Yesterday evening I cried. My tears were not tears of sadness but of relief, of humbly recognising that, despite the travesties that are taking place in the world and the anger that rightfully accompanies those travesties, God is still at work.
Seeing White police officers ‘Take the Knee’ in full uniform and in solidarity with Mr George Floyd’s family and protesters softened, actually melted, my broken heart. It may not be what we ultimately hope for, but it is a beginning, a much-needed sign of hope, an encouragement I think from the heart of God. I took it as a reminder that in this indescribable pain and madness of the evil and human complicity with the dehumanisation of Black bodies, God IS still at work.
My gladness and hope were almost cut short, as I took my eyes off what God had done and became distracted by the DEAFENING SILENCE of White leaders, some of whom have Black bodies worshipping in their very congregations and financially supporting their ministries. Had it been a Black knee kneeling on a White neck, I am 100% sure many White Christian leaders would have something to say! If White American police officers, that are daily in the line of fire and at loggerheads with African-American communities, can see the reality of the situation, and ‘Take the Knee’, why can’t you speak out? The problem lies front and centre in the answer (or lack thereof)!
What happened in the US can and does happen here in the UK, where there are untold cases of MYSTERIOUS or UNEXPLAINABLE deaths of Black bodies in custody and within mental institutions. One can find out about them if one desires to do so. It is a LACK of interest and CULTURAL COLLUSION – and not ‘know how’ – that is the sin of many White leaders, and I am CALLING THEM OUT – as I did with the Ahmaud Arbery case. Half-baked ramblings are an affront to our community. Silence is complicity and collusion with White supremacy and the attitudes that bring about the demise and death of Black bodies.
If you find yourself being silent about the PUBLIC execution of Mr George Floyd, you may want to ask yourself how you would have responded had you been alive and present when the Roman authorities crucified Jesus. It’s easy to look back and say: ‘I would have stood with Him if I were there.’ Well, I am not too sure, as you are not STANDING against the sin of RACISM now, and it is far less dangerous.
Finally, this is not the time for diplomacy that detracts from the ISSUES, or for misguided calls for a mutual and equal recognition of the humanity of Black and White bodies. It is time for ADVOCACY, a Christian prophetic imperative for justice, that is inspired and informed by the Gospel we say we live for, and the Christ of that Gospel who died for the very same Black bodies that are being murdered with impunity. We are quick to call out young Black men who take each other’s lives, and ask our communities to take control of feral young people. We are doing what we can. We most definitely do not condone their actions either explicitly or by our silence. I am kindly asking White leaders and friends to do the same.
Wishing you a good day. Blessings.
PS: I want to thank those White leaders who have put their neck on the line for Black bodies – your voice has been heard!!!
Rev David Shosanya is an Itinerant Speaker and Church Consultant