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Healing Racial Wounding in America

Jade Lee

There seems to be a common belief that slavery and racism is over.  It’s time to move on.  It’s time to let go.  It’s time to act like it never happened because it’s better now.  It’s not that bad anymore.  And…

You are not a slave.  And I am not a slave master.

Yet these words from William Lloyd Garrison concerning the viewpoint the majority of whites had of freed slaves in America reflect the mentality revealed through recent events such as Ferguson.  Are blacks still annoying “pests in the community”?  Garrison had a way of getting straight to the heart of the matter; if this is still the case perhaps there still remains a slavery/slave mentality under a different name (slavery to Jim Crow to the penitentiary to systematic abortion to contaminated water sources -it’s all from the same racist heart positioning). 

In one breath, colonization orators tell us that the free blacks are pests in the community; that they are an intemperate, ignorant, lazy, thievish class; that their condition is worse than that of the slaves; and that no efforts to improve them in this country can be successful, owing to the prejudices of society. In the next breath we are told what mighty works these miserable outcasts are to achieve—that they are the missionaries of salvation, who are to illumine all Africa—that they will build up a second American republic-and that our conceptions cannot grasp the result of their labors. Now I, for one, have no faith in this instantaneous metamorphosis. I believe that neither a sea voyage nor an African climate has any miraculous influence on the brain.” (Davis 191)

I have been so overwhelmed to the point of tears in seeing the black community suffer and struggle. Today I was at the bank where I happened to glance over while lamenting to my husband about the African American plight.

My eyes fell upon a young black girl, probably in her early twenties “going crazy” at her steering wheel. She was literally throwing her head back and forth, throwing her hands up in a display of utter frustration.

I could see the anger rushing through her body as she physically communicated years of generational pain.

As I watched her and others going in and out of this bank, more and more displays of misplaced turmoil began to become evident. After this traumatic action she regained her composure pushing her foot on the gas pedal, driving into reverse and exiting the bank.

My heart began to wonder, why didn’t I go to help her?

Why was both my heart and my body frozen in disbelief?

But it was too late. I continued to lament over the injustices being done to the black community as my husband sits quietly listening. Then another act.

I see a black “family” walk out the bank, looking like they are moving towards their car or the projects a few steps away. The woman begins to curse at her child loudly…more pent up emotion fume out of her heart. The same emotion came out of her as the young girl in the car. 

Again I see generations of expression locked up, their actions express the very words I am preaching in the car to a one man congregation.

Why haven’t we got over it?  Because in our hearts, our marriages, our communities, our children, our schools, our lives…it has never really ended.

The trauma is real.  It is continuous.  It is consequential.

Tears begin to well up in my eyes as I see systematic poverty surrounding me in a parking lot, as I think of a congregation, mainly white, that I recently shared with…my heart is overflowing with grief.

I recall this morning, watching a video from Flint Michigan. The woman, with tired, emotionless eyes begins to tell of her plight,

“This…” she touches her carefully placed hair, “is not mine…” A few moments later I would realize that the lead in the water had scabbed over her scalp, as she would bath in it daily, she began to notice patches of hair falling into her hands.

“Do I have cancer?” she wondered to herself, but of course this was NOT true. She was simply in need of basic human curtesy. But why give it to her if in this great nation, in the year 2016 she is no longer, never-ever considered a human by her governmental system who had the funding to keep her out of this systematic death sentence.

These words may seem extreme to the one who has been brainwashed to believe it is all over.

There is no more racism.

In fact, recently I heard a politician say the shocking words of a story between a police officer and a young black boy, “You are not a slave and I am not a slave master.”

This is so sad in 2016 that we believe this rhetoric. Of course he is still a slave and you, in many ways, have changed the system to another name. But we are still in the same bondage-mess. It’s the same as slavery.

There was a day and time where even slavery was hidden as white pastors would visit the south and a sadly humorous scene would begin to play out. Slaves were made to act, to appear happy, to lie and to show their best. When asked how they were being treated under the sheer terror of it all, they would say all was well.

Then the white community around them would continue to play out their roles, master, forced father, slave owner, abuser, denial-pastor.  Yet a few, like Garrison, raised their voices as a trumpet crying out in a wilderness.

And these same lies, these acts, this hidden demon of America, even with all the injustice in the black community continues today.

How can we say it is better now? How can we say we have grown? How can we have reconciliation meetings that actually work when we do not FEEL the pain of the black community, when we do not KNOW the extent of pain blacks feel, when we do not take FULL ownership of our own heart positioning?

The injustice rolls on and we must call the victimizers to full responsibility if we are ever to see change. We, neither black nor white, can completely separate ourselves from the actions of our community, our race or our family.  Someone has to take the heart of Daniel and repent on behalf of the injustices of his nation, his people, his actions.

We can’t blame the angry black people for their oppressed responses.  No, we are not victims if we choose not to be, but there will be a response when someone is told they are not being victimized, yet deep in their heart they know something is wrong.

Repentance of the heart, deep Godly sorrow must begin to spring forth if we are ever to see change. And we must weep not out of pity or feeling sorry for those poor black folks we are going to help. We must weep out of the compassion we would feel if we were in their shoes, as fellow humans. We must understand the historical context and that today is the same if your skin is black.

