So I have really been struggling with how to articulate all of this. I have been angry for a while, but the events that took place last weekend in Charlottesville really rubbed me the wrong way. I know that I post on Thursday, but this is too important.
Here is my back story…
Charlottesville, VA is one of my favorite places in this commonwealth. When I was a child, I had Lyme's disease, and the wonderful doctors at UVA took great care of me during my time there. I would have to go to Charlottesville for weekly check-ups for a while, and each time my family was treated with great respect. As I got older, I wanted to attend UVA for college (I didn't because I wanted to play college ball, but I wasn't D-1 good lol). My best friend in the entire world, and arguably the love of my entire life is a UVA grad. I would almost weekly drive up to see her during my undergraduate years. We got through breakups (we would sit and talk, crazy right?), we both fell in "love" with people, and we would talk about it, we would argue about the fact of why we never actually worked as a couple (remember the laundry room conversations?), and so many other memories that have helped to forge our relationship over the years. My barber is in Charlottesville. When I am having a bad day, I drive to Charlottesville, and sit by the Rotunda, and gather my thoughts. When I want a good meal, I will drive to Charlottesville, and grab a burger at Miller's (or more recently Jack Browns). I’ll drive for a Bodo’s bagel. If I am in the mood for music, I may stumble in on a show at the Garage or Whiskey Jar. I could continue on things that I love about Charlottesville (like Popeye’s, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Charlottesville Coffee, or the plug at Legends for example lol), but this is not a tourist post about a city that you may know nothing about. This is a post from a concerned neighbor. I have friends in Charlottesville. Beautiful black and brown people who are doing things to change the world. A part of my heart is in this city, and so when I heard and saw what was happening on Saturday my heart sank. I was supposed to be in Charlottesville on Saturday for an event, but due to what was happening, I was advised to stay home, and I obeyed. To be honest, I didn't want to. I wanted to be there. I wanted to get right in the mix. I wish that some white supremacist would call me a nigger. It wouldn’t be the first time. I was trying to introduce some people to Jesus. If you are curious if I am angry, I am. I wish that these people would just stop. Like for real. Stop. It’s not biblical, it’s not right, and to me and my brown people, it’s not ok.
But I didn't go.
The aftermath of what happened is what really gets me, and for the life of me I cannot understand. The comments that I saw on social media made me just as sick as what I experienced on the weekend. Anyone who has the nerve to defend these evil people with their outdated ideals is not a friend of mine. I watched people that for years have smiled in my face show their true colors. I unfollowed people on Facebook. I blocked people on Twitter/Instagram. And I didn't do it for them to know. I did it for me. I did it because I don't want their negativity somewhere that I can see it. It is not something that I want to have in my life. So I did it. The end. The fact of the matter is this weekend brought to light something that many of us are too afraid to speak of. When we think of racists, the KKK, or a white supremacist, many automatically think of some old redneck, blasting Hank Williams Jr., and drinking Bud Light. The reality of the situation is that these people you bump into at Starbucks or Target, work at your offices, teach your children, and unfortunately, pastor your churches. These people use their platform to perpetuate their ideologies, and to twist history. That's not ok. These people need to be held accountable for their actions, and put on blast for their ignorance. Let me say this, so that everyone reading this knows and understands where I stand...RACISM ON ALL LEVELS IS WRONG. I AM A BLACK MAN LIVING IN AMERICA IN 2017. I AM VERY MUCH PRO BLACK. HOWEVER, THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT I AM "ANTI" EVERYONE ELSE. I BELIEVE THAT WE CAN LIVE IN A SOCIETY PEACEABLY TOGETHER. I WANT THAT. IN ORDER FOR THAT TO HAPPEN, CERTAIN ACTIONS MUST BE ENACTED. IF YOU WANT IT, LET'S WORK. White people needs to understand that while the past is the past, there are present consequences that are still taking place based on what your ancestors did. Period. That's historical facts. It’s not just something that people can get over. Actions must be taken to rectify it.
