forebears).

For better or worse, we are both here, on this soil.  We are both Americans.  We both salute the same flag, and bleed the same Patriot red.   Whites have died for the freedom of blacks, and blacks for the freedom of whites.  Can we not celebrate that?!

I am a proud Southerner, but I apologize for what my ancestors may have done—or may not have done.   This doesn’t mean I disavow my ancestors or my heritage.  I am proud to be from the South, on my Father’s side.  On my Mothers side, I am proud to be from the North.  There were anti-slavery soldiers, both black and white,  on both sides.  I celebrate that! What it means is that I acknowledge that man by his very nature is flawed.  My ancestors were no different.

When we realize that MAN that man by his very nature is flawed, we see the reality of the whole situation.  My ancestors were no different–they were flawed.  Sinners.  Many of my Ancestors were victims of The Norman Conquest, the Irish Potato Famine, Decline of the Hapsburg Dynasty, Napoleonic and Czarist adventurism, and gratuitous insults and speculations about the intelligence of Europeans of Polish descent.Despite this fact, I live my life.  I am proud to be an American.

Despite this fact, I live my life.  I am proud to be an American.  God has shown ME grace.  For that I am thankful.  I wish to share it with others, no matter the color.

Perhaps you can as well.

 

 

 

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Can We Find God in Terrible Acts?

There is an argument made by a moral philosopher long ago.  He pondered, “Suppose there was a button, and pressing that button would bring untold riches, peace, and prosperity to the entire world.”  Sounds great, right?  The only cost, says the philosopher is that one “Chinese peasant would drop dead.” He then asked, “Who among us would press that button?  And who among us would want that button in wide currency?”

For the sake of argument, take that question and apply it to the issue of rape.  If I could press a magic button that would miraculously erase all rapes, past, present, and future, should I press the button?   At the face of it, the answer would seem to be an overwhelming, “Yes!” However, once one lets emotion subside, and begins to think rationally, it is clear that pressing this button, despite having good reasons for pressing it, would have unintended consequences.

I would NOT press the button–nor would I want such a button in wide currency. Yes, I know that sounds incredibly heartless. After all, why wouldn’t I want to erase all the evil and tragedy caused by rapes?  Quite simply, If I could erase ALL rape, hundreds of thousands of human beings would drop dead.   They would cease to exist. Many human beings owe their existence to being the result of a horrific rape.

This includes my son.  My precious 2-year old son is the product of a horrific rape.  While I mourn the reality of the rape that took place, I am indescribably thankful that he exists!  He is my son and he is of immeasurable value.  I love him.  God created him, and made a plan for his life.  Part of this plan included being conceived in iniquity.

Let me state this for the record, when it comes to the button:  I would not press that button.  Let me repeat that again:  I would NOT press that button.

Simply put:  in a fallen world, there are NO solutions.  At best, all that exist are trade offs.  A solution here, causes unintended consequences there.  What one person considers a solution, another man considers a negative.   It is unwise to act as if solutions do exist.  They don’t.  If we have learned anything in human history, we have learned that.

But, in terms of  pressing the button to erase all rapes, I couldn’t do it.  The death of a human being is too great a cost to me.  It is an unintended consequence that I am not willing to inflict.  While I find rape to be equal to slavery in the lecherousness and horribleness of what it entails, I find murder–the ending of a life created in God’s image–to be worse.

Remember this point:  Humans cannot create human beings.  They cannot do this.  Humans are created by God.  If human beings are created by God alone, and God allows a child to be the product of a rape (the product of two human beings with free will), does this in any way negate the fact that this child is created by God?   Of course not.

Let us see it another way:  f I could press a button right now, as many would like to do, and make Down Syndrome disappear, I would NOT.  Since magic doesn’t exist, eliminating Down Syndrome would necessarily mean eliminating people with Down Syndrome.  It would entail murder.  It would mean genocide.

How about another example:   If I could press a button right now, and make all racism, past, present, and future disappear, would I do it?  Well, since magic doesn’t exist; to remove all racism would mean to remove all racists.  This would involve the murder of human beings.  This cost is too great. As much as I despise racism, I despise the murder of human beings more.

