I read this article this evening by Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star on the death of Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor. The language in some of it is a little rough, but he calls out the black community for continuing to celebrate violence through hip hop culture and for killing it’s own men. Whitlock, a black sports columnist, is absolutely right and what he is saying needs to be said. I am thankful for his courage. Here’s an excerpt:
But we don’t want to deal with ourselves. We take great joy in prescribing medicine to cure the hate in other people’s hearts. Meanwhile, our self-hatred, on full display for the world to see, remains untreated, undiagnosed and unrepentant.
Our self-hatred has been set to music and reinforced by a pervasive culture that promotes a crab-in-barrel mentality.
You’re damn straight I blame hip hop for playing a role in the genocide of American black men. When your leading causes of death and dysfunction are murder, ignorance and incarceration, there’s no reason to give a free pass to a culture that celebrates murder, ignorance and incarceration.
I live in Montgomery, AL, the home of the Civil Rights Movement in America. But, something has gone terribly wrong with the progression of blacks out of slavery and segragation and into mainstream life in America. Many have made the transition, but many more are caught in an underclass of hopelessness, violence, drugs, and teenaged sex. It is being reinforced by music, culture, and entertainment. It is wrong and it is leading to the death of a generation of young people. It is a tragedy.
I am a white man. I am not supposed to say those things because I will be accused of being a racist. But, I am not. I am not a racist because I do not believe that there is anything inherent black people that is causing this tragedy to occur. I am not a racist because I am not using this information as a bullet point on why whites are superior to blacks. I am not a racist because I am broken hearted about what I see happening in front of me and because I pray that it changes. I am a Christian and I know that a proud people that has been through so much degradation, humiliation, and bondage in this land from the hands of white masters is now destroying itself because of the bondage of sin and wrong belief. This obviously does not include all blacks. Heavens no! The vast majority are living good lives and are productive citizens. But, there is a generation of young people that are becoming caught up in a belief system that says that it is better to "keep it real" than it is to be righteous. This is not just a black thing. It is my problem as well because the people that are destroying themselves are my fellow man. They are children of God and I am my brother’s keeper.
Honestly, I lay a lot of blame for this at the feet of the white evangelical church in the South. That might sound like a strong statement, but our support of and acquiesance to institutionalized racism up until the 1960’s and 70’s did more to damage the cause of Christ and the souls of man in our country that anything that I can possibly think of. We told a whole generation of blacks and whites that Jesus was not the answer because He didn’t make a bit of difference in how we treated others. It was okay to hate your brother as long as he was a different color than you. This is still having an effect. Can the predominately white church in America partner with black Christians to make a difference in the scourge of violence upon our country? Can we find ways to REALLY come together? Crime has shot up in our own city. Can white and black Christians, who maybe live in different neighborhoods work together to save a generation and turn things around?
If this problem is going to be solved, it will be solved by the church. Not just the black church trying to rescue it’s own neighborhoods. But, ALL believers working together to rescue those who are destroying themselves. Because, we are all brothers and we are all responsible for one another. If ONE person is hopeless, in bondage, or deceived, should we not do what we can to reverse the wrongs of the past, come together as brothers in Christ, and address the problems in our communities head on?
I applaud Jason Whitlock for what he has said. I agree with him. But, the problem is not just a black problem. It is ALL of our problem and we are ALL responsible. Because we have the power of the Holy Spirit and there is amazing power in unity, repentance, and reconcilation, we need to come together and see what God can do. As we do this, maybe we can address the issues in predominately white communities as well, which are HUGE, especially in the South. It isn’t a racial issue, it’s a sin issue. And, I don’t know what else to do about that than to minister the truth and grace of Jesus Christ in a real way. That starts by recognizing my own blindness, rolling up my sleeves, and seeing what I can do to make a difference. Problems don’t go away by themselves. They have to be confronted.