Black Lives; Truth Matters
The true nature of justice must be recognised by those shouting ‘black lives matter’ because the current trajectory is towards irreparable division, not only within Britain, but also within the Church, writes Floyd Davis
‘Nigger!’.... I was momentarily stunned by the hostile voice from the passing car, invading my thoughts as I walked home. A voice that knew nothing of me apart from skin colour. I determined that similar voices would, I hope, eventually see the person underneath and dispel the misplaced hatred as I applied the principles for living in 1 Peter 2:12. If people harbour hate - it's their burden, not mine.
Truth matters: as a first generation black Englishman, born to Jamaican parents, Britain is home, and its culture mine. Not having lived as my forefathers did centuries ago in oppression and slavery, I neither feel marginalised nor believe in systematic discrimination. I have seen systematic positive discrimination, with black people placed in front for employment, with equal access to education, which has enabled black faces to appear in all professions, notably such as, doctors, journalists and politicians. The progress made since listening to the racist experiences of my parents in the 1950s should be acknowledged and celebrated.
However, British society is still evolving, so patience and humour is needed in some of the inevitable awkward moments, rather than constant calls of ‘racism’.
Truth matters: yet some black people will label me ‘coconut’ – brown on the outside, but white on the inside – a derogatory term used against a black person who is considered to be ‘behaving white’ through having assimilated into English culture, implying that to become integrated into British society is somehow a betrayal. These attitudes are divisive and show a resistance to unite. God warns of such people in Romans 16:17-18.
Truth matters: relationships are built on trust and honesty. Amongst the myriad voices calling for ‘justice’ in the form of repatriation for slavery and removal of historic statues, there is reluctance to face facts about black complicity in the evolution of the slave trade. Truth matters: black slavery began in Africa, and was practised widely amongst the indigenous population.
Truth matters: slavery in Africa continues today, and in many other parts of the world where Christian organisations seek to end slavery and injustice. To say that black people in Britain are oppressed is an obscene injustice to those around the world suffering human trafficking, and who desperately need to hear that their lives matter.
Truth matters: in the last UK census (2011) the black population of London was 13 per cent.
In the same year, 50 per cent of knife crime in London was committed by black people.
Startling statistics. Too many black men fail to take responsibility for their children resulting in many black families being fatherless, and falling into poverty. Consequently many black boys become drawn into gang culture, pimping, drugs, violence and knife crime. Black on black killings are staggeringly high, but black lives appear only to matter when taken by a white person. Having spoken to Christian policemen, It is apparent that policing in black communities is challenging. It needs to be recognised by black leaders that there is a problem that must to be addressed. We should be praying for, and supporting our police: not encouraging ‘attitude’ or indoctrinating our children to disrespect authority.
Truth matters: Justice is inextricably linked to equity, the complete story needs to be told for balance and fairness. The idea by author Dr Anthony G. Reddie that the life of black people in Britain ‘is one of unremitting pain, suffering and hardship’, is neither balanced or fair.
The attacks on British culture and historical figures from Churchill to Shakespeare is neither balanced or fair. The antisocial activities within some black communities ignoring social norms is neither balanced or fair. Attacking police who respond to calls from distressed white and black neighbours, because of loud late night parties is neither balanced or fair.
Truth matters: we don’t know why George Floyd was so brutally killed. To judge that it was racial purely because the perpetrator was white, and the victim black, is naive and is to oversimplify. 28 people lost their lives in the USA protests on that judgement.
Truth matters: anger, fear, resentment and division increase when there is failure to condemn the killings, looting and violence during BLM protests. Even the Baptist Union failed in its response statement, saying that the USA protests were ‘a natural and right consequence….’
This silence to truth inevitably feeds resentment. A Baptist Union source told me they condemn the violence ‘where it was used to limit peaceful protest’....and was therefore silent to any other violence. The reflections from Wale Hudson-Roberts equating the anger of rioting protesters with the righteous anger of the Jesus in the temple against the money changers is misjudged.
The responses of the Baptist Union, like so many organisations, have become influenced by the world's media, and become politicised.
Truth matters: we are all God’s children – Galatians 3: 26-29. Some academics advocate ‘black theology’ in churches. The Bible says that all scripture is ‘God breathed’ and has the power to speak and teach all - 2 Timothy 3:16. The idea that a section of His people need separate theology denies this, and reminds me of the dangers of becoming tribal, creating division, and ethnicities rising up against each other – Matthew 24:7. The BLM organisation has already been exposed as an anti-West Marxist movement. However, at the heart of the BLM protests is a damaging egocentrism, that judges all, and condemns some, based on the colour of their skin. There is reluctance to show love, understanding, and to face truth. Man’s necessity for personal responsibility and accountability was made clear by God right at the beginning in Genesis 3 when Adam pointed to Eve for his own disobedience.
The implication that all the problems of black people emanate from white privilege and oppression, absolves responsibility for any lawless action. The true nature of justice must be recognised by those shouting ‘black lives matter’ because the current trajectory is towards irreparable division, not only within Britain, but also within the Church, and that’s why, truth matters.
Floyd Davis has been married to Anne (white English) for 34 years, has three children and four grandchildren. He is a draughtsman, plays trumpet, and is an elder at his local Baptist church. Floyd was invited to contribute a reflection to The Baptist Times having expressed concern about the statement of the Core Leadership Team following the death of George Floyd.
For more reflections, visit the new racial justice blog which launched in October 2020.
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