Fighting Hate with Hate (it doesn’t work)

All of the most spectacular sins and crimes in the history of the world are rooted in a justification that often sound like justice.

Cornelius Plantinga wrote  “Victims victimize others, who then send their own vengeance ricocheting through the larger human family. Nobody is more dangerous than a victim.” His point was not that being a victim is dangerous but that seeing your primary identity as a victim is one of the most dangerous things because it allows you commit acts of further evil and atrocity with boldness and a sense of justification and even moral superiority.

It is very important for Christians to understand and oppose this temptation. We are specifically called not to repay evil with more evil. This is so important it is repeated 3 times. Romans 12:17, I Thess. 5:15, and I Peter 3:9.

We are seeing many examples of this phenomenon play out as Critical Race Theory is more widely applied.

Here is an example from a lecturer at Yale school of Medicine, who has focused in his studies on Critical Theory. You should go to the link and see all of the disgusting tidbits: “I had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, burying their body, and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step. Like I did the world a fucking favor.  (Time stamp: 7:17)”

Why are so many of us concerned about Critical Race Theory and its various iterations? For many reasons, but one really obvious reason is because it the foundation for the growing, open, bold, unopposed racial hatred and scapegoating of “white people” as the source of all evil. The current conversation is not about uniting diverse people or ending racial hostility, and you can see this clearly by listening to the words of the people that are applying these ideas. 

This kind of talk is unapologetically evil, and determined to justify its hatred as a virtuous response to past sins. We have heard this kind of talk before leading to the gulags and concentration camps that grew out of the ideologies of hate. If you care about diversity and racial harmony and love, you should oppose this kind of thinking. 

More quotes:

This is the cost of talking to white people at all. The cost of your own life, as they suck you dry. There are no good apples out there. White people make my blood boil. (Time stamp: 6:45)

White people are out of their minds and they have been for a long time.  (Time stamp: 17:06)

We are now in a psychological predicament, because white people feel that we are bullying them when we bring up race. They feel that we should be thanking them for all that they have done for us. They are confused, and so are we. We keep forgetting that directly talking about race is a waste of our breath. We are asking a demented, violent predator who thinks that they are a saint or a superhero, to accept responsibility. It ain’t gonna happen. They have five holes in their brain. It’s like banging your head against a brick wall. It’s just like sort of not a good idea. (Time stamp 17:13)

We need to remember that directly talking about race to white people is useless, because they are at the wrong level of conversation. Addressing racism assumes that white people can see and process what we are talking about. They can’t. That’s why they sound demented. They don’t even know they have a mask on. White people think it’s their actual face. We need to get to know the mask. (Time stamp 17:54)

The Racial Reality of Policing- Beware of Simple Solutions

It is dangerously attractive look for simple solutions to complex problems. And it is tempting to cling to them even against the evidence when they are offered.  Our country seems to be divided on the issue of homocide in the black community. And this division falls in line with a love of simple ideological answers.

Liberals are quick to blame the police and describe the situation as “open season” on black men.  To be sure, they have a growing body of evidence, much of it now on Youtube, that many police departments have been abusing their authority under the purview of the indifferent eyes of the white community. The facts tell a tale that blacks are disproportionately sent to prison for even minor crimes. And sadly, the list goes on from there. And this generates a distrust that undermines even sincere attempts for justice in black neighborhoods. Read the article for some troubling accounts from detective Conlon about times when his attempts to gain convictions for crimes committed by blacks against other blacks were unsuccessful.

Conservatives are quick to blame the black community and point out the disparity of numbers. If black lives matter, why are protestors focusing on the 129 black men killed by legal intervention (the number is likely much higher), and not focusing on the 6,739 black men murdered by mostly other young black men? They ask, why is there so little discussion absence of black fathers and the erosion of families?  Many conservatives are quick to discuss personal responsibility,  and act as if the only place to find racism is in the media.

This article by retired NYPD detective Edward Conlon is interesting to me because he acknowledges problems on many sides of this issue. Further, he suggests that those problems play against each other in some tragic ways.  They not only contribute to the problem, but work to hinder any practical solutions.  I have often felt like I was in the middle on this issue.  I have found myself occasionally listening to both sides on these issues and alternately agreeing or shaking my head in frustration.  It is frustrating when when we only see what we want to see, or repeat what our chosen news outlets tell us.