A last example:  I find Islam to be a horrific religion.  I hold to the position that an accurate reading of Islam does neccesarily lead one to embrace jihad.  Be this as it may, I would not press a button that would erase Islam, past, present, and future from the face of the earth.  Since magic doesn’t exist, this endeavor would mean removing those who practice Islam.

Though I disagree with Muslims and hold many of them in contempt, I value their lives.  While the prospect of eliminating all traces of Islam may be intriguing, the cost is too great.

For the Christians among us,there is something incredible about these words: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…”

It is sobering and hard to accept this at the face of it, but God can even use something as despicable as a rape to bring Himself glory. God is in the world, using its successes and its failures for His glory.

Think about that.  God’s sovereignty is such that your past is not a direct indicator of what your future will be.  God decides your path.  Our lives are in His hands.  He can take an unmitigated disaster and make a symphony out of it.

The rape of a woman should never end in the murder of the child. God can use that child for great things.  History provides much evidence to support this.  The testimony  of a child of rape can change the lives of millions.

I believe my son, the product of a horrific rape, will be a great man of God.

I wouldn’t press the button. I would destroy the buttons.

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White Privilege

While I usually like what Matt Chandler has to say, I think he has ventured into territory that he should have left untouched; or at least he should have thought about his words before saying them.  Chandler explained recently that white privilege is not like blatant racism, and folks who live through it may never have a racist bone in their body—but it is racist nonetheless.  Seems harmless right?

Chandler noted:

“What is so deceptive about white privilege is that it is different from blatant racism or bias…A privileged person’s heart may be free from racist thoughts or biased attitudes, but may still fail to see how the very privilege afforded to him or her shapes how he or she interprets and understands the situations and circumstances of people without privilege.”

He goes on to say that most whites are unaware of their ubiquitous privilege.  He warns emphatically that thinking whites and blacks are playing on the same field is not right.

“The challenge with white privilege is that most white people cannot see it,” Chandler explained. “We assume that the experiences and opportunities afforded to us are the same afforded to others. Sadly, this simply isn’t true.”

This is the same sentiment fomented by the likes of Barack Obama who says that all Americans must have the same fair shot at success—the same opportunities.  Now, I have had all the same opportunities that Michael Jordan had.  The problem is, he has talent and I don’t.  Is this black privilege?  Have I been disenfranchised or not given a ‘fair shot?’  No.  It is a matter of his having skills that other people are willing to pay for.  Just because a black guy is interested in golf, should he be given a spot in the USGA U.S. Open next year?  No!  It seems that it is only in sports or entertainment that the left allows merit to rule.

Chandler then notes:

 “It has been my experience that there are few things that enrage a large portion of white people like addressing racism and privilege.  We want to move past it, but we are not past it. Clearly, we are not past it. So, let’s press in to it.”

By ‘press into it,’ Chandler clearly means that he is going to make statements about the Michael Brown situation in Ferguson, Missouri.  And by ‘enrage a large portion of white people,’ he clearly means anyone who disagrees with his comments.  What he fails to mention is that this talk of white privilege also enrages a large portion of black people.   Shelby Steele, Walter E. Williams, and Thomas Sowell have all written innumerable pages on the fact that white privilege is a myth.  Why doesn’t he include them in his ‘enrage’ statement?  Oh, it’s because they aren’t real black people.  They don’t count.  Right?

The Christian Post says this:

“When Chandler was asked on Twitter what white privilege had to do with Brown’s murder, he correlated the feelings of the community of Ferguson to the fact that the treatment just isn’t the same for those of a different community.”

What was Chandler’s response?  Well here it is:

“The facts are still being debated, and I am hopeful that justice will take place once those can be established, but the way white people tend to perceive the situation in Ferguson, Missouri and in situations like this is through distinctively white lenses.  We believe that our experiences, histories and benefits of our hard work are universal experiences for everyone. This is simply not true. I’m not a sociologist, but I’ve read enough, lived in enough places and have enough friends that I’m beginning to understand what motivates the frustrations and anger that can exist deep in the hearts of young black men.”

