It would be inappropriate not to recognize the tragic incident in Minneapolis this past week when police officers killed Mr George Floyd, a 46 year old African American. Yet another example of police killing an African American in the United States.
The image of a white police officer with a knee on an African American citizens neck was an image of America at its worst.
This is a picture of the history of America’s attitude and action toward people of color fed over a 400 year history: They need to know their place; they are to be held down; ignored; and treated in the manner as prescribed by a white dude: Whether it be a police Officer or someone else.
This prejudicial situation reminds me of the lyrics from a song in the old Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, “South Pacific”
The lyrics go something like this:
“You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear. You’ve got to be taught from year to year.
You’ve got to be carefully taught.”
We humans are NOT born to treat others inhumanely. We are taught to discriminate with hate and fear. We are taught to assume inequality, and to hate and fear others supposedly unlike ‘me’.
Likewise, “You’ve got to be taught” to love and respect others. It doesn’t just happen. There is a process to learn how to treat others with respect. “You’ve got to be carefully taught”.
Anger and violence can be anticipated to flow from these tragic circumstances. And in America, it seems that without the public expression of anger nothing will move.
Otherwise it will be addressed by a Committee, Commission, a Board that will sidestep the inequity of law and justice and justify the current rule and order. And African Americans will continue to be killed by our police officers with impunity.
The police are key to the cultural transformation that needs to take place. The Police are on the front line where justice is formidably tested. They have the power and opportunity to publicly display the equality and inequality that exists about us.
There is a simple antidote to our social dis – ease.
We need to address and act toward each other as human equals.
In all situations. It is difficult. It will be difficult. But practice of the right behavior creates the right habits, and the right thoughts of respect and appreciation and the love for each other.
“You’ve got to be carefully taught.”
Our condolences to the family of Mr George Floyd. Our prayers are with you. And our prayers are with the United States of America. The land we all love and are willing to live and die for.
If I might quote St Paul:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
The grace and peace and love of Christ be with you all.
John Goldstein, Pastor