The Answer: Why do Black People Tend to Think Whites Are Racist Or Hateful Toward Blacks?

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First things first, the goal in answering is NOT to bring about anyone’s emotion. This isn’t about morality therefore in this discussion it doesn’t matter if anyone thinks a particular treatment is tragic or justified. A psychologist or economist limits their emotion and opinion in their analyses. Yes, they consider it in their notes. But in order for them to see more clearly and objectively they leave as much out as possible. Too much emotion may cloud and control our reasoning, as C.S. Lewis once framed it. So this “answer” is not about justification of riots, protests, cop killing, slavery, buying candy, or talking back to parents.

How am I somewhat objective and qualified?

If you follow me on social media you may notice that I have never talked about race issues. This is because (1) I’d rather write about Jesus; (2) honestly, I’ve grown to feel ashamed and embarrassed that I am black (something that applies to this topic but may be elaborated on in a future post) and (3) it always seemed pointless coming from me. That is, people would think I’m biased because I am black. I would NOT get upset at that either. I can’t really blame others for that natural reaction. If a Boston resident tries to tell me how great Tom Brady is…I’m naturally going to be skeptical because of course that guy loves Brady and The Patriots. However, I am opening up now because I realize much of the stuff I know isn’t known by many whites and what I can say isn’t being articulated by many blacks.

In today’s world, many people on both sides are not good with listening and being OBJECTIVE. In my experience black people get too emotional inside their bubble that they can’t have an objective discussion with white people. There has grown an innate level of distrust. Many whites, whether they care or not, have a hard time as well because they have natural blinders and historical privileges that prevent them from seeing objective as well. There is nothing inherently wrong with either side in their reasons because it’s not really a conscious effort. It’s naturally subconscious. For the past 50 years, most of this is due to the economic and sociological effects of our society.

What do I mean by sociological and economic effects? I’ll explain. This answer will be in 5 different phases: Micro, Macro, Familiarity of Stereotypes, Indifference, and Dr. King’s Frustration.

We’ve got to do a little ground work before we start though:

My professional career is in community and economic development. This is the process and policies by which a nation, state, county or city improves the economic, political, and social well-being of its people. So what my company does is try to bring companies, large and small, to our state. Jobs, capital investment, and revenue are the goal. And darnit we will sell this state the best we can. With statistics, innovation, and persuasion, and more.

Various KEY factors come into play, such as transportation, quality of life, location, money, branding, etc. If you look it up, you’ll see that your own city and county has its own economic development department, chamber of commerce, and other affiliates that are focused on this initiative together. Economic development directly affects the current generation AND the generations long after it. 

Ok now, do we understand that? If so, we can move on.

1. The Micro

Now let’s begin to answer the question of why many black people see whites as responsible AND what is the reason of how much of the black community is where it is today.

We’ve got to go to history of course.

Set race aside and just view it in an Economic development lens. Let’s go back to Tulsa – however, not 2016, but 1921. There was an area in Tulsa that was booming! It was a black community. It was rare because of course the odds weren’t in their favor but they just luckily rolled a 7 with the dice multiple times. As one of the most successful and wealthiest black communities in the United States during the early 20th Century, it was popularly known as America’s “Black Wall Street” until the Tulsa race riot of 1921. They had black lawyers, doctors, teachers, black-owners, entertainment, oil, etc. (Now again, ignore the race factor for now…it doesn’t matter for this analysis piece). Then one night the outside white people grew too jealous, came in and killed many of the successful people and burned down their businesses and streets. It was horrific. They even punished the few white people around for not doing it sooner.

Then the white political and business leaders proactively prevented that community from reconstruction or picking themselves up. This wasn’t hard because due to rights back then black people didn’t have much of that ability anyways.

So think economic development: They are SCREWED for about the next 100 YEARS. For the next 60 years those blacks won’t know about diving into the community and economic development process. How could they? Their schools are IMMEDIATELY affected. Their job structure is shattered. Their families destroyed. They are currently crippled as a society. Not only that but also their kids’, kids’, kids’ are also now crippled. It becomes a generational snowball effect due to that initial occurrence and the laws established for years to come. There was no hope for them and it becomes too hard to thrive. Therefore, poverty in Tulsa. Therefore, violence because that’s all you have and know due to having to survive from being poor and having no good education or possibly/knowledge of escaping. (Although, poverty doesn’t correlate to violence). What happened doesn’t just end in a year…..it resonates within the fabric of a society for years to come in the form of both emotional distress AND economic instability (incorporating education, companies, businesses, families, crime, etc).

