I will never ever understand why people can’t condemn white supremacy as is, without having to give qualifiers regarding black people. No black person ran over an alt-white racist today. White supremacy kills. It murders, rapes, pillages, destroys, and damns. Yes, black people can be racist. But the image of racist hate over the past 24 hours has not been black, it’s been white. To me, white people should be able to condemn white supremacy outright. Condemning white supremacy shouldn’t have to be wedded to the condemnation of black racism.
You know, I’ll say it. It is a miracle in America that all black people don’t hate white people. It speaks to the grace, forgiveness, and love of the black community as well as to the power of the Gospel which has been central to their history and collective experience. The history of the African American experience in America is one of abounding grace and forgiveness. Blacks have been kidnapped, enslaved, raped, murdered, oppressed, marginalized, and terrorized ever since they stepped foot on this continent. Black people are a traumatized people group, who live with trauma everyday of their lives from as far back as they remember. Does such trauma and racialized abuse breed racism? Yes, but that is a traumatized victim’s response; it is understandable even if it’s not justifiable. Black racism towards whites is NOT the same as white supremacy. White Supermacy and Black Racism are two necessary but entirely desperate conversations. There is no place in the Kingdom of God for either. Today, White Supremacy needs to be condemned without criticizing black people’s response to it. This is all the more necessary for those who do not know how to engage with victims of racialized trauma in a way that is senstive to its affects and nuances. This does not mean we don’t talk about black racism. It means it’s a conversation for another day. Today, black people are in mourning and are expressing lamentations.
Dear person of color, who is living life with racialized trauma. The racism and white supremacy you have endured is not your fault. Calling out racism and the systems and ideologies that promote it does not make you guilty of contributing to white supremacy. Ever. White supremacy ALWAYS seeks to justify itself by claiming the victors are victimized, and the real victims are the victimizers. White supremacy always seeks to make minorities feel like they are the problem. A wife is never responsible for her physical abuse. Even if her husband gets angry because she is the one who challenged him in his anger or instigated the argument. Likewise, people of color are not guilty of contributing to white supremacy. People of color are no more guilty of white supremacy than a rape victim is for being raped. Even if a rape victim turns down a man’s advances bluntly or disrespectfully, she is never responsible in any way for her rape. It’s never okay to blame a victim for their abuse, and it’s not okay if you are a person of color and are being blamed as contributing to white supremacy.
Yes, there is a time and place to confront or correct a victim regarding their own sin. Sometimes, a person’s own sin can lead them into situations where it is more likely they will experience the affects of another’s sin. But they are never responsible for that other person’s sin. Ever.
What we saw in Charlottesville was not simply racism. I think racism is too general and not specific enough. White Supremacy gets at the heart of racialization in America. That’s kind of the point of this post. The issue at hand isn’t simply “racism”. If you think it is, you may become inclined to wrongly generalize this issue as hate and violence “on both sides”. General racism isn’t on display right now and so “black racism” has little place in this discussion. The issue at hand is white supremacy. White supremacy is what allowed for a racist militia to be present unabated while a toy gun got Tamir Rice killed in seconds. White supremacy allows for torch lighting Neo-nazi protests to be considered “exercising first amendment” and black lives matter protestors called “terrorism”. White supremacy allows for these terrorists to show their faces and yet attend work this morning while Colin Kaepernick was labeled a terrorist for kneeling and has been black listed from continuing in his career. To me, I believe emphasizing white supremacy is important because generalizing this issue as “Racism” allows people to look away from the true issue; the racism that is boiling over in this country is largely one-sided. It is white supremacy rearing its ugly head.
This is WHITE supremacy. You know, that thing that has been the mistress of western religion for centuries. It has been the bride of the culture since Native Americans were raped, pillaged, and killed. It has been Justice’s lover since black bodies were sold as property to whites and the often perverse yoke of bondage was placed around their necks. This past weekend was nothing more than this countries renewing of vows with an old devil called white supremacy. Many thought it was laid to rest, but many people of color have known better. No, like the witch in the film Tangled she had beautified herself to hide her haggardness, but she has always been alive and active. It continues to dress itself in the garments of justice and woo souls away from love with songs of ideology. It will not win this nation, but it is ruling the hearts of many. We must fight this ancient demon by name.
Kyle J. Howard currently serves the church as a trauma informed soul care provider. Though his Soul Care ministry is comprehensive, he his primarily focused on counseling, teaching, and raising awareness about Spiritual abuse/trauma as well as racial trauma. Kyle holds an Associates in Biblical & Theological studies, a Bachelors in Christian Counseling, and is receiving his M.A in Historical Theology in a few weeks.