Last year Ta-Nehesi Coates wrote a lengthy and moving piece in the Atlantic on “A Case For Reparations.”  His essay was powerful and worth reading, but in the end I suspect he falls into the trap of oversimplification.  In a follow up article he wrote, “There is massive, overwhelming evidence for the proposition that white supremacy is the only thing wrong with black people.” That is to say, the black community is not responsible for any of its problems.  Coates is not alone in that kind of simplistic approach. There are plenty of white conservatives that would suggest the opposite, that whites aren’t responsible for anything wrong in the black community either. The cops are the problem. Blacks are the problem. A or B. Choose.  What is worse,  both groups are at risk of viewing even factual statements made by the other side with suspicion.  If you accuse the police of racism you must hate law and justice. If you suggest that the black community has an internal epidemic of violence, you must not care about police brutality. Either you are a black racist or a white racist.

I believe that the reality is far more complex, and it will only be when both sides acknowledge their contribution to the current mess that we have any hope of finding a solution. When someone points the finger instead of accepting responsibility, they loose credibility in the discussion and undermine any motivation to deal with their own problems.

Edward Conlon makes a good point, there were 2 reports released after Ferguson, and we need to read them both to get a clear picture.

“In March, Attorney General Eric Holder released two reports on Ferguson. One covered in great detail the shooting death of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson; the other described the broader patterns of policing in the city. Partisans have tended to choose one report or the other to support their reading of events.

“No, Brown wasn’t shot in the back while attempting to surrender to a white cop, nor was he shot for jaywalking. He had just robbed a store, and he had punched Officer Wilson in the face and tried to steal his gun. In the wake of Brown’s death, Ferguson burned because people believed a lie; because many still believe it, cops have been shot there, and the threat of riot remains.

“The other report showed that Ferguson was a speed trap for people going nowhere, six square miles of mostly black people, mostly poor, with 50 cops, almost all white, who were ordered to milk them for every possible nickel by white city managers. Black people were further bled dry in a punitive cycle of fines and fees; missed court dates led to arrest warrants, which left them increasingly incapable of having a chance at a productive life.” (emphasis mine)

Ben Carson recently wrote an editorial on the “Black Lives Matter” movement.  He points to the complexity of these issues. He refuses to see this as a problem with a single cause. He points the finger at our schools, Hollywood, Washington, crack dealers, Democrats, and Republicans. I think he is on to something.

Source: The Racial Reality of Policing – WSJ

The Mixed Story of Racism: A Black Judge’s Sentencing Speech to 3 White Murderers

U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves, for the Southern District of Mississippi. Courtesy of cleoinc.org

 

A Black Mississippi Judge’s Breathtaking Speech To 3 White Murderers : Code Switch : NPR.

Wow.

This is worth your time to read. 3 white men in Mississippi were sentenced for the brutal and racially motivated killing of 48 year old James Anderson.  These men were involved in an escalating pattern of violence that echoes the “ni&&er hunts” that have punctuated this state’s past.  Beware the article does use the “N” word a number of times in reflecting on the evils of racism and the troubled history of that state.

“In Without Sanctuary, historian Leon Litwack writes that between 1882 and 1968 an estimated 4,742 blacks met their deaths at the hands of lynch mobs”

According to the judge, these acts were committed by young men who were described by others, ‘as “a fine young man,” “a caring person,” “a well mannered man” who is truly remorseful and wants to move on with his life … a very respectful … a good man … a good person … a lovable, kindhearted teddy bear who stands in front of bullies…’  The men were incriminated by video evidence and their own guilty pleas.

The events themselves reveal that there is more need for progress.  The end of the speech shows that change has been on the march and this is encouraging.  There is a satisfying irony in this, that only enhances the justice of the proceedings.

“Today, though, the criminal justice system (state and federal) has proceeded methodically, patiently and deliberately seeking justice. Today we learned the identities of the persons unknown … they stand here publicly today. The sadness of this day also has an element of irony to it: Each defendant was escorted into court by agents of an African-American United States Marshal, having been prosecuted by a team of lawyers which includes an African-American AUSA from an office headed by an African-American U.S. attorney — all under the direction of an African-American attorney general, for sentencing before a judge who is African-American, whose final act will be to turn over the care and custody of these individuals to the BOP [Federal Bureau of Prisons] — an agency headed by an African-American.

“Today we take another step away from Mississippi’s tortured past … we move farther away from the abyss.”