In my job, bringing in 1 company positively affects that entire community – their family benefit, the nearby retail and restaurants benefits, the schools benefit, tourism boosts, more companies follow suit, and more. This occurs positively for the next generations in that area as well. Black Wall Street had the opposite case. And it was not a single company. It was ALL of it.

That is  an objective analysis of cause and effect. Again, it doesn’t matter if what happened was bad or good in this analysis. FYI, this happened in other places as well. We must understand this “momentum effect” in this micro example in order to understand the answer in its fullness.

2. The Macro

To keep low with word-count I’m going to bypass the macro. It has similar cadence to the micro piece but without the violence and is, of course, on a larger scale. Please ask me in person or on Facebook if you want that piece as well.

3. Familiarity Of Stereotypes

I grew up around Blacks and Hispanics, but over the past 10 years of my life at least 95% of my friends and acquaintances are white. So it is extremely hard for me to stereotype people in either group because I have lived life with so many different types and I know their souls and hearts. The way society is laid out (because of white flight, economic structure, convenience, and family history) black people have been left to live amongst one another. So those black people naturally HAVE to CATEGORIZE all whites into the same group. That is how a human brain works.  This doesn’t happen to me because I have lived among others.

White people can easily get categorized by what is seen on television, social media, oImage result for racismr in stories told by the older generations. For example, I’m sure none of us know any native Cambodians personally because we don’t live around them. So we naturally group Cambodians into one category of people. Now we know people in Cambodia are all different with various opinions, personalities, languages, and subcultures. However, in our minds we have tendencies to group them together don’t we?

4. Indifference

The disbelief from much of the black community that a shooting or possible wrong-doing will gather positive help from the white community is from past years of “neglect” from that side and their current state of “emotionlessness”. That continual reaction from many white people makes it hard for many black people to listen/trust simply one white person with good intentions, when numerous other whites have failed that quota.
Let me explain.

If my mom had cancer and a stranger had cancer I’d show much more sympathy for my mother than the stranger. I naturally have a different level of connectivity and value for my mom.

One group continues to uniformly state “we should wait for the facts after these shootings before doing anything”. I agree, in theory. In a perfect world we should always wait and diagnose a situation. However, this isn’t a perfect world. Those same people flip-flop depending on what the crime is and who did the crime.

There is no objectivity in our reactions. We all react different and with different poise depending on what it is. The less subjective empathy I have, the more ability I have to refrain and diagnose the situation and wait for the facts. But when it’s my mom or a friend it becomes tough to control.

For the bomber “suspect” at the Boston Marathon – we wanted his head immediately. With a man “accused” of child molestation we want to give him the death penalty once he’s caught. When a college athlete is “accused” of rape we want him immediately kicked off the team before the trial begins. All the while, many in the black people continually watch a black person killed (justifiably or not) and those same people show unwavering objectivity and poise the entire time. That shows a different level of respect and love.

Black people see the immediate reaction of emotionlessness and interpret it as white people not caring.

In Romans 1 we see that God’s indifference is a very scary form of wrath; different from violence. Hate is NOT just someone spitting on another person. Hate isn’t only the KKK hanging someone. Hate can also be passive. Even Satan knows that. Indifference OVER TIME can be interpreted as unloving and hatred. That’s what happens psychologically in the minds of a people. So we can’t blame them that much, can we?

5. When Dr. King was Frustrated

MLK Jr. led protests in a manner that would “shame” those who were discriminating. People like to say his method was non-violence. Not really –  his method was shame and he used nonviolence to achieve it. His tactic was that if he could have people feel ashamed for how they thought and acted, it’ll force them to change. Read his writings.

What’s interesting is that in his later years when King went to Chicago, he tried his same tactics but the white people beating them didn’t feel ashamed at all. It was different from the South. And it scared MLK. When a people aren’t aware enough to have the ability or respect to feel shame toward the treatment of someone else, then that is when something is off. Which begs the question of what the next step would be.

One friend I debated correctly claimed that ‘King’s tactic did work in the South though, because it was more saturated with Christians’. If that is true then it still proves my point: We, as a nation, are less Christian today. Therefore, King’s tactics of shame won’t work as effectively here anymore. That said, our nation is more like Chicago in that King was scared because it was seemingly and hopelessly in a state of chaotic reasoning that shocked him. It left Martin Luther King afraid and scrabbling for a new tactic. That’s where many in the black society would say we have been growing in subconsciously [through the eyes of blacks and whites]. Even in the past 50 years, before social media.

