What will happen next now that most of the furore has passed?
By Rosemarie Davidson-Gotobed
The murder was committed in 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Then came the outrage and international demonstrations, webinars and the largely lacklustre statements, the shameless band-waggoning from various denominations and multi-nationals, the immoral “We didn’t know!” and “Help us understand….” and my personal favourites “What should we do?” and “How should the Church respond?”
Yes, this sounds cynical. I don’t have a problem with that accusation. However, it is usually the accusation of those who have absented themselves from the real lives of black and brown people. Black and brown people who have not been afforded the luxury of looking the other way or pretending that, as long as they play along, the horrors will not visit their door.
Unfortunately, over at least the past 40 years, we as a country have already been here in one form or another. The statements of sorrow or regret are well-worn and to knowledgeable black and brown ears, insubstantial at best and disingenuous at worst. However, there is one difference that cannot be ignored and that is the activism of young white people. Time will tell if that activism develops and grows or if it will sink into the pit of nostalgia.
So, what will happen next now that most of the furore has passed?
Well, the train has already left the station. Calls for and the setting up of commissions and enquiries with experts giving evidence. This will then be followed by the re-wording and repackaging of old recommendations that will be passed off as new or innovative but with no budget or accountability. Lots of work will be produced around those recommendations, then the whole thing will be shelved and folk will move on to the next shiny thing because “We’ve done that now”.
And what of the Church, the body of Christ? Why are we once again caught napping on the crucial matter of racial injustice and inequality? Why are we being led by wider society and not the other way around? Why is the perennial question “What should be the Church’s response?”
One thing that would make this old warrior less cynical would be when something like this happens again (and it will), Christians across the country would already be the leaders on good practice, equity, diversity and inclusion, advice and activism. Imagine what it could be like if society turns and asks the churches “How are we doing?”
It’s simply being salt and light, the way we are called to be. Remember that one?
The following has been included to help you think:
Rosemarie Davidson-Gotobed is the National Minority Ethnic Vocations Officer, Archbishop’s Council of the Church of England. She was formerly the first Racial Justice Co-ordinator for the London Baptist Association
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