If ever there was a societal response to Black Lives Matter, it came today. Tamir Rice, a young Black boy was killed by a police officer with no discussion because he was waving a possibly real toy gun around in a park and police were called. Today, after legal analysis, the policeman was fund not guilty. All you have to ask yourself is this: if a 11 year old White boy was waving a possibly real gun around, would police have been called at all? If that same White boy had the police called on him, would the policeman have shot him without a word, barely out of his car? If there were videos of this event where the police officer at the scene basically deliver his own version of “drive by justice”, would that officer have gotten away with it?
As someone who has worked with actually dangerous White children, my unequivocal answer is no. An eleven year old White boy would have been told to put the gun down by the person at the scene. End of story. If he had actually had a real gun or shot someone, he would have been presumed to be mentally ill, and they would have tried to talk him into surrendering. If the boy had fired at the policeman, then and only then, would the officer have shot back. Then it would be considered a tragedy, and the officer would have apologized to the family and regretted it til his dying days.
The fact that the police found the officer’s actions were “justifiable” simply means that we’re asking the wrong question. The question is “would any of this event have happened under other circumstances?”. As long as that answer is “no”, and it is here, then “all lives” may matter, but Black ones do not. Logically, then either, all lives do not matter, or Black lives aren’t thought of as lives at all. That is the real truth in America.
I have run out of words to say how dysfunctional, how bad, how evil , how wrong, and how sinful this is. I have run out of expecting that justice will prevail. I don’t even know where to go from here regarding the issue. I have run out of emotional energy trying to deal with this issue. Tonight, and tomorrow, and the day after that, some Black parent doesn’t have that option. They will have to get up and look at their child and know how bad things are — even under a Black President that Whites are so afraid of because he might take their power. In fact, I think it all comes back to that. Racism is to America would Carl Jung would call our “shadow side” — the part of ourselves we don’t want to admit we have and go out of our way to deny.
Racism of this magnitude is fear. It is the fear that Blacks might ask for actual justice for the KKK and lynchings and slavery and dogs and firehoses and fleeing suspects shot in the back. We know as a nation what we have done. It hasn’t been hidden. White society knows that with a Black man in power, if justice were delivered using the present system, there would be a lot of dead White folks.
The time has come for us to stop asking Black folks to act differently so this won’t happen. The time has come to stop blaming them for being morally inferior, because clearly they are not. The time has come for us to repent and repair and give mercy because — despite our fears — punishment has not come. And, if we’re Christians, we had better do it soon, before we meet our final Judge. If we think this could get ugly, that could be worse.
Meanwhile, on this planet, in this country, when Voting Rights are threatened, when Affirmative Action is denied as needed, when racial profiling is encouraged, when Back children are treated like this, we need to stand up for those whose rights and character have been so denied for so long. We don’t need to dig ourselves into a hole any further. We must protect Black lives and we must treat them with the dignity that God and our Constitution say they deserve. We must not, under any circumstances, let this kind of thing go on. We must listen, and we must do the work to fix this.