Is there a problem today?  Yes there is.

72% of blacks are fatherless.

69% of blacks have unintended pregnancies (unmarried).

60% of blacks live in poverty.

30% of blacks have abortions although we are only 14% of the population.

44% of blacks make up new AIDs patients although we are only 14% of the population.

82% of black women are obese.

See: www.blackdemographics.com, www.cdc.gov for more information.

If you want to do something about this actions are not the solution prior to true heart examination.  Start by asking GOD to show you if you have somewhere in your heart looked down on the black community and if the generational trauma on your side of the fence (whether black or white) has affected your overall perspective of blacks.  Read the above paragraph asking the LORD if any of these perspectives have seeped into your heart.  They are strategic stereotypes that were placed in the nation’s hearts to try to move blacks out of America post slavery (and they begin prior to that).  These stereotypes place the blame on a people who had no rights, no money, were considered animals and did not have a fair playing ground. 

Do you feel like we are past the effects of slavery and should just move on or do you feel like we still have significant work to do in healing the race issue of America?

6 replies
  1. Darius Ellis James
    Darius Ellis James says:

    This is a very heart provoking read. I grew up in the “Bible Belt” in Notasulga, Alabama where I spent most of my years in school in Tuskegee, Alabama. I spent most of my leisure time with friends and family in the surrounding cities: Montgomery, Alabama(State capital); Auburn, Alabama and Selma, Alabama. From my experience in the south I know that racism is very much alive and my family and former teachers have been affected by it.

    Growing up, I was taught my history by family and by my teachers. My schools and community were predominantly African Americans and either lived or were right next to historical cities like Montgomery, Selma; Tuskegee. Though we talked about racism I do not recall any dicussions on racial reconciliation like discussed in this blog post. Furthermore, it definitely wasn’t discussed in my church.

    I believe this blog will provoke others and myself included to get out of the stands and on the field by actively seeking God’s heart on this national matter and examining ourselves and exposing and ridding ourselves of apathy in this area of our hearts. I believe things can definitely change in our nation and I really love what you said when you said that “If you want to do something about this actions are not the solution prior to true heart examination.” This left me to take action in prayer and in engaging God about this matter.

    Thank you for posting this! I will be sharing it :-)

    Reply
    • Jade Lee
      Jade Lee says:

      I am so sorry to hear of the experiences you have had regarding racism in the deep south. I can’t imagine that daily battle and my heart pains with you. I wholeheartedly agree that “examining ourselves and exposing and ridding ourselves of apathy in this area of our hearts” is needed. If we don’t allow our heart to be touched with the emotions of GOD how can we ever be healed? Bless you!

      Reply
  2. Paige
    Paige says:

    Thank you so much for this awesome Spirit breathed article it was so captivating I literally read it 3 times each time learning and feeling something new. This article brought a lot to my heart and mind. To answer the final question, I believe there is still so much racial wounding in America that hasn’t been addressed. From Ferguson to Flint its becoming more and more clear to me and I believe many other millennials how alive racism still is. I will be honest and say I have often tried to disassociate myself from the racial struggles and move straight to spirituality, thinking Jesus can solve every problem. Now I see I can’t use my faith to gloss over the very real racial injustices that Blacks have gone through. Doing more introspection I realize this is a result of feeling rejected by the Black community as a child (being called Oreo, being accused of talking white). Yet even my faulty internal response is greater proof racial issues still run deep and wide in this nation. I know so many like that woman in the bank are frustrated with the state of our society. Thank you for opening up the discussion on such a sensitive issue!

    Reply
    • Jade Lee
      Jade Lee says:

      You are welcome! And it is easy to find ourselves who have “privilege” or who have been hurt by others in our community, pushing away our own people group- which is self hatred. I have also been mistreated by other blacks but the reality I have found is that their “issues” come from oppression they have faced. I would ask the question, “Why did this person treat me this way?” Why are they so upset about the way I talk. Has someone demeaned the way they talk or look and treated them like being “black” is wrong. Is this misplaced anger? As I’ve asked these types of questions for myself in similar situations I have been able to see my own people through the eyes of Jesus. Thank you so much for your vulnerability!

      Reply
  3. Curtis
    Curtis says:

    Thank you for this article. I think that we all need a lot of healing that stemmed from the national wound of slavery. And we would be stuck as African Anericans in the aftermath of slavery until we are fully healed as a people.

    Reply
    • Jade Lee
      Jade Lee says:

      I couldn’t agree more! But I think the deeper question behind healing is how do we heal? By moving on, saying a quick prayer and then hoping it will all be over? I do not believe that is reality. Yet it is what many have tried to do, in reality there are many who think they are healed yet are in denial. Healing begins as we face one wound at a time allowing ourselves to go through the process of shock, anger, realization and acceptance. Healing happens as we experience the hurt again bringing it to the cross. Healing is going to take time and deliberate effort, not ignoring the problem hoping it will all go away, which is what I have experienced and seen by many. Thank you for your input!

      Reply

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