Here is what people do when they say things that sound wonderfully erudite, but at second glance are completely nonsensical.  He makes a lofty claim and then runs for cover by saying, “oh, by the way…I’m not a sociologist.”  Why is he using his position to make a public statement on such an issue if he isn’t going to claim some sort of authority or at least take responsibility?  He doesn’t do this in the books he tries to sell.  Chandler isn’t a sociologist, yet he makes the above statement anyways. He says what he thinks fits the narrative and then systematically exculpates himself by claiming he isn’t a sociologist.  This is utterly embarrassing.

To thoroughly confront Chandler’s diatribe, let me offer this thought.  If disparities do exist, and they do, isn’t there someone to blame?  Well, Chandler would say, “Yeah, without intending to, whites have caused it.  We are to blame.”  Who does Chandler propose is the solution?  Whites.  We must change the way we conduct ourselves in every area of life in order to fix the problem of white privilege.  from the eminently wise Dr. Thomas Sowell:

“No individual or group can be blamed for being born into circumstances…that lack…advantages.  But neither can ‘society’ be automatically assumed to be either the cause or the cure for such disparities.”

Whites aren’t responsible for it.  Blacks aren’t responsible for it.  It just exists.  And I am not arguing that is equals ought.  I am only arguing that one group cannot fix it; and in the same regard, neither are they the cause!  Trying to fix things externally does nothing.  Sowell isn’t speaking as a Christian, but his statement has more appeal to the gospel message than does Chandler’s.  Chandler is calling for external action, Sowell is saying that external action doesn’t work.

Let me just offer one instance of data.  Did you know that tests were done on IQ and general well-being of students on U.S. military bases in Europe?  Do you know what they found?  That white and black students were virtually the same in all measurable respects.  They were equally smart, equally articulate, equally well behaved, and equally poised for success.  Why is this?  For one, the whites weren’t exposed to the perpetual shame narrative, and second, blacks weren’t exposed to gangster rap and the bigotry of low expectations.  They were all expected to do their work, excel, and behave.  Period.   External factors didn’t shape them to the extreme that they do in the United States, and their true characters shone through.

Could it be that we bring this entire myth on ourselves?  Could it be that whites and blacks are…wait for it…equal?  YES.

It is being force fed down the throats of children in public schools. You know the shame narrative: Whites came to America, exterminated the Indians, brought in black slaves from Africa and beat them and treated them as animals, and then slave-owners wrote founding documents that called men equal—and it all culminates with riots and protests (opposed by whites) in the 60’s that eventually led to the first black president in 2008—though whites opposed him and continue to do so just because he is black.

What they are doing in the schools is taking large swaths of time and focusing in on singular events that further a particular agenda.  This isn’t teaching history.  This is perpetuating an agenda.  The agenda that the academic left have invested in, is this shame agenda.

Now, I fully admit—Indians did die.  We did bring slaves from Africa, horribly enough.  Some whites did oppose Obama because he was black.

While it is true in many places throughout history—and even now— blacks are treated like second class citizens, the data doesn’t support this ubiquitously like we are told.  In fact, some might even go to the extreme of saying that racism and discrimination fluctuate in parallel to each other.  You know something?  That is not what the data shows.  In fact, the unemployment rate of blacks was lower just 10 years after slavery ended than it is now.  I know such a statement will be flagrant at first read, but like Henry Rosovsky says,

“Never underestimate the difficulty of changing false beliefs by facts.”

John Adams said it this way:

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

Secondly, I certainly recognize that America has seen injustice committed on its soil—and it needs to be pointed out and justice should be served.  Has it not been?  The truth is, I think, that a famous historian is right when she noted that, America should be willing to face its past—regardless how virtuous it looks.  What I point out when it comes to slavery is:  Slavery was a worldwide institution since the dawn of man.  It needed no defenders because it had no critics.  Eugene Genovese is right when he notes that

“Race relations did not determine the patterns of slavery in the new world…the patterns of slavery…determined race relations.”

There is nothing exclusively western about slavery.  Even Zora Neale Hurston, the celebrated Harlem academic and writer said —

“The white people held my people in slavery here in America. They had bought us, it is true, and exploited us. But the inescapable fact that stuck in my craw was: My people had sold me…. My own people had exterminated whole nations and torn families apart for a profit before the strangers got their chance at a cut. It was a sobering thought. It impressed upon me the universal nature of greed.”

