As people rise up to declare that they will not endure or be complicit in racist, white supremacist oppression, let’s call their actions what they are: protest, freedom struggle and revolution, not rioting, looting or “disobedience” to the authorities.
Just as Trump has not risen to the stature of the presidency, religious leaders who have blindly supported and defended him have not risen to the stature of their prophetic calling. A country cannot afford to have both king (president, in America’s case) and prophets fail all at once.
What the eruption of protests – and subsequent riots – across the nation shows is that for too long black bodies have been harmed and victimized by the past and present values of white supremacy.
Confronted by the plagues of coronavirus and racism, our country needs clarity and focus from its leaders, something insecure leaders are incapable of offering.
Buried beneath the binary, overly simplistic talking points and rebuttals that ignite social media content wars is the collective cry of black people who have experienced these acts of violence for hundreds of years.
The riotous fire of a burning police precinct might not be the Pentecostal flame many of us expected, and that itself is a failure of white Christians to listen to the suffering around us.
We have a systemic problem, one that our African American brothers and sisters have tried to warn us about year after year, decade after decade, only to be ignored.
Now more than ever, we need that Breath in our bodies, that fire in our bones, that vision of an otherwise possibility that bespeaks sheer revolution and not a measured tinkering with a supposedly “broken system.”
Today I am trying my hardest to find solace in Jesus, another man who cried out to his mother, and to his father, when he was bleeding and suffocating on the lynching tree, being put to death by people who believed they had more power than he.