Stepping into the Discussion on Race

503678-charlotte-protest-getty-8-resizesdAnger has been all over the news lately as the incidents of violence involving African-Americans and the police seem to come one right after the other. Social media provides a platform for opinions and accusations from anybody with a phone. The reactions from each side often lack logic and are typically more inflammatory than they are useful towards solutions.

The illogical arguments of the masses on social media platforms seem to grant credibility where there are no qualifications that would validate credibility. The problem is that most of the “evidence” supporting one side or the other would be inadmissible if presented in an orderly, credible way such as a court of law. The argument isn’t really an argument at all, but people venting without any hope of understanding or resolution.

Here is what I know: anger is a secondary emotion. Under the anger, there is either hurt or fear. The anger and the immediate circumstances that seem to stir it are a distraction from the driver of either hurts or fears. You’ve got to get to the hurt and/or the fear to resolve the anger.

I see anger spewed all over social media with illogical connections to support faulty conclusions from both sides. If I get distracted by the flawed arguments and enter into the debate on that level, it will go nowhere. I have to acknowledge and address the heart behind the head because the head is not that interested in logic where the heart is crying out.

If we won’t stop the inflammatory rhetoric to try to realize the heart condition of those that disagree, as well as our own emotional fog that confuses our reason, we’re stuck. Actually, we aren’t stuck, we’re moving deeper and deeper into division and discord.

Emotion needs a voice or it will just stew. Acknowledging hurts of generations of systemic racism is healthy, right and healing. Acknowledging fears from violence born out of communities where hurt is prevalent is healthy, right and healing.

For what it’s worth, I believe any discussion on race has to begin with a acknowledgement from the majority to the minority that wrongs of the recent and distant past have impacted the present. To believe that there is no cause and effect just because you didn’t actually do the stuff is a non-starter.

Beyond acknowledgement, there has to be forgiveness from all sides. Without a heart that is intent on not carrying around offense, there will be no healing. Forgiveness is not permission to do it again, it is a release from the burdens of emotions born out of past injustice.

Frankly, I don’t think there is a national solution. The only solution is local. It is so local, in fact, that it is heart by heart. Only hearts that are humble and forgiving will have any hope of multiplying and only a multiplication of humility and forgiveness will get us out of this mess. In my experience, only Jesus produces those kinds of hearts.


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