Reflecting further, Hurston laments:

 “My ancestors who lived and died in it are dead. The white men who profited by their labor and lives are dead also. I have no personal memory of those times, and no responsibility for them. Neither has the grandson of the man who held my folks. . . . I have no intention of wasting my time beating on old graves. . . . I do not belong to the sobbing school of Negroes who hold that nature somehow has given them a low-down dirty deal and whose feelings are all hurt about it. . . . Slavery is the price I paid for civilization, and that is worth all that I have paid through my ancestors for it.”

Why didn’t those quotes make it into Howard Zinn’s A Peoples History of the United States?

Many think that slavery is an exclusively western institution.  Actually, the thing that is exclusively western however isn’t slavery itself—but the movement to end slavery.  Consider, what Orlando Patterson said:

 “There was no word for ‘freedom’ in most non-Western languages before contact with Western peoples.”

You cannot overlook the deaths of 300,000+ white northerners, who didn’t own slaves—who gave their lives to secure a freedom for the slaves that they were in no position to secure for themselves.  Many will counter with, “Those soldiers didn’t know they were fighting against slavery or they wouldn’t have fought.”  While the history seems to show that to be false, we must note:  Without slavery there wouldn’t have been a civil war and without a civil war, we would still have slavery.

Many also think that it is a movement way from the founding documents of our Country that ended slavery ultimately.  This doesn’t jive with the facts.  Did you know many feel the constitution is a “living document?”  Do you realize what they mean when they say this?  They are saying that the laws in the founding documents are not absolute.  Here is the problem, why is their view that the founding documents are not absolute–well, absolute?  Why do they have a view that is absolute, yet deny other views that founded this nation to be absolute.  In fact, the founding principles, specifically the Declaration of Independence were the documents that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. referred to when he cashed his promissory note.  It wasn’t a movement away from America’s founding that helped to further civil rights in America—it was a return to it.

In our history classes, we also learn that Columbus is saddled with the accusation of mass genocide of American Indians, even though—he never set foot on American soil, and he came some 300 years before America was born.  Maybe we would want to include in the long list of world genocides—the Europeans killed by the bubonic and pneumonic plagues that swept from Asia to Europe.  Neither of these are “genocide” in the way the term is meant to be used.  People unfortunately die as their immunities are not able to handle illnesses.  The native Americans were killed by diseases for the most part—why is that called genocide but the plagues in Europe aren’t?  We are led to believe that white settlers actually murdered through intentional violence, some 2,000,000 native Americans.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Did they or are they now talking about William Ellison in classrooms?  He was one of many black slave owners in the south who from all accounts, treated his slaves worse than white slave owners. Maybe we’d want to include the prosperity, amidst devastatingly challenging times by Sarah Breedlove, aka Madam C. J. Walker—who became the nation’s first female self-made millionaire marketing a line of beauty and hair products for black women.

Finally, in terms of the history of white privilege, I do wonder why these events don’t make it into the shame narrative:  The Norman Conquest, Irish Potato Famine, Decline of the Hapsburg Dynasty, Napoleonic and Czarist adventurism, and gratuitous speculations and insults about the intelligence of Europeans of Polish decent.  Why don’t those make the list?

I think that we need to examine the history and be more open minded when it comes to those of other races—But—why is it that when statistics show that black applicants for conventional mortgage loans were turned down at twice the rate for white applicants, the media went ballistic crying racial discrimination and white privledge—But when those same whites were turned down almost twice as often as Asian Americans — no one thinks that is racial discrimination?

Further—from personal anecdotal evidence—we are in the process of adopting a black infant.  Why is it that we are forced to watch innumerable movies perpetuating the Roots narrative (which the author Alex Haley admitted was a myth) and shaming us for being white and having the audacity to adopt a black child?  I would have little problem with it—IF—the same documentaries existed so that black couples who adopt white children could receive the same shame narrative.