As scripture says, in the last days nations will turn their backs from Christ. America is doing that. Hence my friend’s point flows into this – shame isn’t working here anymore. hat’s why there are frustrated protests (good or bad) and riots (good or bad). That’s the only next step people can think of on the fly. We all have the same natural tendencies when trapped into a corner for so long.

In conclusion, we cannot just look at “today’s” knee jerk reaction of the black community. We must look holistically. This is similar to chaos theory. It’s ALL connected. This isn’t about black on black crime BUT black on black crime is a subset of the results of history. It’s not about Charlotte. Charlotte can be 99% wrong…but it doesn’t matter. The deep damage was already done.

This isn’t out of the blue. It’s a past 300-400 years thing. It’s a 1920s and 1980s thing. Look at old Richard Pryor or Dave Chappelle stand-up and old low budget black films from the 1970s-1990s. They are screaming and crying about the same killings. And no one cared. Listen to R&B songs from that time period. They were constantly crying about it and asking for help and America turned it’s head. They didn’t have Facebook Live to make it public. I’m not making this stuff up. So little by little day by day that people group grew to a particular view of white people. Skepticism. Distrust.

The solution is another story, but when a black person tells a white person they don’t understand or aren’t qualified – They are really saying that you don’t know how they got there and why. Therefore they are not truly known and loved. But if the black person knows that the white person objectively knows this stuff and still wants to love on them…..goodness gracious the effect that will have.

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Why I Walk into Church with my Head Down: A Semi-Sexism Story

Tunnel vision. My motion, my focus, is analogous to that of a Nascar driver. Tunnel vision. I park my car, walk through the double doors, tread softly past the daycare commotion, dodge through the packs of chattering people, enter into the main sanctuary, and finally sit down with my eyes glaring toward the stage. My eyes are closed during the musical worship. During the sermon, my eyes are glued onto the preacher. I make sure I am on my best behavior.

This has become my socially systematic ritual in and around the church service. For almost two years I have been unintentionally trained to be careful around the wives – so much so, that my very personality and natural being is completely different on Sunday mornings. I no longer look at the wives or even try to initiate contact with the husbands so not to risk anything. I refrain from being my normally playful, outgoing self for the sake of others. A few times, I’ve actually avoided going to my church and attended somewhere else…just for a rest-break.

Now I love conservatism: theologically, politically, socially, and even in some professional sports. At the same time, I have found myself in a church culture that surpasses the “imaginary” line that should NOT be crossed. It couples ultra Christian-conservatism alongside the strange relational subculture of the seminarian culture and resulting into  fractured, unfulfilled relationships.

One way in which this fracture has overwhelmed me is the issue of women and men NOT being friends in the church.

I have been stressed with this social climate where many of the wives are timid around me and the husbands show possessive body language in front of me when their wives are present. This is not everyone. Neither do I believe that it is a conscious action by others either; to the contrary, it is a “subconscious” action. However, it still hurts us who go through this. It hurts to not be trusted. We are guilty before proven innocent. I can give NUMEROUS examples that I have been through: primarily face to face; also email and social media. Additionally, I have read books and am very cognizant of social norms, body language, and rapport. In church we may say the right words and use political correctness in our lingo… but our actions and communal fruit tell a completely different story.

For a female’s perspective, you can read this lovely article on The Gospel Coalition’s website.

There are at least 5 side effects of this fracture that risk a retardation of friendly relationships:

1)  It causes a nuance of loneliness: This loneliness grows into a feeling of being unwanted or removed from the body of believers. The scriptural illustration, 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, depicts the church as a body. If a finger is removed it does not keep growing or playing its part, now does it? No, it shrivels up and dies. In this case the joy of the individual becomes damaged.

2)  This causes a CHAIN REACTION into OTHER basic types of relationships: This climate becomes the air that everyone breathes. Soon, this standoff-ish nature becomes normal between everyone: between other married couples, singles, visitors and members. There have been social psychology studies to show that we will, in certain ways, conform to our environment. In our general case, relationships will become robotic. This can be seen in the decline of some linear, mathematical, doctrinal types of churches. Now I line up with these types of churches, but there still needs to be a line drawn. Otherwise relationships grow stale, empty and mechanical.

