No Really, He Could Have Been My Son
Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man, was chased and gunned down as he took an afternoon run because several White men thought he fit the description of a burglar. Those are the details and the facts. Period.
Too often, African American mothers feel their hearts drop and we begin to literally sob when we hear of another shooting of an unarmed Black male. We literally see our husbands', our boys' faces, flash on the television screen. These murders can literally be our loved ones.
But some of you, my white sisters, immediately think that “those boys” are different than mine. Because you think that I am “different” than other Black people. You have met me, gotten to know me, and have established a relationship with me. Whether consciously or subconsciously, you have labeled me as “different” than them.
But I’m not. I am them. My son is him. My son is a corn row, white tee and baggy jeans wearing 20 year old that occasionally drives with his music loud enough to be obnoxious. He also still cries to me when he is overwhelmed, plays video games, needs help filling out paperwork and asks me what’s for dinner. He is a loving, harmless man worthy of respect and life.
Sisters, until you understand that people are killing innocent boys, not thug criminals, you are part of the problem.
How can you help? Glad you asked. You can start by taking the suggestions of my friend, Lynee Bolton, posted on her FaceBook page:
All day I’ve been reading comments from predominantly white people saying that they “don’t know what to say,” in regard to the modern-day lynching of Ahmaud Arbery & other injustices that plague people of color.
Friends, it is 2020.
It is time to know what to say.
Oblivion is no longer acceptable.
We need allies in this fight.
It is time to wake up to the injustices occurring around you. I encourage you to take a journey toward empathy, racial reconciliation, & dismantling your own bias & racism.
It is time for YOU to do the hard work of leaning in & beginning to understand. If you are a Christian, WE should be on the front lines of this Kingdom matter.
There are great writers, pastors, & truth-tellers for you to follow, documentaries to watch, & most importantly, relationships with people of color you must pursue if you want to truly be an ally of doing the work of racial reconciliation. You need to do this to help give you the history, vocabulary, & the reality of the injustice against those who are marginalized in this country. It will be hard work, but you can do it!
We all have agency & influence. We all can use our voice for good. I’m exhorting each of us to do better! We begin by positioning ourselves to listen and to learn.
Here are a few I recommend to begin following immediately.
Jesus Said Love
Sandra Grafe Glahn
Jackie Hill Perry
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross (available on Prime)
The warmth of other suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Woke Church by Eric Mason
The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics, and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, and other European Immigrants Out of America by Daniel Okrent
We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nahisi Coates
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Slavery by Another Name by Douglas A. Blackmon
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Baracoon: The Story of the Last Black Cargo by Zora Neale Hurston
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Letters from a Birmingham Jail written by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Oneness Embraced by Tony Evans
The Kingdom Agenda by Tony Evans
Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore (there are also 2 additional books after this title)
Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind by Thomas C. Oden
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas
The Savage, My Kinsmen by Elisabeth Elliot
Mother to Son: Letters to a Black Boy on Identity and Hope by Jasmine L. Holmes
Not yet read:
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8