Here is Walter Williams:

“What would you think if your 8-year-old came home and told you that “white privilege is something that white people have, meaning they have an advantage in a lot of things and they can get a job more easily?  You would have heard that at the recent 15th annual White Privilege Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, attended by 2,500 public-school teachers, administrators and students from across the nation.

The average parent has no idea of the devious indoctrination going on in classrooms in many public schools. What follows are some of the lessons of the conference.

In one of the workshops, “Examining White Privilege and Building Foundations for Social Justice Thinking in the Elementary Classroom,” educators Rosemary Colt and Diana Reeves told how teachers can “insert social justice, anti-racist information” into their lessons that “even little kids” can understand.”

Much of the public’s understanding of ‘white privledge’ comes solely from public school indoctrination.  If it is a fact, teach it.  The problem is, who is deciding that white privledge is a fact?  Is there a special caste of thinkers who have access to knowledge that we as common Americans don’t?

Shelby Steel thinks it’s a myth.  “I grew up in segregation, so I really know what racism is. I went to segregated school. I bow to no one in my knowledge of racism, which is one of the reasons why I say white privilege is not a problem.”

Steele claims,

“The real problem is black irresponsibility. … Racism is about 18th on a list of problems that black America faces. It is White peoples preoccupation with guilt and compensation such as affirmative action is actually a subtle form of racism,” writes Steele in his book White Guilt.

“One of the things that is clear about white privilege, and so many of the arguments for diversity that pretend to be compensatory, is that they advantage whites. They make the argument that whites can solve [black people’s] problems. … The problem with that is … you reinforce white supremacy. … And black dependency.”

“White privilege is a disingenuous idea.” 

He argues in contrast that what really exists is“ minority privilege.”

Steele notes,

“If I’m a black high school student today, there are white American institutions, universities, hovering over me to offer me opportunities. Almost every institution has a diversity committee. Every country club now has a diversity committee. I’ve been asked to join so many clubs, I can’t tell you. … I don’t have to even look for opportunities in many cases, they come right to me.”

Steele admits there are problems. 

“The fact is,” he adds, “we got a raw deal in America. We got a much better deal now. But we can’t access it unless we take … responsibility for getting there ourselves.”

So, what about responsibility?  It is hard to think that black culture writ large is taking responsibility when we consider the knockout game, the senseless killing of a WW2 veteran in a parking lot, or the killing of an Australian baseball player by black youth who were bored.  Further, we hear stories from both Philadelphia and San Francisco that talk about black students who beat up Asian students.

As Thomas Sowell laments,

“This is especially painful for those who expected that the election of Barack Obama would mark the beginning of a post-racial America.  While Obama’s winning majorities in overwhelmingly white states suggests that many Americans are ready to move beyond race, it is painfully clear that others are not.”

Sowell is right to continue,

“When black schoolchildren who are working hard in school and succeeding academically are attacked and beaten up by black classmates for “acting white,” why is it surprising that similar hostility is turned against Asian Americans, who are often achieving academically more so than whites?”

But, it isn’t just blacks doing this.  It is all troubled human beings.  We see the same phenomenon happening in lower class white Britain.  The white brits who do well are beat up by those who don’t.  It has nothing to do with race—it is all jealousy and a refusal to rise out of intellectual poverty.

 

I think, however, the white privledge myth has been most perpetuated through a lack of understanding the history of American success.  The clearest example of today’s misguided policies comes from examining the history of the American South.

The old South was a society that was three tiered.  Blacks and common white folks were dominated by white elites who played up racial tensions to keep power.  Did you know, “At the height of slavery, in 1860, less than 5% of whites in the South owned slaves. The eminent black historian John Hope Franklin wrote that “fully three-fourths of the white people in the South had neither slaves nor an immediate economic interest in the maintenance of slavery.””

Far from boosting it economically, slavery and the Civil War devistated the South—both in terms of capital and human capital.  Both blacks and whites were affected.

In 1938, FDR created a national commission to study what he termed “the long and ironic history of the despoiling of this truly American section.” At that time, most industries in the South were owned by companies outside the region. Of the South’s 1.8 million sharecroppers, 1.2 million were white (a mirror of the population, which was 71% white). The illiteracy rate was five times that of the North-Central states and more than twice that of New England and the Middle Atlantic (despite the waves of European immigrants then flowing to those regions). The total endowments of all the colleges and universities in the South were less than the endowments of Harvard and Yale alone. The average schoolchild in the South had $25 a year spent on his or her education, compared to $141 for children in New York.

