Black Lives Matter: A Look At Racism From A White Guy’s Perspective
In light of all the racism, injustice, and everything going on in our country right now, I can’t say that I relate to or even fully understand what the African American community is going through, but I also can’t remain silent.
The injustice and inequality continually infecting our society is sickening. As if the oppression and racism of generations past weren’t enough, it just seems to continue recurring over and over again.
When will we treat each other kindly? Fairly? HUMANELY!?
The Coronavirus has infected hundreds of thousands, but dare I say, racism, bigotry, and hatred have infected far more!
Even just in our lifetime, we’ve seen countless examples of injustices.
Things that can’t be explained (although many try to justify them).
Things that shouldn’t have ever happened the way they did.
Black lives taken.
People like Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Geroge Floyd, and so many more!
Things that should never happen again…but sadly, if history is any indication, very well may.
The other day I went for a bike ride to clear my head. It was a nice night; not too hot, not too cold; the perfect night for pedaling around town. We’ve only lived in our current house a little over a year now, so this area is still somewhat new to us. We don’t know all the different roads, or where they lead, or what’s around every corner.
Just off of our street, is a long dirt road. It’s filled with bends and curves, so I thought it’d make for a great road to ride down during sunset. As I headed down it, I noticed it veered off at one point. I had never been down that direction before, so I took my leisurely stroll as the perfect opportunity to check it out.
As I pedaled down that road some distance, I observed and enjoyed the peaceful nature surrounding me. Before long, I saw some headlights coming toward me, so I made sure to hug the shoulder a bit and gave plenty of clearance for the vehicle to drive past me. As they approached, I realized it was actually a gas-powered golf cart.
A middle-aged white couple was driving it and as they came up next to me, I smiled and gave a head nod, but before I could do or say much more, the woman firmly said “Stop!”
Rather caught off guard, I stopped pedaling and removed one of my AirPods. She quickly proceeded with her firm tone, demanding, “What are you doing!?”
Still confused, I simply said, “Just riding my bike.”
She went on to explain to me that I was trespassing and the road I was on was privately owned and that everyone who lived back there owned guns.
At this point, I started getting really uncomfortable, but I decided to not allow the situation to escalate any further and simply said, “Ok, I just live right over there, I’ll turn back now.” to which she stated, “Move along.”
She then drove to the end of the street where it met with the other main road and sat and waited for me to pedal all the way back past her back towards my house. I tried to give another head nod and told them to have a good night, but they just sped off without an acknowledgment.
I’m not sure why she felt the need to threaten me with guns, and part of me still wonders what the heck they’re hiding back there, but that’s for another day…lol
Now, why am I telling you this story? What does it have to do with all the racism and injustice I was talking about here earlier?
Well, it’s not the same thing at all, but as a young, white man, in a predominately white city, this may have been the closest thing I’ve encountered to racism. Obviously, this example wasn’t actually racism because they were the same race as I am, but the prejudgement and straight-up rudeness really got me thinking..
I’m by no means claiming I even remotely know what it’s like to be judged by something you have no control over like the color of your skin. And I also am not trying to minimize the severity of racism to a 5-minute, awkward confrontation from a grumpy old woman.
However, I do know how it made me feel. The disgust and disdain in her eyes and voice pierced through me like I was complete dirt to her. I was doing nothing wrong (aside from apparently trespassing on her road even though I couldn’t even see a single house yet) and I didn’t say anything mean or provoking to them, yet she had made up her mind before she even spoke to me that I was bad news.
This tiny example ended up being harmless and innocent when all was said and done. We did not get in a fistfight. The police were not called. No blood or tears were shed. But this kind of behavior is the type of thing that so many black people (and other minorities) go through every single day!
This type of encounter is probably so common for some people, that they wouldn’t even think twice about it.
It’s like getting pinched. If an adult were to get pinched accidentally while working on something, it probably wouldn’t be that huge of a deal to us because we have either experienced or heard about much greater pain in our lives. We may have broken a bone before or been cut deeply or experienced some other amount of pain that allows us to just kind of brush off a little pinch.
BUT if you have ever been around a 2-year-old when they get pinched, most likely you’ll see a very different reaction. They’ll probably scream and cry and act like the world is coming to an end. (So, I guess in this analogy, I am the 2-year-old!)
As adults, we’re just so accustomed to little bumps and bruises in life so we tend to simply move on because we are used to it.
I feel like that’s where minorities are at with conversations/confrontations like these.
They are forced to brush off stuff like this so frequently, and it’s WRONG!
Then we hear about the situations that escalate so much more. We hear about George Floyd and watch as people just try to explain it away.
It’s infuriating to me that just because someone is black, he/she is often thought of or treated as less than someone who is white. Why!?
This is NOT ok!
It’s the year 2020! How are we still so incapable as humans to figure out this thing called UNITY!?
It’s not about your kind vs my kind; it’s HUMAN kind!
It’s not about this race vs that race; it’s the HUMAN race!
If you’re white, now is our chance to stand with black people. Black lives matter. That’s not just a catchy phrase or movement. Yes, all lives matter, but right now, black lives are the ones that need redeeming!
If your next-door neighbor’s house was on fire and they asked to borrow your hose, would you say, ‘Well my house needs work too…I need to fix that window and repave my driveway and clean my gutters.’?!? That’s preposterous, right?
Yes, your house matters too. Yes, you probably have things that need work, but right now, there’s something more urgent happening next door.
There’s something more pressing happening to your neighbor.
Lend your neighbor a hand.
White people, reach out to a black person and ask how you can help.
Black people, please don’t hold all of us responsible for the acts of a few.
White people, seek to learn what it’s like for minorities.
Black people, educate us. Tell us what it’s like and how we can stand alongside you.
White people, we must strive for reconciliation.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39
We’re Matt and Dayna. Life Enthusiasts in the pursuit of a life enriched in God’s sustaining grace, empowering others to pursue the same. Two very imperfect people who wake up with bad breath, have days (sometimes weeks) of losing our patience, modeling to the world, each other, and our children, a life that points to Christ through our imperfection.
Most days you can find us chasing after our little heartbeats, Luella and Chase (4&2) This dynamic duo plays a big part in the heart behind The Pause Pursuit; a ministry empowering couples and families to slow down to pursue God and each other. In a media-saturated world, the comparison game is real, but so is real life. The Pause Pursuit is a safe place that combines the two. Where real life meets the sustaining power and pursuit of a real Jesus.
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With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, our nation is in a state of uncertainty, chaos, and fear.