Archive for July, 2013

I am, like some, if not most of you, perplexed, profoundly disappointed, positively angered, and even peeved at the verdict in the George Zimmerman Trial. Yes. I understand that the prosecution was unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, Zimmerman’s intention to kill Trayvon in cold blood. Based on the circumstances as I have come to understand them, Zimmerman saw a young black teen dressed in the urban fashion of the day – the hoodie – walking through hs neighborhood. He assumed Trayvon Martin was up to no good, even calling 911 to report this “suspicious” person. Zimmerman follows him even after the authorities admonish him to cease. He confronts the young man, a struggle ensues and in the end, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin is dead. Shot point-blank by George Zimmerman. Now, this sounds like a murder to me. But yet, the jury did not, or could not see it this way. Not Guilty. A justifiable homicide perpetrated in self-defense.

Brothers and Sisters, it seems that everywhere we go, we have to prove our right to be there. We still have to possess a “pass” to be in a place and time. Even President Barack Obama has been challenged as to his “place” in American history. Remember the “birther movement”? Trayvon was killed because he was apparently “not in his place” as interpreted by George Zimmerman. There is great disagreement on this point, mostly along racial lines. Most blacks say that Trayvon was profiled. Most whites will say that George had a right to question confront and even kill Trayvon because of his erred assessment that Trayvon did not belong in that area. They will say that George had a right to “stand his ground” based on his assumption of danger. A fatal assumption. A tragic error in judgement.

And so, we’ve seen the masses of the people take to the streets…. angry. protesting. civilly disobedient. To borrow an old civil rights adage, we are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Yet the Word lets us know that George Zimmerman is not getting off…

“Anyone tormented by the guilt of murder will seek refuge in the grave; let no one hold them back” Proverbs 28:17

‘Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19

And so, as Christians, we need to stand down.

Now I am not at all suggesting that we abandon the fight against social injustice. After all, the struggle continues but always to God be the Glory…. and Black folk know all too well about assumptions and how it can lead to egregious circumstances, hurt feelings and irreparable social damage. I am saying that while we stand down, the consciousness of the nation has demanded dialogue and introspect among the citizens thus you may consider this a situational analysis from a Christian perspective.

How many times, brothers, have you walked onto the elevator and the white women clutch even the more tightly, her purse? How many times have you, while on your way to a meeting or presentation, have you been mistaken for the bellboy, maitre’ D’, security, waiter, attendant et. al…. How many times have you been followed – with a pocket full of money- in the mall….. How many.. O how many times have you been pulled over by Johnny Law because they assumed you were in the wrong area or up to no good? Or at work, where your so-called white friends make those jokes about black people and then look you dead in the eye and explain to you that you’re different and they are not talking about you.  Assumptions.

Profiling is a reality to black men…. The responsible black father of sons would be remiss if he did not have the talk about how to conduct themselves with the police… It is as important as the inevitable “sex talk”…. Because as my mother would say at each victory of the civil rights movement, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”…. I am not saying we hold hate in our hearts. As followers of Jesus we are mandated to “Love ye one to another”. I am saying that as we move about this world, we must be aware that even in this day and age, even as there is a black man and his family in the White House,  folk still make assumptions based on race. Yes, beloved, you can adjudicate and make or change laws, but you cannot change the hearts of people.

And then again, beloved isn’t it amazing that even as we protest, jump up and down and scream against profiling, that we are the biggest profilers on the earth?? Oh you know how we get… My brothers see one another in the street and we give the side eye, looking each other up and down, making sure we are “right”…. Sisters cutting their eyes at one another saying “who do she think she is” all because sisters dress is cut a certain way or her hair is done or the eye shadow color is different than hers….. Reality shows are now taking our profiling tendencies and broadcasting them across the world for all to see that black folk are the champions of profiling and assumption….

We profile one another based on skin color. Light skin, dark skin…. how is it that the darker brethren are made to feel inferior to those black folk who have lighter skin…. Some of y’all don’t want your daughter to marry Tyrone…. it doesnt matter that he is top of the class… has a job… is drug free… is not a hoodlum or a thug… no not at all, he may have it going on except for one thing… he’s too dark. Yes, we profile based on skin color, geography, what kind of car we drive or not…. frat or no… soror or no… we profile even unto the hair texture and style we choose to wear…. Black people are the consummate profilers of black people and our assumptions derived from that profile are in alot of cases even more hurtful and more deadly than that of the police and our white brethren. Fatal assumptions.

Black folk are killing each other in droves based on profiles… assumptions…. you wear red so I gotta kill you because I wear blue. I have to shoot you because you live on the south side and I live on the north side. Our profiles of one another are making the funeral man very busy and very rich… The hood is full of mothers who, like Sabryna Fulton, have lost a son to gun violence. The only difference is that an assumption by black folk lead to the tragic loss of life. Mothers are seeking justice. Mother’s are asking where is the march for the killing of my own son at the hands of his own????  Why is the outrage so strong when the “other man” profiles and life is lost. Our sons were also profiled… assumptions were made and the result is fatal. The only difference is that the perpetrator was another black man….. Where is Justice?

“Fools base their thoughts on foolish assumptions, so their conclusions will be wicked madness” – Ecclesiastes 10:13

In the church,  where you would think folk are more sensitive to the hurtful nature of false assumptions, we are prolific profilers. We make hurtful assumptions based on appearance and even worse, gossip innuendos. We hoop, holler and dance every week. We walk around all deep but cannot even lend a helping hand in the name of Christian charity because we are too busy profiling and assuming the worse in people.  I heard a story about a pastor who was assigned a new church…. thousands of members…. On the Sunday when he was to be introduced to the congregation, he decided to dress like a homeless man. He came to church early and sat around watching the congregants arrive. He got up, walked around to shake hands… no one would shake his hands… He asked for some change for food… no one would reach in their pocket to help…. Some congregants whispered behind his back…. others looked on his clothing in severe disdain.. others just straight laughed…… Church got started and the choir sang songs….. then the assistant pastor takes the mic. He announces that they have a new pastor and asked the congregation to stand and welcome their new man of God….. As the congregation stood, they opened with thunderous applause – applause that began to fade when they saw the “homeless” man walking toward the podium. By the time he reached the mic, the entire church was stone cold silent. The pastor stood at the podium, surveyed his new congregation and began his message with Matthew 24: 42 -51

42“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

45“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

He also shared Hebrews 13:2 -Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

Would you profile Jesus? “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13:32. Would you look upon his face and make assumptions based on your assessment of how you think he should look? His hair? his clothes, the way he walked??? The color of his skin???

That assumption could be fatal for your soul……