Facts like these don’t disappear overnight and they do affect how culture progresses.  In 1974, a National Opinion Research Center (NORC) study of white ethnic groups showed that white Baptists nationwide averaged only 10.7 years of education, a level almost identical to blacks’ average of 10.6 years, and well below that of most other white groups. A recent NORC Social Survey of white adults born after World War II showed that in the years 1980-2000, only 18.4% of white Baptists and 21.8% of Irish Protestants—the principal ethnic group that settled the South—had obtained college degrees, compared to a national average of 30.1%, a Jewish average of 73.3%, and an average among those of Chinese and Indian descent of 61.9%.

It was convenient for policy makers and pundits to ignore these facts about white culture while advancing programs only to help minorities.  Whites were treated monolithically.

While some whites are successful, some blacks are as well.  While some blacks live in poverty, so do some whites.  While there are racist whites, there are racist blacks.

The human problem is the issue.  Man is fallen and cannot help himself through programs, laws, or ideas with no evidence for their virtue like “diversity.”  It is only when man is changed from the inside that the culture writ large will see any discernible change.

 

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Ferguson and Injustice

A reportedly unarmed male is killed.  The killing took place at the hands of a Ferguson, Missouri police officer.  That is all we know.  We don’t know if there was a confrontation, or if the young man provoked the officer in a threatening manner—or if the police officer is a card carrying racist targeting young black men—or anything.  All we know is a young man is dead and he was killed by a police officer.

The first issue that seems fairly obvious as controversial is the hidden identity of this police officer.  It is strange that the name of this officer hasn’t been released, along with any pictures of his injuries.  Surely if things happened in the way that some reports have suggested, this cop would have some signs of a struggle or a beating.  We have yet to see any.

On the other hand, people are quick to assume that the deceased was innocent and the perpetrator is guilty.  I don’t know if we have all the information in place to make such an inference.  Correlation as they say, doesn’t equal causation.  We are basically told by the media that the white guy is guilty, and the black guy is innocent.  This same media tells us that there are no white and black issues…well except when it comes to race.

What facts do we know?  Well, for starters, we know that peaceful protests have turned into all out riots.  This place has been demolished, not only by the citizens of Ferguson, but by people from out of town as well.  This has become an excuse for an orgy of theft, vandalism, the use of Molotov cocktails, and general mayhem.  The reason, they would tell you—is that someone was killed unjustly.  They are protesting for justice sake.  Very well.

The other fact that we know is that the Ferguson police have arrived on the scene as if they were taking on ISIS—well, except we don’t and supposedly won’t have boots on the ground in Iraq.  It looks like a Marine Corps assault unit.  We have tanks, riot gear, short barreled M-16’s, gas, and armored personnel carriers—oh you know—the usual stuff you see on a foreign battlefield.   Since when are police allowed to carry on in a manner that mirrors an elite fighting force—aimed at civilians?  I mean, in what universe do the police justify unleashing gas on a news crew?  What about the arrest of 2 reporters inside a Ferguson McDonalds?

Those are the facts—non peaceful protests and an over militarized and unnecessarily forceful police force.  Trust me when I say, there is enough blame to go around here for such a reaction.


The first question we must ask is about the nature of justice itself.  Consider: 

If you have never read the remarkable letter Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from a Birmingham jail, I urge you to read it. He wrote this letter from memory, with no resources to use. It is incredibly profound. One of the most emotional moments of the letter to me is when he says toward the end of the letter:

 “There was a time when the church was very powerful–in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.”‘ But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent–and often even vocal–sanction of things as they are.”

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.”

The church is failing in the culture—indeed. We expect the culture to live a certain way—and measure up to a certain standard (God’s standard)—but how can they? They don’t know him. Why would we expect them to be good, if they are incapable of being good? You and I are incapable of it apart from Christ.

