We have more in common than we sometimes realize, even when we disagree.
Two of the most controversial topics in America, if not the world, are BLACK-ON-BLACK CRIME and WHITE PRIVILEGE They are both issues that are quickly deflected when mentioned to many in their respective races.
There are countless neighborhoods in America where many of the residents live in fear, not of racists…not of other races…but of people who look like them. There is vigorous debate as to the causes such as generational poverty, systematic racism, the drug epidemic, organized gangs and others. However, the problem still persists and is undeniable. Many people within the Black community act just the same as people of other races when certain neighborhoods and cities are mentioned. The fact is that many of the EXTERNAL REASONS have been accepted as EXCUSES by many.
Even if a white person is born in abject poverty and works very hard to become successful, the fact that they benefited from a system that was designed through generations that put them at an advantage. Societal attitudes, preferences, and norms have been established from a ‘white’ perspective. Even from the simple fact that many products whose packaging lists the color as ‘nude’ is the color of white flesh. The fact that beauty standard for generations have been based on ‘European’ features. And, that ‘acceptable’ history has been recorded from one perspective (for examples, Native Americans were portrayed as savages, and cowboys as heroes) . Injustice, inequality, inequity and a sense of entitlement (even though sometimes unintentional) is an undeniably interwoven into United States history as the extraordinary opportunities that the country offers.
As different as these two issues may be, they have some things in common and they have common solutions.
1. BOTH PROVOKE A DEFENSIVE RESPONSE
When you mention Black-on-Black crime to or White privilege to many members of their respective races, they are quick to respond…”There is no such thing!” Mentioning both issues quickly yield a defensive response. Both issues are quickly deflected with reasons to either justify, excuse or dismiss the behavior.
2. PEOPLE WITHIN EACH RACE ARE AFRAID TO ADMIT THE PROBLEM BECAUSE OF THE BACKLASH
There are many people in both communities who quietly agree there is a problem, but they know if they speak up about it, they will be ridiculed by people within their own race.
3. BOTH HAVE BIBLICAL EXAMPLES
Israel spent 400 years of slavery in Egypt. After being established in the “Promised Land”, they were exiled in a strange country and considered second-class citizens. Even in the days of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) they were under Roman rule and considered second-class citizens in their own land. This caused internal and cultural challenges within the Jewish nation.
A gentle once told me, there is no such thing as ‘white privilege’ in the Bible. My response was study the Romans…the people, not the New Testament book. The Romans were European conquerors who felt entitled to the spoil of whomever they conquered. In the case of Israel, the Romans considered themselves superior, they did not associate with the Jews on an equal level, and their very empire was set-up to give them an advantage economically, socially and legally.
4. BOTH ISSUES SHARE COMMON SOLUTIONS
No matter what external challenges the Jews faces, God still expected them to maintain the integrity of His name and to always represent Him in their behavior through the most difficult situations. Look at what God told them while exiled in Babylon…
Jeremiah 29:4-14 (NKJV)
4 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon:
5 Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. 6 Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished. 7 And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace. 8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. 9 For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, says the Lord.
10 For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
So God doesn’t give ‘a pass’ to indulge in crime because of the external challenges.
God also has an expectation of those who find themselves in a position of power. . Being a member of the majority puts one at an advantage. To be a member of the ‘majority’ is a position of strength. And, what is God’s expectation of ‘the strong’?
Romans 15:1-2 (NKJV)
God expects those who are in the position of strength to consider those who are weaker rather than please themselves.
Both Black and White people must:
Amit to themselves their own cultural challenges.
Courageously and aggressively address those challenges INTERNALLY in spite of any EXTERNAL causes or influences.
Every race and society must promote a culture and expectation must of EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE that perfectly aligns with the word of God. Many of our problems in society can be solved through cultures of high Emotional Intelligence (when one is aware of his or her emotions and the emotions of those around them and the ability to control their emotions).
Promote a culture of EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE that perfectly aligns with the word of God. Many of our problems in society can be solved through cultures of high Emotional Intelligence (when one is aware of his or her emotions and the emotions of those around them and the ability to control their emotions).
Crime, an attitude of privilege, as well as other sins…murder, theft, fornication, adultery, rage, wrath, revenge, greed, hatred, drunkenness, idolatry, selfishness can be cured by controlling our emotions. This must be achieved on and individual and cultural level. And, this behavioral science concept aligns perfectly with scripture…
Ephesians 4:31-32 (NKJV)
31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, [a]clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Colossians 3:5-11 (NKJV)
5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. 8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV)
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
God give us the responsibility to change, and the gift of His Holy Spirit to make those changes.
We all have more in common than we often realize, even when we disagree.