Two Different Views of America

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I honestly thought I was done writing on race for a while.  Naïve enough to believe that maybe things were getting better.  And then like the video clip in the opening of this post from the Godfather, events of the past week pull me back in.  Two more shootings.  More protest and the racial tension is heightened even further.

“They have the unique ability to listen to one story and understand another.”
― Pandora Poikilos, Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out

I found myself watching a segment of the Bill O’Reilly show. As the details of the shooting in Charlotte were being uncovered, Mr. O’Reilly had a civil rights attorney as his guest.  They were discussing the events of the shooting.  One observation Mr. O’Reilly made was striking.  He said, “Well, we have to trust that the police’s information is correct.”  That is the heart of the problem with the two views of America.  For white America that is your starting point.  You believe the police.  You have no reason not to.  It’s likely most of your encounters with police have been fair and reasonable.  That is your reality.

Depending on where you are as a black American that may not be your reality. Your experience with the police may not have turned out so positively, or you may know someone whose experience ended with horrifying results.  As a black male, I was taught to be cautious, even afraid of the police.  So when a law enforcement officer pulls me over (very rarely has that happened) my heart races, I am on edge not knowing how this whole thing will turn out.  I am convinced this uneasiness is felt by both parties, and it is a recipe for disaster.  Two people, both on edge, both afraid of each other. One has a deadly weapon, one is defenseless.

I get the sense that so much of what is happening is based on fear.  Each side is afraid of the other.  What Mr. O’Reilly and his guest were attempting to solve is why?  Why are these shootings happening?  Why is the community reacting in such a violent and destructive way?  Mr. O’Reilly thought if the black community just understood the police were there to protect and serve everything would be ok.  The civil rights attorney was pointing out that the black community doesn’t feel protected or served, but victimized by the police.  So every new incident only feeds the narrative that black men are being victimized.  With that feeling, with that narrative, with the subsequent rioting, the fear on both sides only grows.  The gulf becomes larger and the possible racial explosion becomes more evident with each incident.

Only God’s love can tone down the rhetoric.  Only God’s love can drive out the fear.  We are a nation in need of repentance.  We have allowed Satan to create an atmosphere of suspicion and chaos among peoples and nations.  Like Hezekiah, we need to come before God and seek his forgiveness and healing.  Look at what happened when that occurred in 2 Kings 20:4-5,“And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him:“Turn back, and say to Hezekiah, the leader of my people, Thus says the Lord, the God of David, your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you.”

I call on the people of God to bathe this situation in prayer.  We need to become a people on our knees praying for God to intervene.   God is grieved by what is happening, and if we pray to him, God will heal our land.  He will heal our divisions and create a culture of love and trust.  Only God can fix what is broken among us.

Other related posts on this topic:
https://revheadpin.org/2016/09/08/its-a-matter-of-perspective
https://revheadpin.org/2016/08/23/how-to-make-sure-all-lives-matter/
https://revheadpin.org/2016/07/19/fearfully-made

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32 thoughts on “Two Different Views of America

  1. The thing I have a hard time with is the media hype. Do you realize black police officers shoot white males too? Is it ever on the news? No. Why is that? Because it doesn’t get the ratings, it doesn’t get the outcry of the public! It doesn’t get racial tension and riots in the streets! There are thousands of upstanding men and women of all ethnic backgrounds serving as officers in this country. Perhaps a few bad apples have spoiled the bunch, but perhaps the media has become judge, jury and the mobs thee executioners.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you that the media is a huge part of the problem. That is why the Church and Christians need to be the one speaking hope and light into this situation. That has been my message in all these posts on race. The world will never bring healing only God can do that that. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Keith, God has given you a unique perspective and opportunity. Thank you for your willingness to share your experiences in a way that may allow more non-blacks like me to understand more fully. I pray that God will help us to move a little closer to the image of heaven where people from every ethnicity will be gathered together around the throne and before the Lamb.

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  3. Keith, fear weakens all of us and causes us to act in ways that are not always right. Your message that prayer and love need to speak louder than the media is definitely what our nation needs to know and follow. I will continue to pray with you for an end to the hurt being felt by too many. I am white. I have white family members who are police officers. I have African American friends that I love like family. I have prayed with all of them for discernment about the answer to our division. We must spread love and teach peace. Thank you so much for your powerful insights.

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  4. U2’s “Joshua Tree” album was originally supposed to be called TWO AMERICAS. The problem might be that you are watching FOX NEWS? Personally I gave up cable at the end of 2009 and get my news from podcasts. However, as a lifelong KRS-One fan, I understand that some people feel relaxed when they see the police while others get tense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually watching any of the media on race makes me want to punch the TV. Very few are taking about the real issues in urban communities. I served congregations in Detroit during the murder capital years. Then St Louis, Milwaukee and now live in the Chicago area. The hurt and pain is real.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a new perspective on america. For me the place has always been one to look up to with an awe- standing amazed at the skyrise buildings, the amazing nightlife, the bridges, Hollywood and everything. Probably these are the certain aspects that are highlighted too much so that one needs time to form other views on America and its people beyond these.

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  6. I am not American so as an outsider watching the news, I am always horrified. I just don’t understand how there can be so much distrust and violence against once another. But you’re right, fear is a big factor. If only it can be as simple as being kind, right? But sadly such is not the world we live in.

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  7. This is a very interesting point of view.
    The posts like this one makes people more “aware” of that kind of issues. However, in Europe you can also be quickly classified as e.g. person from east and you know… you’re not from west etc. (btw. Poland is in the middle of Europe). I found today very interesting quote by C.G. Jung – “Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.” I’m a very tolerant person – I would like see more people around me who see the world the way I do… I learn to have more and more empathy to people who just judge without any reasons…

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  8. If only we could find love and compassion toward one another the cruelty would be replaced by peace and harmony. Love is not a dream nor only a word, it’s an action and one should choose this instead of fear, judging, and brutality. My pray goes to all these victims of failing system which supposed to protect the innocent people.

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