Here is the problem—Jesus said:

Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ

 “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” [1]

 So, in this exchange, Jesus says, “Who do you (plural) say that I am?”  Notice that the response comes from the spokesman of the group, Peter.  He is not speaking only for himself, but for the group.  He correctly identifies him as the Christ.  When Jesus responds to Peter, he isn’t only talking to Peter, he is speaking to the group.  He calls him Peter or “petros,” which means single stone.  He then says upon this rock (petra), “I will build my church…”  A “petra” is a large mass of stones—like a slab or a very large rock.  A “petra” is greater than a “petros.”  No matter how good a leader one is, God always designs to use a collective group of believers to accomplish his will.  It takes a community of believers to fix injustices run amuck like this. 

 Now—the point I want to make in regard to this situation in Missouri is that, the passage says, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  Basically, what Jesus is saying it, “If you are doing my work, hell will be losing.  If you aren’t doing my work, hell will be winning.”

If you look at the state of the church and the state of society, what would be accurate?  That hell is winning or that heaven is winning?  If we have tons of churches in every town, all these pastors, millions of deacons, lots of choirs, tons of programs—and hell is still winning—what does that tell you?  As Tony Evans says, “There must be a dead monkey on the line somewhere.”


We have become so conditioned in our society to look to government to solve our problems.  We are kind of like Humpty Dumpty.  He had a great fall.  This implies that he was resourceful enough to make it to the top of the wall.  But, what happens?  All the kings horses and all the kings men are called in.  There is no way that broken men can fix broken men.

The solution comes by way of Christ. We are guilty—we have indeed sinned. We are separated from God, and we are guilty. God is completely just, yet he is completely merciful. Now—if you think about it—this is a challenge for God: To be completely just and also completely merciful. As humans we extend mercy at the expense of justice, and we extend justice at the expense of mercy. We cannot have it both ways. We are guilty before a just God. What does he do? Well, he exercises both his mercy and justice. How? Through His son Jesus on the cross. He inflicts justice through Christ, therefore, giving us mercy. The debt must be paid. When justice is removed from a civilization, all hope is lost. God is fully just. He is fully merciful. God does not extend mercy to you and me at the expense of justice—but rather—through it—on the cross—through his son Jesus Christ.

As I think about the voluminous cry for equality—I can’t help but notice that we are already equal. We are sinful—and we need saving.

Consider what Oliver Sacks says in the book Awakenings:

“For all of us have a basic, intuitive feeling that once we were whole and well; at ease, at peace, at home in the world; totally united with the grounds of our being; and that then we lost this primal, happy, innocent state, and fell into our present sickness and suffering. We had something of infinite beauty and preciousness- and we lost it; we spend our lives searching for what we have lost.”

So how is our world responding?

We have reports that say that the Pentagon has fueled this escalation.  St. Louis County law enforcement agencies received twelve 5.56 millimeter rifles and six .45 caliber pistols from the Department of Defense between Aug. 2, 2010, and Feb. 13, 2013, a Missouri public safety official confirmed Thursday.  Want more?  Why don’t you take a look at this.  You could accurately say that the Obama doctrine of “No boots on the ground” is being followed.  Instead, they are putting “wheels on the ground,” and “gas in the air.”  This program called the 1033 program, was created by Congress in the 1990’s.  the motto?  “From warfighter to crimefighter.”  That sounds like some kind of a horror movie involving cyborgs.  Since the creation of the 1033 program by Congress in the early 1990s, the program has distributed $4.3 billion of excess equipment, ranging from innocuous office supplies to bomb-disposing robots and other advanced technology. The flood of military supplies — along with the continuing drug war and grant programs from other federal agencies that provide military-style equipment — has pushed the culture of police forces far from its law-enforcement roots. 

Feel good now?

What is most frightening is that until this incident, many on the left have been giving a full throated support for such armament by the police.  In fact, any American who argued that their constitutional right to carry weapons was indeed needed for occasions like this, or worse—were called conspiracy theorists.  Now, it seems all the left is doing is quoting the constitution!  The Atlantic, a left wing rag is incensed at this action by the police.  Newsweek, a left leaning publication, is now detailing the history on how “American police became an Army.”  The left wing’s venerable New Yorker is decrying the violation of innocent civilian constitutional rights by a militarized police force.

