We Can’t Ignore the Reality of What It’s Like to Be Black in America

blackwomanMichael Whaley, a black former Marine, says in this video America should be one family, like the armed services he was a member of. He says that the Black Lives Matter movement promotes racism, which it probably does in some places. I agree with Michael that we should feel we are all one family and I wish everyone was as enlightened as he is. But there is a thread that runs through our country–such as KKK members who say black people are descended from animals–that is filled with hate, suspicion and fear aimed at black people, and this causes disproportionate danger and harm to them. Of course all lives matter–that is God’s Word–but saying that to a black person after he says “Black Lives Matter” is ignoring what every black person must face every day when he or she walks out the door: “Will I be attacked in some way today because of the color of my skin?”

I was at the grocery store one day when a tattooed white man with a shaved head turned on a black woman in the line and raised his fist and shouted very offensive names at her I won’t repeat here–just because of the color of her skin. His face was red with rage and his veins were visibly pulsing. Everyone was scared. I can’t imagine how she felt. I don’t know where the courage came from–I’m sure it had something to do with the fact that there were many people in the store–but I stepped out of line and said, “Sir, that’s not necessary.” He looked at me, turned and kept shouting. I said it again and again until he finally stared at me, turned and left the store. I know those words sound lame, but they were the exact words needed for him to stop shouting. The woman waited for me to come outside and thanked me for speaking up. I felt so bad that she had to carry the burden of not knowing when the next person would turn on her–and that’s how it is for every dark-skinned person in America today. Yes, we have come far from slavery and yes, also, we have far to go.

I joined the prayer vigil today from San Diego online and it is my sincere prayer that we Americans will begin a dialogue that includes a meaningful change in how black people are seen and treated in America. We all need to look at our own prejudices and decide to grow–especially our police who are charged with watching over us, because they can cause such great harm in just a few seconds. With the power of life or death comes great responsibility.

And we must stand up to the hate groups in this country that fan racist flames. Here is a link to a list of them–892 of them (on this day): Map of Hate Groups in America. They are real and they would tear our country apart if they could. All lives do matter, every single one, for inside each of us is a soul striving upward and it is our job to help one another, not mow each other down. There is something of great value here–acceptance, inclusion, diversity, loving our neighbor as ourselves–worth our attention and commitment. Each of us can make a difference for others who aren’t as well off as we are.