A few weeks ago, in response to the events that took place in Charlottesville President Obama tweeted out a message that you may have seen. He tweeted a quote from Nelson Mandela and it read “no one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…people must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love…”
I remember seeing the message and definitely agreed that it stood true especially in this climate but it didn’t touch my heart. The funny thing is that when I went to church on Sunday, our Pastor had communicated that the next message he was going to deliver would resonate with exactly what happened in Virginia. So I waited, and waited as I was tired of the message in the media, from my favorite Youtube commentators, as everyone has an opinion of what took place and what took place thereafter. I felt as if my emotions were being juggled all over the place. Finally the day comes and guess what the message title was… “More than hate.” The big idea of the sermon was “if we can learn to hate, we can learn to love…again.”
If I am being honest, I really didn’t expect to much of the message to do anything for me as no other message had resonated with me from anyone else. The Pastor made it clear that if you were looking to find out his stance on Donald Trump then he advised folks to leave immediately. He made it very clear that his personal feeling on Trump would stay personal and if he had the chance to speak with him he would tell him how he felt to his face. Since he has not been afforded that opportunity he would keep that information to himself and chose to focus on this message for himself and to the rest of us there. I thought that was the perfect stance and agreed with that as this was bigger than what any politician had to say.
Barack Obama’s message was the third most popular tweet for a reason. If you are ready to be honest I am going to have to throw out a disclaimer as my Pastor did except I am going to say “it was so nice to have met you but you are free to leave now if you are not ready for honesty.” And you know, that’s OK if a person is not ready for honesty. At least they have the courage to say so and I can respect someone for that. If you are ready to talk honestly then please keep reading.
The quote originally came from Nelson Mandela and Barack chose to use it at a time in which it was called for a time to no longer deny the individuals who gathered in Virginia were motivated by hating others based on their race, ethnicity, religion and etc. Let that sink in for a moment. I know, it hurts my heart as well. If you are a person who believes I am pulling at heart strings or even race baiting, let’s look at data that is unbiased and does not belong to any political party. Here is what I found from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report of Hate Crime Statistics, 2015 (1)
- 57 percent were motivated by a race/ethnicity/ancestry bias
- 21 percent were prompted by religious bias
- 18 percent resulted from sexual-orientation bias
- 2 percent were motivated by gender identity bias
If you want to still deny the facts my friend, then listen to this fact: 53% of single-bias hate crime offenses in 2015 were motivated by anti-Black of African American bias (2). Hate is very real and it seems to have found its resurgence as of late but I notice now that it seems as if it is OK to ignore its existence altogether. As I looked around on social media I have seen everyday folks even bloggers avoid the topic altogether, and then there is me. I sit here and have been debating if our platform should be used to speak about this topic. I have been afraid of people turning away from us and our page. I have been afraid that I might offend some people who may feel I am shoving this down their throat, and I have ultimately been afraid of the trouble it could bring by folks with keyboard courage. As Martin Luther King once said “if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.” I don’t think I can stand silent at a time that is so critical such as now.
In order to fight hate, I believe we need to do the following:
1. Look to God first as he never made a superior race.
It’s not even natural to hate as if you think about it, it actually takes more energy to do so than to love. Think about it. Humans are probably the most purest as children. Take a look at this clip
Do you remember a time when you went onto the playground and saw everyone as a possibility or as an adventure? Do you know when someone told you in your life that “those people” were bad and that they should be feared? To some degree we have all been robbed of the innocence displayed in this clip. Look at me, I am a black woman conditioned to racism being in existence. It’s heartbreaking to think of that way but it is the truth. We all have a role and responsibility in the part we have played with all of this. Especially those who remain silent. That is a choice you are taking when we all know this hate is wrong.
