Black man's blood cries out!
The dash cam video and the girlfriend's video from the Officer's fatal shooting of Philando Castile are absolutely heart wrenching. Like many others, my heart won’t stop bleeding; I can’t seem to remove the sting's hook in my conscience.
July 6, 2016, Philando, his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter were driving home from a long day. Officer Jeronimo Yanez, a St. Anthony, Minnesota police who obviously was full of bias against a big nose black man, pulled Philando over in an alleged routine stop for a malfunctioned taillight. Forty seconds from, "Hello, sir," the officer fatally shot Philando.
Let’s cut to the chase; Philando did nothing wrong! You see, I live in this reality. The black man’s narrative is that we are “wrong until proven alright.” Despite American social preference for alternative facts, deeply embedded in the American psyche, black is the wrong color. Kinky hair is the wrong hair texture. And, a wide nose is the wrong sized nose. This is the painful historical fact, original sin, and poisonous thread that helped to make America in the first place.
Certainly, skin color, hair texture, and nose size are part of the social narrative that black people understand all so well! It is the ideological framework out of which we have learned to survive and if by chance thrive.
When we do make mistakes, the level headed black person knows that being black tends to intensify the punishment rather than help us, like being white tends to help white people gain redemption. Or, being white is the best explanation for so many white people who merely get a hand slap on the hand.
Dillon Roof killed 9 black people simply for being black. The police granted his request for fast food when they caught him, after fleeing the murder scene at Mother Emanuel AME in Charleston. Worse; Dillon has been seen opening Christmas presents when he is unapologetic for his evil and heinous acts. Too back Castile could not even finish explaining himself to the police.
From a black citizens’ perspective, Dillon is a white racist hero. Castile, Martin, Rice, Gray and others are victims of their blackness!
In the video posted by the NY Times, Philando alerted the officer, “Officer, I need to tell you I do have a firearm on me.”
Soon, Philando was another black man dead at the hands of a police officer.
The scene in the video reminds the black person of the stories from parents, grandparents and great grandparents who lived during the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s and movies from when black people were treated worse than the white man’s pets during slavery.
I am further grieved by the outcome of the trial. Officer Yanez was acquitted of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm.
Once, a black female minister commented, “These black males just seem angry. They need a lot of help.” Well, I hope the minister catches a glimpse of the black man’s reality in the Philando Castile video.
Black men do not trust the system. I am one of them!
Now, Mrs. black reverend, take your ‘Uncle Tom lens off’ and look at things from a black perspective!
From mass incarceration, to unbearable long sentencing for drug charges, to situations of questionable police shootings of black males, to the social struggles related to being black in America; indeed, black men struggle to smile when most of us experience the American nightmare more than the American dream. Not to mention the mayhem and decadence that lace poverty stricken areas, where a glaring disproportion of black people struggle to survive.
Churches on urban corners and preachers mounting pulpits, prognosticating esoteric hope or material wealth with no plan or path to success. Spirituality must materialize and the prophetic must pull down systemic strongholds in legislation, in black economic development, in education and criminal justice, and at the ballot box.
Far too much black blood is streaming down the sidewalks, too many black bodies are behind prison walls, too many black people are living in poverty or barely making it. From the boardrooms to the courtrooms, injustice is inflicted upon black men’s backs daily. Black people would be insane not to be outraged. It is pathetic when we use white America’s framework to critique the black blight. For those of us who are able to move in and out of both the black communities and the white communities observe that while there are many idiosyncrasies in white and black communities, by in large North America is the tale of [at least] two nations; one is the white privileged North America and the other is the underprivileged Black North America.
What a sad day that churches [white and black congregations] that confess that the Bible is their sacred text, are oblivious of the spirit of the anti-Christ that is re-mounting in North America. Tyrannical structures and oppressive social realities inflicted upon humanity, particularly the backs of black people is anti-Christ-like.
When will black people finally be fully human in this country? When will they have equity for equal access to the so-called American dream?
From slavery to Jim Crow to the current blight of black America, is there a word of hope from the Spirit-filled pulpit? True hope cannot be a blanket promise of a better day. Hope cried aloud and makes one unashamed to demand better for those who are constantly experiencing the belly ache of a racist system.
We need a social pneumatology from a Spirit-filled black perspective. A social doctrine of the Spirit rejects any claim on “knowing” Jesus when simultaneously looking at “the man on the road to Jericho” or “the man sitting at the gate called Beautiful” and pass by them, wagging heads at them, in a hurry to “worship.” A social doctrine of the Spirit, also, rejects any claim on “knowing” Jesus or “loving the Bible” while supporting systemic regimes that blame the suffering for their suffering.
Further, a black social pneumatology is prophetic. It refuses to accept black causalities as less than inhumane treatment of God’s people. The Spirit beckons for the people of the Spirit to stop ignoring systemic evil and social debauchery.
We must lift up your voices like a trumpet! Spirit-filled Christians tend to emphasize the contemporary operation of the Gifts of the Spirit, including prophesy. Well, where are the social prophets, like the ones in the Old Testament?!
Now is the time to prophesy! The blood of Castile, Martin, Gray, Brown, Scott, Rice, and others are proxy for many black socially oppressed, economically depressed, and ethnically vexed men in America.
They are asking, “where's God in the hood?” “Where's God in the everyday self-awareness that we could never step out of our black skin into the privileged white access to excess?” What you’re your religion mean f or us in the struggling streets?” “What difference can your religion make in the context of my blackness?”
If there are answers to such questions, the Spirit-filled Christian must rise to the occasion. We believe that God remains incarnated among us by the Holy Spirit. So, a Spirit-filled social pneumatology is concerned about how the Holy Spirit responds to both the situations of all suffering people as well as their and (God's) religious critics.
Biblical incarnation is about God coming among a suffering people to live, suffering with them, and liberate them. God is still among his suffering people. Since God is among them, are His people? Or are they acquiescing to the evil tyranny that that has theologized God in a way that has distanced God from the pain of the Castile, Martin, Gray, Brown, Scott, Rice, and other such families. The government owes them retribution.
But the prophetic voice of the Church must speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves, until every valley be exalted and every mountain and hill be made low and the crooked places straight!