I hate to point this out, but this shouldn’t surprise anyone.  Do you remember a junior Senator from Illinois—who in 2008 promised that as president:  “We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.” 

Doesn’t sound familiar?  How about the video?  Obama’s civilian security force.   Now, granted, up until this point—in terms of fulfilling his lofty “hope and changey” campaign promises, this may be his first telling of the truth. 

Obama’s delayed response to this matter, amidst his vacationing while the world is burning has many people upset.  It is a fact that by years end, Barack “Eldrick” Obama will have overtaken the amount of golf rounds that Tiger woods has played since 2009.  All this while the economy is virtually dead, Obamacare is flopping, millions are out of the work force, and Islam is gaining a stranglehold on world politics.

To further confound and add fuel to this literal fire, there are also accusations of racial profiling by Ferguson police even before this shooting. While black residents accounted for 67 percent of Ferguson’s population, black drivers accounted for more than 86 percent of the traffic stops made last year by the Ferguson Police Department, according to a report produced by the office of Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.  And the majority of the traffic stops (92 percent) that ended with arrests involved black drivers.

While this seems to be unfortunate—in nearly every other situation in society, the left argues that there should be proportional representation of all minorities!  Why is it when crime rates are released, suddenly proportional representation is not a virtue?  Despite the cries of racism—which have mainly been forwarded by the NAACP, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, the perpetual race merchants have shown up on the scene; and, rather than receive a warm welcome, they have been all but attacked themselves.  It seems that the black community, who rightly decries injustice—at the same time—decries this faux sympathy for their community by those who are more concerned with their television persona than they are with really tackling issues head on. 

  To make matters worse, the NEW Black Panther Party is in the area and encouraging violence.  I think the black community at large—though we may differ on a variety of issues—are genuinely opposed to the inflammatory and continuous urging of the Black Panthers to enter into violence.  While they surely are making these decisions to riot on their own, it cannot help when those who have been ‘propped up’ as leaders in the black community are urging violence. 


What are the solutions?  This is  a lose-lose situation for everyone involved.  That cop didn’t wake up that morning thinking to himself, “I want to kill a black man.”  The victim of this violence didn’t wake up saying, “I want to challenge the police today.”  Until we know the facts we cannot know exactly what happened.  What we do know is that one life is over, and an entire community is affected.  On the other side, a police officer will forever have his life changed by this situation. 

I think one solution for now would be to end this over armament of the police.  Rand Paul, the Kentucky Senator, says to “demilitarize the cops.”  I think he is right.  I also think that the black community at large should refrain from looting.  It is a completely justifiable and rational position to be abhorred at both the rioting and looting, but at the same time be abhorred by the actions and methods employed by the police in Ferguson. 

I think the real solution is going to be a systematic and intentional move by the church writ large to invest in these communities.  We need to change men from the inside out, not from the outside in.  We can put all the structures in place, and all the laws in the world—but man will still be sinful.  Until we decide to take these matters seriously, we will only treat symptoms—we will never treat the root cause.

I understand that in saying this, I am forwarding what some would call a “constrained” view of humanity.  We are constrained by our fallen nature.  No matter what is done, our fallen nature cannot be fixed by man himself.  This is in contrast with the “unconstrained” view of humanity.  Man is inherently good here—and it is the society at large that contributes to his downfall.  If we fix the society, we can fix man.  If we can produce heaven on earth, man will be perfect.

When I stop and think about the statement:  “Why did an innocent kid die,.” My answer is, “no one is innocent.”  God alone is good.  We are fallen.  Since we live in a fallen world, we should expect to see things like this.  Be this as it may, it never quite prepares us for it, and we all notice that such a thing is evil.  Evil has three dimensions.  There is the fact of evil, the face of evil, and the feeling of evil.  No matter what side of this situation you fall on, we all recognize that evil has taken place.  A life is over. 

I understand that this is utterly depressing.  I truly feel that we are constrained by our sin.  The only solution comes by way of Christ.  Until we are ready to share that with a fallen man—the kind of things we see in Missouri from both the police and the rioters—and in terms of innocent victims being slain—will only get worse.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Mt 16:13–19). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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