[Link to a video at the bottom of this post]
Wow. Search YouTube for interviews with Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington on racism. Seriously. I haven’t watched all there is, but I’ve watched a few and really appreciated their points of view.
Here’s a snippet of one interview with Denzel Washington:
The interviewer asked in reference to racism in the incarceration system if we as a country had made any headway in righting those statistics. Denzel interrupted and said “I think it’s more important we make headway in our own house. By the time the system comes into play the damage is done. They’re not locking up 7 year olds.” He went on to give as an example 3 of his best friends, who all ended up in the prison system. He explained that the difference between himself and his friends was that his friends had no father in the home or father figure to help teach and guide them. He explained that as a young kid he got into as much trouble as his friends, but his father stepped in and helped guide him on a better path, whereas his friends didn’t have a father, or at least one with moral standards. He explained that much of the statistics on so called racism stem from the break down of the family and how the system isn’t going to fix it. Families will.
Makes you wonder.
Can I get a bit vulnerable with y’all? This is going to be long, so if you choose to read on- please be patient and think the best of me.
Read on if you want to hear some of my introspective thoughts over the last couple weeks, not about the truly horrific and unjust deaths of George, Breonna, or Ahmaud, but about the claims and assertions that America is and white people are in general systemically racist, and that’s where all the suffering, high crime rates, low incomes, and seemingly unjust profiling of the black community comes from.
What I’m about to say is certainly not the whole truth. It’s onepoint of view that has some truth to it—a theory that may make a lot of sense about how the last sixty years in our country have evolved when it comes to racial issues.
I’m offering this to stimulate thought, because if we’re buying headlines and social narratives without really thinking through and examining how we got here, that’s a problem.
As economists Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell and sociologist Charles Murray have chronicled in multiple books, at least where poverty and high crime rates are concerned, the black community was, as we approached the 1960s, stronger than much of the white community. Economically, it was closing the gap—until the government instituted the welfare system.
When the welfare system, a sort of guilty-conscience-giving-back system for real wrongs committed, was instituted, the structure of the family began falling apart. Certainly this was not true of all black families, but it was common among those most likely to receive welfare. Men no longer had to work hard to support their families. Work ethic was lost, men no longer had to take seriously the responsibility of bearing children, no longer had to maintain moral standards necessary to sustain a higher income job since the government would pay their way for them. [Interesting to note you see the exact same problems in white families subsisting off of the welfare system: high crime rates, low income jobs, difficulty in school, etc.]
Makes you wonder. Could it be this is a moral and personal ethic issue as much if not more than a racial issue? Could it be that not only the apparent systemic inequality, but also the opposite end of the spectrum exhibited by actual genuine racists who hate blacks because of the color of their skin, all stem from a deeper issue of moral failing in the home?
What if parents stayed together and raised their children in monogamous relationships?
What if parents believed in, exhibited, taught, and then held their children to a higher moral standard of love, kindness, selflessness, sacrifice, courteous speech and behavior?
What if children grew up having to work hard for what they got instead of being given everything, protected from every germ and every booboo? Learning how to approach suffering with empathy and compassion?
What if children grew up to believe in a moral right and wrong that allowed them to treat their neighbor as themselves- to consider others as more important than themselves?
(Not in an abusive way that means they have no importance themselves- if Jesus said to treat others as you would yourself, clearly He expects you to treat yourself well too.)
What if everyone had to work hard for what they got (or inherited from parents who worked hard for it and left it as a blessing) instead of being given handouts from the government, which then cripples their personal ethical standards?
What if children were raised with parents who exhibited generosity and giving?
If America still held to a moral right and wrong, a clear understanding of the family as a mission field for raising kind, loving, respectful and respectable human beings, would some of these statistics change?
What if the welfare system was left entirely to the church- to give care to those who need it as they help rehabilitate them mentally and spiritually and emotionally to a place of independence and stability?
Would some of the statistics change? Would genuine racist hearts be fewer if they were trained from their earliest days in the home to love and respect all people of all nationalities? Would high crime rates fall in certain demographics if families stayed together and functioned with a purpose? Would you see fewer people with victim mentalities crippling their own futures through anger and bad attitudes and entitlement exhibited in a poor work ethic?
Don’t get me wrong, I realize this is a far more complicated issue than that, for the simple reason that we’re humans with hearts, not just behavioral robots. The pain in people’s hearts needs to be addressed, not just the poor behavioral choices.