3)  It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: I fully understand we are called to steward our marriages. That is extremely biblical and good. But where is the line that keeps it from becoming fear-mongering. As I said in an earlier blog, some people “suddenly” lock their car doors when I walk past their cars. True, I am black. Statistically speaking, I cannot blame them at all for being extra careful. However, if we are in the suburbs and I am wearing tailored dress clothes with Cole Haan shoes … maaaybe you don’t need to be afraid of me. That said, if we’re supposed to brothers and sisters in Christ … maybe you can trust that I do not want to kiss your wife in the sanctuary and ask her out for coffee. This fear can lead into believing “something” happened before it ever did.

4)  Personal walks with God are affected: If I have to be a “different person” around married couples then I can begin (or Satan can begin) to tell myself that they do not truly know me. How can I can truly allow them inside my walk with Christ if they do not understand or know the real me?

5)  Both the image of the trinity and Gospel community are tainted: Between God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, and God the Son…there is no hierarchy. Only delight. They freely give to one another and receive from one another. [John 1:18, 16:12-15, 17:3-5]. Therefore we, being made in that image, should being naturally copying that. We should delight in and celebrate each others strengths. We should spent time together [not limited to small group time]. As one pastor cautioned, “without this happening, subconscious frustration and jealousy will lead to overcritical spirits that will erode the foundation of deep intimacy in relationships.”

We know there is no perfect church. Maybe I shouldn’t bring this up about my own. I love my church and I love The Church. But would it not be hypocritical for me to have called out Joel Osteen’s church, single men, young people, the liberation gospel, lukewarm Christians, atheists, and even Michael Jordan in past blog posts… but then stay silent about a flaw in my own community? No way Jose. Nothing gets fixed if we do not discuss it.

Still, social media isn’t going to solve this. Small groups are not going to fix this. Social media plus Small groups does not equal biblical community. It will have to be pursued and fought for. People do not simply “fall” into deep community – they pursue it. We will have to surrender and sacrifice. And once this is attained … oh my how splendidly holy and beautiful it will look!!! May we care for the needs for one another. I pray that we commune deeply with one another. You know, to get a head start on eternity together.

The Beautifully Hated DNA of a Christian Bigot

Our society is blessed by it. Our society is cursed by it. The very existence of it saves lives. The very existence of it kills. Oh, the ebbs and flows of social media. It has the power to uplift a person and, with the same token, to inflict pain. A few weeks ago, I was spontaneously unfriended by a girl that I was Facebook friends with for one month. When I found out, I was flabbergasted… Flabbergasted.

My first inclination was to suspect that it was a glitch or a mistake, so I requested to be her friend again, ha. That attempt yielded zero results. Weeks later, I finally saw her at a social dance. Without hesitation I innocently asked her why on earth she unfriended me (awkwardness does not affect me). Initially, she was stunned that I had approach her to bring it up. After 10 seconds of silence, she admitted that she deleted me because I was a Christian and she did not want any arguing on her Facebook page. Reason being – she is very liberal, both politically and socially. Additionally, she has a fairly outspoken Facebook page where she posts links and has discussions on trending topics of interest. From my perspective, it is fine that she does that and I have complimented her before on her intellectual endeavors. [In fact, for quality discussions you should encourage people of dissimilar beliefs to comment; but I digress].

However, the question still stands … why did she delete me as a Facebook friend? I was totally nice to her beforehand whenever we were together. Never did I show intolerance. An interesting fact is that in the month that we’d been Facebook friends I was practically absent from Facebook. There was barely a hint given to her to conclude that I was anything more than a typical lukewarm Christian. Therefore, what has happened that caused her to automatically delete me from her social media web when she found out that I was a Christian?

The sad state that our society has grown toward is a state that perceives Christians as hateful bigots. There is now a natural tendency for the public to presume that the very air that Christians breathe at church on Sundays is fuel for us to spew out hate towards anyone who does not follow our holy stance. In reality, that idea is far from the truth. Christians are simply given an awareness of something that is outside this world and we are inwardly transformed to think in a manner that is different from this world (Romans 12:2). Here are four everyday examples that the psychological state of a “Christian bigot” can somewhat be analogous to:

1)   There are women in this world that have experienced the tragedy of sexual abuse. Either directly or indirectly. Many of whom dive into the calling of spreading awareness of sex trafficking, prostitution, child abuse, and rape to the masses. They post links of news articles, volunteer, raise money, etc. The oddity of all this is that most people have a tendency to ignore their cries. For example, we know that each of those types of sexual abuses are tragic, however, how much have we donated to an organization for that cause? When was the last time we volunteered and or even read an article? To be honest, anytime an advocate comes out for those causes, I kind of view them as crazy and as a burden to listen to. The term “ignorance is bliss” has its merit. Those women have gained a deep, tangible awareness of sexual abuse and it has caused them to view the true significance of it in our society. Contrarily, most of us have not gained that same viewpoint and live everyday life as if sexual abuse is not rampant. Which of us are correct? We can say the same thing about people fighting for world hunger, war, genocides, political deception, violence, and other topics.

