Killing Compassion: Denying Systemic Racism

I fully believe that the three things this world needs most are love, compassion, and Jesus. I also believe that most of us don’t have any idea what any of those three are.

If you are a white person, and you are not outraged by, or still in denial of, the systemic racism that is on full display every day,

You have no clue what compassion is.

If we continue to criminalize victims, justify their murders, deny the outcries of pain and anger from the marginalized and oppressed,

We have no clue what love is.

If you are a Christian and are not enraged by the police brutality or white vigilantism against black men and women,

You have no clue who Jesus is.

And, I have to say, as a society in general, we are pretty clueless.

We speak about loving our neighbor. We pour our energy into helping the poor, feeding the hungry, and taking care of the homeless.

Each of those is great, and if you are working in any capacity to end poverty and homelessness, keep going.

It will never be enough, though, until we address our problem with racism. It will never be enough until we come to grips with the fact that, as white people, we have a problem with people of color. We can deny it all we want, but our actions speak louder than our words.

When police kill a black man or woman, and our immediate reaction is “yeah, but what did they do?”, we have a problem.

When armed white people can yell, spit, and threaten the police and government officials, and we call it “their right to protest,” but unarmed black protesters are met with violent repercussions, we have a problem.

And our biggest problem is that we keep denying that we have a problem.

Black men and women tell us that there is a system of racism embedded in society that immediately criminalizes them and denies their intrinsic value. Instead of listening and understanding, we deny it and tell them that they’re overreacting. We have a problem.

Indigenous men and women tell us that their cultures are being forgotten and erased because of a system of oppression and marginalization against them since before we were even a country. We deny it and tell them to stop living in the past, to get over it, and to stop overreacting. We have a problem.

We cannot seriously become the hands and feet of Jesus in this world until we acknowledge the problem, listen to those affected most by it, and work to end it. We cannot know true compassion and life-giving love without this work first.

I don’t know where to go from here, but I’m not the one you should be listening to.

I only know that I should be listening more.

So should you.

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