Silence is Consent

A righteous man knows the rights of the poor;
    a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.
 Proverbs 29:7

I am writing here today because what has happened is wrong. It is evil.

Michael Brown. Trayvon Martin. Eric Garner. Tamir Rice.

More unarmed black men killed.

And silence is consent. My silence is consent.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. - Martin Niemöller

Michael Brown was hit at least 7 times, all from the front. He was killed 148 feet away from the Darren Wilson's police car. Either he walked backward the entire way from the police car, or he ran from the car, then turned around, and was shot at 12 times.

To believe that Michael Brown charged at Darren Wilson in the midst of a hail of gunfire is to believe that black people are monsters, mythical superhuman creatures, who do not understand the physics of bullets, even as they rip through flesh. To white people, who co-sign Wilson’s account of events, this seems like an entirely reasonable assertion, one helped along by a lifetime of media consumption that represents black masculinity as magical, monstrous and mythic. - Brittany Cooper, Salon

And now Darren Wilson is a millionaire.

But I'm not here to convince you that something terrible is happening. Great writers are doing so on Twitter, and there's a great summary of past and current systematic injustice here.

I'm here to ask why it's so easy not to care.

Most people I know in-person in Dallas aren't talking about this. Maybe they aren't reading the news. My Twitter feed this week was a mix of calls for change and compassion in light of recent events, mixed with Peter Pan reviews and fudge recipes that seemed out of place amidst all of the hurting and anger.

I wouldn't care if it weren't for Twitter. Christena, Caris, Broderick, Austin, Shaun, Addye - thank you for speaking up.

I have and am benefitting from systematic racism. I started off with advantages, and I am continue to benefit from advantages - maybe every day. It's hard to see the advantages, and it can be harder to see the injustice that comes to those who don't have the advantage of being white.

But as a white person, I can choose not to care.

The message being sent by that kind of response from police is clear: Black youths are merely being allowed to live by white cops who have the power to rescind that permission at any time, based on even arbitrary and unsubstantiated “fear”, without consequence. What could possibly make a Black population feel more terrified or more dehumanized? What could possibly make a mother more completely panic-stricken every time her Black child leaves the house? - Mikki Kendel
I wonder what's like to be "surprised" there was no indictment rather than *terrified*. Completely & Utterly Terrified. #Eric Garner - Austin Channing, via Twitter

If this was YOU - if police were killing your husband, your children, your friends and neighbors, and YOU could be next - what would you do?

But it's not just police violence. Every day there is racial injustice and disregard for the humanity of black people.

This matters for us, the church, because our God cares for justice. It matters because for some, their "earliest and most painful experiences of racism have all occurred in the church – at the hands of sincere Christians" (Christena Cleveland).

I am racist. I have contributed to this problem. I have implicit bias. What can I do to help today?

I am speaking up because our country seems to believe, whether consciously or unconsciously, that black people are not really people, and therefore killing them when they are suspected - not proved - to have done anything wrong isn't a big deal. We say they deserve it - but God says I deserve death too, because I have hate in my heart.

This conversation is not only about racism, but about whether or not we are willing to stand up the injustice against our brothers and sisters.

God created us, black and white. Neither are better. Neither should be murdered on the street.

Satan wants to win here. He is using racism and apathy to tear us apart. I can't think that because it's mainly black men being killed now that I will always be immune to injustice.

Indifference elicits no response. Indifference is not a response. Indifference is not a beginning; it is an end. And, therefore, indifference is always the friend of the enemy, for it benefits the aggressor -- never his victim, whose pain is magnified when he or she feels forgotten. The political prisoner in his cell, the hungry children, the homeless refugees -- not to respond to their plight, not to relieve their solitude by offering them a spark of hope is to exile them from human memory. And in denying their humanity, we betray our own. - Elie Wiesel

So how can I not be indifferent? How can I speak out? For me, this means listening to the pain of my black friends instead of wishing this problem would go away. For me, this means having this conversation with friends about what I can do to change. It could be joining a protest, writing to your lawmakers, or talking about racism and prejudice with your children. But it's far easier to do nothing, waiting for this news event to pass away like so many before.

Silence is enabling.

Silence is consent.

Black lives matter.

Speak up.