2)   Extrovert versus introvert comparisons can be enjoyable. Being an introvert, I have realized that extroverts generally view most social events very differently than I view them. Sometimes I can explain to an extrovert that I would prefer to stay in, alone, and watch Netflix. Even with that explanation, because they do not have the same mental DNA/perspective, they cannot necessarily relate to my inclination. And vice versa.

3)   I used to call my parents the Devil #1 and Devil #2 when I was younger. They would discipline me at times and not buy me whatever I wanted. Exactly, devils. As I grew older I realized that their weird viewpoint that was so different from mine was actually in my favor.

4)   Police officers often get a bad reputation. They are called out for profiling and stereotyping. They see hideous activities on a daily basis and get harassed for their inclinations. But looking at their inclination from a hypothetical example– lets say we visibly see that redheaded Irish people are scratching mothers all around the world. Today, you’re leaving your mother’s house and a redheaded Irish person passes you going towards your mother’s house. Are you really not going to turn back around, just in case? Not trying to offend anyone. I’m an African American and any time I walk past an occupied vehicle in a grocery store parking lot, I hear the person “suddenly” lock their doors. The hurt from that sounds hurts each time. But based on statistical evidence, can I completely blame them for their precautions? Police officers have the insurmountable duty to protect us. They have experiences that different from ours and generally want for us to be safe.

With all that said, are Christians being bigots or are they simply burdened with seeing something from a totally different perspective? I think about the girl who unfriended often. I pray that we do become legitimate friends. My friendship with her, however, would not terminate on that. One thing I can say to her in context to her reason for deleting me is that I do, indeed, wish for Jesus to save her. I hope for her. I hope for us. May the world understand that Christians are given a new heart and mind that gives them a perspective on many topics that are different than most Non-Christians. There is a certain way that God designed the world to flow and for people to live. This way leads to eternal joy in our life and in the Lord (Psalm 16:11, John 17:3, John 10:10). We as Christians yearn for everyone to be saved and to seek the face of Christ (Luke 15:7, 1 Timothy 2:4). It sounds weird. But to the Christian, it sounds beautiful and glorious!

Youtube Moment: Beautiful, Childlike Worship

For anyone older than 16, anytime we get a glimpse of the unique innocence of children, it reminds us of a “different” time in our lives. A time of believing in Santa Claus, fairies, and magic. Almost everything we did at this time in our lives was done with some sort of passion. I remember the joy I felt when learning to ride my bike. Or my brothers and I being unable to fall asleep on Christmas Eve. Or even singing along with Barney on the television. I distinctively remember the warm feeling of each of those things.

This video is another one of my Youtube favorites. The video is of kids singing a Coldplay song together in their music class. I keep looking around in the video to see if any one of them purposefully aren’t singing…but sure enough they all are. Some, you can tell, are introverts; others, extroverts. Each kid is singing with a certain zeal and enthusiasm without any remote feeling of shame. If you look at their hand movements and facial expressions you begin to realize that what they are doing is worshiping. Unknowingly, worshiping. We were all created to worship God in all his glory (Revelation 4:11, Zephaniah 3:17, Hebrews 13:15).

Funny how these kids are unknowingly doing what they were deeply created to do. It makes sense because their souls were trained to do this at their creation….so it is natural to them. Due to it being natural, it becomes unknowing to them. Hence one of the billion ways that God reveals to us that he is very very extremely real. If there were no God, why are these kids performing the mannerisms that they are performing? What foundational standard are the standing on? Where do they have the ability to attain those uniformly objective feelings of emotions from a simple Coldplay song? It is impossible outside a sovereign Creator God and Savior in Jesus Christ.

This is why we innately worship. And the main purpose for that worship being for the praise of his glorious grace which he had freely given us, says Ephesians 1:5,6. The ultimate climax of that grace is Jesus dying on the cross. And I pray that I worship like these kids whenever I dwell on those facts. I fall short in that area daily.. The closer that that holy dwelling occurs 24/7 in my life, then the better my joy will be. I pray that it to be shameless and with childlike zeal that causes the angels in Heaven to say, “Yes, that’s exactly what you should be doing, duhhh”. haha