Since we are on the subject of history, let's take a quick second to address something...If you call yourself a white supremacist, neo nazi, or a confederate sympathizer, then you are agreeing that treason is ok. The Confederacy, led by Jefferson Davis, was a group of slave-owning states that decided because they did not agree with the policy being enacted in America, that they would leave, and start their own country. South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, and Tennessee all decided that it was a better idea to leave the UNITED States, because they were not getting what they wanted politically. Hence the Civil War, and we all know how that ended. They lost. And they came back, without penalty (see how democracy works?). Fast forward some years, and we now find ourselves at war with NAZI Germany. The Nazi party ran on the idea that there was a perfect race, the aryan race, which was white skinned, blue eyed individuals (even though its leader, Adolf Hitler, did not fit this mold of perfection). They terrorized, and murdered millions of people, simply based on the fact that they did not look right. What?? How is that even ok?? Where?? Anyway, there was a war for that, too (see World War 2), and the Nazi party fell, and its leader killed himself (prideful coward he was). How is it then, that there are people who follow these same ideas today? After WW2, there was a trial where Nazi leaders were tried for war crimes, and some put to death (see Nuremberg). Shouldn't that be a dead give away that maybe what they did was wrong? Possibly? I guess not, because we've got a generation of khaki wearing, Starbucks drinking, entitled children who are now making up the new Nazis. These tiki torch totting traitors hold to the idea that the white race is the best race, and that the world is better because white people are in it. Wow. That’s history for you. Real quick, can someone tell me ONE THING that these idiot white people have done in America? Like what legacy are you trying to preserve? All I remember is how these slave owners would take what was good about blacks, and trash the rest. Somebody somewhere please correct me if I am wrong. I'll wait....because, I honestly cannot. I looked for a while to put something in this post. Something that these specific whites-the ones who claim America is theirs, and no one else's. I couldn't find anything. Music-Africa, culture-Europe, food-everywhere, entertainment; you name it, American white people stole it. Sorry, but it seems the only thing these white people were good at is stealing from other people. They were expert thieves. So what is it that white supremacists are looking to preserve? Your place in history? Trust me sweetheart, no one will forget any of your simple behinds. But for all the racist white people who yell get over it, and such, maybe you should to. The South lost the war? Get over it. The white race isn't at the top of the food chain? Get over it. Soon whites will be a minority in America? Get over it, and welcome to the club. Once white America can get past themselves, they would be better off completely. Like for real bro, come on. Please.
Let me get personal for a second...I am on staff as a pastor at a church that is mostly white. These aren't your Starbucks whites either. These are hunting deer, love the outdoors type white people, which is a culture shock for me, but something that I am growing to understand. When I first took this position, I wasn't sure what to expect (and still don’t). As much as I want to dive in 100%, I can't. I don't trust them. I have trust issues from past church hurt, and I am always expecting the worst. In my mind, I am waiting for the day someone writes me, or comes up to me after service, and says something that I don't take to well to. Even now, I feel like I am under this perpetual microscope, and I cannot truly be myself. It is a hard thing to navigate through. Do I actually think this will happen? No. However, it still plagues my thoughts. See, I am the youth pastor, and I love the kids I lead, and we get along great. However, I understand that as the youth pastor, I have to keep relationships with parents, and other leaders who are older, and who could possibly think differently than the children. So I get nervous. I am nervous every time I step foot in this church. I wish there were more ethnicities represented at this church. That isn’t the church’s fault, because they do well with the groups that are represented now, it would just make it easier on me to transition. Example 1: The 3 black kids that come to this youth group, I watch and care for more than anyone else there. Because I am black too. It’s not that I love the other kids any less, but I watch especially out for them because I was them. I been the black kid around mostly white kids, and it was a miserable experience for me. I don’t want that for them, or any kid that comes through that youth group. They will always feel at home with me there, for as long as I am there. But as far as the church as a whole? Eh, I can't do it yet. I want to, but there is the slightest disconnect that scares me. Like when I came on staff, there was an issue with when I was getting my pay. In curiosity, I asked a gentleman who is over the pay about it (He's old, and white). I got the run around, and it was a stressful thing. I finally got a check, but it was after I had been there for 3 weeks (1 doesn't equal 3). So I went back, inquiring if I would get paid for the other weeks. My respectful question was met with a snarky response, and some comment about it not being about the money. Now it could have just been his humor. Maybe he is a stand up guy. That’s what my heart wants. My head says “here it is again”. Disconnect. I feel like no one knows me, and I am on an island sometimes. Being that, I takes things the wrong way. Maybe I am wrong. I am a working progress. However, I think it goes both ways to make sure there is no disconnection. I am an open book. All you have to do is ask. No talks to me, they talk at me. That does nothing. It’s not that I don’t like the church, I want to be here, I just wish that there was more relationship.
Back to the story (I promise I am almost done)...the president of this nation had the opportunity this weekend to show those who question his motivation, that he is in fact a man of the people, and that means all people. He did not. instead, he added fuel to the flame that he is a racist bigot, who cares nothing about people, and all about himself. The racists are the ones who got him elected (see why you should go vote now?), and they applaud him for defense of their way of life. All I can say is that they would not bring that crap to where I am from. We don't play that.
Charlottesville, I love you. You have been so good to me. Now there is a blemish on you that you didn't bring on yourself, but I am sure you will heal from. I am praying for the victims of this horrific day, and for the families of those who lost their lives. God be with you.
This is not an "all sides" thing, this post is specifically for those who are white, and look down on those who are not...just know that we see you, and we hear you, and your bigotry will not be tolerated. Don't bring that mess to my doorstep, or anyone I care about. I don’t have too threaten anyone, you know what it is.
To anyone who thinks that this is directed at them, it may be. However, if you love people, and treat others with respect, then there is no need for you to be alarmed. My anger is directed at racists, white supremacists, the KKK, and Neo Nazis. The rest of white America can take a breath, this isn’t about you.
A concerned African American