2. Speak up – Denounce hate groups and hate crimes publicly and privately.
In all honesty, I was not surprised by those individuals that protested Friday, August 12. What I am surprised by is the fact that people still continue to turn a blind shoulder to racism & hate. At this point it makes me wonder if we are so afraid to publicly come out and say loud and proud that “we condemn racism and hate” than what are folks saying behind closed doors. I would suspect though that it is also silent in our homes as well and what does that say? Silence is dangerous, people. If you don’t speak up and publicly condemn racism then you are condoning the hateful speech and acts we witnessing in our country today. Even if you don’t understand the totality of nature of situation, we should condemn people or groups of people who gather together to who hate others based on the race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and/or religion.
3.Start having dialogue and be willing to hear and understand the ugly truth of each other’s experiences. Check out this clip:
As my Pastor says “salt can’t be unsalted.” I know, I didn’t get that at first either until he explained further with the examples of food…which I could totally relate to as I am a foodie. What’s the first spice you add when you are preparing or seasoning meat? What about your salads? Or even your fruits, snacks and candy? The answer is salt. Do you realize what the salt is doing for the food? I know for me it is a season I turn to when I want enhance or heighten the flavor of the food I am preparing. Think about that nice juicy steak that you have eyes to tear up with a nice wine of glass. Well, let’s think about our lives and the people in them. Does everyone look like salt or the same seasoning as you are?
One thing I can tell you about me is that I grew up as a military brat. Being a military brat was challenging as we were constantly moving but I look back it and I can’t tell you how thankful God blessed me to be one. The biggest reason I am so thankful because I know how enriched my life was as I was surrounded by people of different religions, ethnicity and races and guess what? I didn’t care, I actually loved it! I learned so much about other cultures and I feel doing so brought so much more value into my life. I didn’t even have the opportunity to go on the playground and look for kids that had my hair and skin color. I had no other choice but to be open to everyone and anyone being my friend.
What do your circles look like? Does everyone look the same? Let me ask you this, what value are those folks that look like you bringing into your life culturally? Are you able to answer or talk from a perspective of how a Muslim feels when it is assumed they are up to no good or when a group of people say “black lives matter” and realize that it is not a terrorist group? What about knowing someone or family that was in uniform that protects our streets or country? Have you ever been to a black church? Have you ever been to a predominantly white church?” Martin Luther King Jr. did say that Sunday is the most segregated day on Sunday and I believe this still stands true today.
What I love about this clip is how honest the caller was and as a result Heather McGhee appreciated his bravery in admitting he had some racists beliefs. Believe it or not but the caller and Heather ended up meeting and became friends. The caller took Heather’s recommendations to heart and stepped outside of what the media was feeding him and has studied African-American history, and he has conversations with other people of different races in his community. Click here to see Gary’s transformation. Branch out and learn from folks that look different than you where you become the minority. Ask questions of things you don’t understand and want to gain understanding about. You will find that we are more alike than we are different.
Show proper respect to everyone (1 Peter 2:17) and treat others the way you want to be treated.
The rise of incivility leads to the rise of hatred and we are made to love not hate one another. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:18). We are taught to hate, but if we can learn to love again. Let’s love one another.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation. Uniform Crime Report. 2015. https://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-crime/2015/topic-pages/incidentsandoffenses_final.pdf
- Federal Bureau of Investigation. Table 1 – Incidents, Offenses, Victims, and Known Offenders by Bias Motivation, 2015. https://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-crime/2015/tables-and-data-declarations/1tabledatadecpdf
- Youtube. 2017, March 1. The worldwide buzz over a ‘colorblind’ 5 year old’s hair. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/07gIuphCgMQ.
- C-Span. https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4618001/caller-admits-racism-gently-advised
- Bible. 1 Peter 2:17
- Bible. 1 John 4:185
- Jernigan, Cal. “More than hate.” Central Christian Church, Phoenix, Arizona. 20 August, 2017.
- Carda, Tami. Featured Image. 2017. JPEG file.
Disclaimer: NVS Photography does not endorse or sponsor these views.
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