The following account was written by a member of our Hazelwell congregation in response to recent events.
Black Lives Matter – A time of reflection and change
Racism is a created being. This creation began with the demonisation of the colour ‘black’, for instance ‘black sheep’. This demonisation process was then used to dehumanise people of black and brown African skin tones, which tended to be juxtaposed against the purity of ‘white’ and therefore the white race. This was done to justify exploiting black people as slaves, a practice that could be more easily accepted if black people were deemed to be as different and ‘naturally’ subordinate to white people as possible. This was the utmost reason why many did not believe or could not admit to the beauty of the black race and the value found therein, which was not a thing of pity, shame, or poverty. If the demons are black, then the angels are white and thus esteemed to a place of privilege. As a society these are the almost inescapable messages we have imbibed consciously or unconsciously since childhood. For the black person with little knowledge of their rich cultural heritage or those without mental stability or resilience as support, the effects are devastating. For the white person without this load to carry, there exists a deeply rooted belief that they are better and the privilege of being free to live and just be.
Why do we say black lives matter, it is because it is black lives that have been cheapened for so long to societies worldwide that it can be snuffed out yet again and again in the hands of law enforcers or a group of racist yobs that stumble across an innocent black life.
There is a point where in the existence of a people there is no difference between living and dying because the quality of life is so poor and when this blurring takes place the inevitable happens. A revolt that is saying to the spirit of racism. Thus, so far and no further,and so signalled by George Floyds’s death in the United states of America.
SO an identification parade of what racism is and how it has purveyed our society.
Racism is practised in two ways overtly as we see in the USA and South Africa and covertly practised elsewhere. Both are insidious and permeate all walks of life, through legislations, and policies which stifle black talent, appropriate black culture, ignore black beauty, and resort to the exclusion of black boys from schools and incarcerate with ease for relatively minor misdemeanours. It is palpable, felt and seen, by the discerning spirit of all races of people.
Racism, commonly defined as discriminating against someone because of their skin colour – a deliberate and intentional, act driven by hate. This we witnessed in the death of George Floyd and many unnamed others
For most black academicians, this definition falls short of the whole truth about racism. For example, of this shortfall I give through an experience. As an Advisory Teacher working for Sandwell Local Education Authority. Part of my job description was to train teachers and teaching assistants in their ability to support children with specific learning difficulties. However, in the run up to the course presentation, I was presumed to be out of place, in the wrong building, the cleaner or the tea lady. The look of disdain, shock and annoyance at times was palpable when I came to the front to present.
This may not be intentionally malicious, but it exposes a set of beliefs about the things black people are and are not allowed to be. This is racism. The intention is not the point, the important issue is that harm is done. We need to consider how our behaviour, words and actions affect others. Many white people feel uncomfortable with this topic because they do not feel hateful towards black people. This is because it is an unconscious bias which still navigates the thoughts of many, the pervasive fear of having to share privilege in the spirit of equality.
An unconscious bias is a detectable bias in our attitudes or behaviour that operates outside of our awareness. It is formed through a process of passive associations. Why and how did we form the association of cat = mouse. We need to challenge the sources which feed us subliminal messages the media, politicians, newspapers adverts, report and even our education. A process on conscious uncoupling must take place and challenge those actions, beliefs and behaviour laid down in our heads. You may not have chosen those biases, you may have, Nonetheless, you have the responsibility to do something about it.
We who believers of Christ Jesus and the word of God will discern that we are the end time generations. Everything that can be shaken is being shaken, whether it is the financial world or economic world. It is no surprise that the most important monolith that is being shaken at this point is the condition of our soul and heart. A time of reflection and change is upon us.