I’m writing this post not because I think there isn’t a real racial problem. But because I often wonder what is the real cause at the root of where we are today. I’ve seen video after video of black men and women calling the Black Lives Matter organization and movement (as opposed to the simple theoretical truth) out on deception, victim mentalities, entitlement mentalities, and lack of education in the roots of the history that has built the racial tension in our current climate.
If there is this much disagreement of how (and why) the black community is treated, EVEN IN the black community, surely there is more to the story than just the idea that white Americans are in general racists, and that the “system” is rigged against people of color.
I’m asking these questions because I think truth is important, and I think questions are important, and I think balance is important. I think extremes are dangerous. I think buying news headlines instead of digging up the cause/effect roots is dangerous. I think white people shaming themselves for being white just because black people are holding them to the sins of their ancestors (or some actual racists somewhere) is dangerous. I think the governor of (was it NC?) who has just declared he will offer free health care to ALL blacks is exactly what racism is, and is just as dangerous.
I think truth is important. Just like Compassion. Sympathy. Empathy. Humility. Vulnerability. Tenderness. Love. Neighborly kindness. Respect. Dignity. Affirmation of someone’s personal experience, story, and suffering.
I’ve wondered before if my own suspicious nature when I’m driving through a low income, high crime rate neighborhood, with a largely black population is racism in myself, or a sense of reality because the statistics are what they are, and there is a reason the statistics got there. I remember my sister considering staying in an Airbnb in a neighborhood off of Lamar Ave years ago, and when I warned her it wasn’t a safe neighborhood, she stopped to ask a police officer on patrol if I was right, and this Black Female Policewoman said “no way, don’t stay here.”
Is it because I’m racist? Or is it because the same mainstream media telling everyone that whites are all racist now, is the same mainstream media who has reported over and over on higher crime rates in welfare supported black neighborhoods? And so statistically there is a sense in me to be a little more aware of my surroundings when in areas like that.
The question isn’t “where are we” but “how did we get here” and “how can we move forward”?
I think more welfare and handouts will make things worse. I think however we got here, the ONLY way to move forward at least in a genuine heart level way of love and compassion is for the culture to rediscover the importance of morality, family, and childhood training. To rediscover that there is right and wrong.
That racism is wrong.
That cops who take no care of human life and kill on impulse are evil.
That saying all cops are evil because some are is also wrong.
That heroes who step between a stranger and a bullet because that’s their job and they are there to protect and serve the citizens of this country are a right and good thing.
That cultural differences are beautiful and to be celebrated.
That human commonality and brotherhood is also right and to be celebrated.
That shaming and hating one “community” for the sake of sympathizing with another “community” is wrong.
That hating someone for their skin color, or how they talk is wrong.
That showing kindness and love to every person who steps across your path, including the one who didn’t use their blinker, or cut in line, or wouldn’t let you merge is right.
That grieving with and listening to someone in pain is right.
That holding each other accountable and spurring one another on to love and good works is right.
I’m searching just like everyone else. I hope this post doesn’t make people just think I’m part of the problem, that I’m racist, simply because I’m questioning and examining.
My heart aches for the injustice, the crimes, the pain, the persecuted, the needy, and the hurting. My heart aches for ways to show people of color who don’t already know me well enough to know, that I’m someone who loves them deeply, who would love to have any and all of them sit at my table. Who sees people at grocery stores and thinks “I wish I could hear their life story.”
My heart also aches because I know that so many of the ways people are responding and reacting to these hurts and injustices are only going to make things worse.
And that’s why I cannot just buy a news headline, a protest’s slogan, or one person’s personal experience as common law. That’s why I desperately want to find out WHY we are here, and WHAT we can do to heal, not just slap a bandaid of virtue over the wound, but deeply heal our culture. That’s why I believe so passionately that good history, economics, and political strategy/policies actually matter in being able to understand the truth of what’s happening now in this country.
But above every. Other. Thing. This is why my heart aches so desperately for the spread of the gospel of the love of Jesus Christ, because it is the ONLY thing that can institute real heart change in the persons whose hearts are vicious.
Jesus died for you. Who on earth can exhibit a better way than the One who created you, aches for you, died for you, defeated death for you, and will one day bring all wrongs to justice, FOR YOU. Because Every. Human. Being. Matters. That. Much. To. The. Living. God.
If you made it here- thanks for listening. 💙