I woke up this morning to all the videos and images of the torch light white supremacy protest at UVA. I watched as a multitude of white supremacists marched with torches and chanted statements of white supremacy. It’s sad. I couldn’t help reflect on the past 2 years and all the pleas and warnings Christians of color did to warn their white brethren about Trump and what he was emboldening.
“You’re over-reacting” many said.
“Stop being divisive!” many said.
“You’re an agitator and liberal!!” Many claimed.
…and then, many more simply said nothing. They continued talking about abortion (which is indeed evil), they continued talking about the economy, and Hillary’s emails. They talked about how “all lives matter” and spilt plenty of ink defending statistics that justified insensitivity towards the deaths of unarmed black men. With all that, many even continued talking about the gospel. All the while not realizing their silence and indifference in the face of racism made their gospel witness hypocritical. Well, we are now possibly looking at the birth pains of WWIII and thanks to our president’s rhetoric, a revitalized movement of white supremacy. I understand, for many, these are simply pictures documenting an exercise of free speech. For me, and other people of color, given the history of our country; this is an act of terrorism.
Notice the age of these white supremacists. They are my age. They sit in college classes, you see them in grocery stores, you sit next to them in the movies, they may go to your church, and as I have learned recently; some sit with you during seminary lectures.
If you listen to the protests, notice how these people posture themselves as victims. Here’s a necessary fact; 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 and those who are white are the solution. This re-enforces their power and authority minimizes the voice of minorities. Also, white supremacy WILL embrace minorities if they can receive some who will help reenforce that narrative to their fellow minority peoples.
This image is surreal. As I look at it, it is as if I am looking through the eyes of all my black ancestors that have come before me. I am the descendant of slaves. I am the descendant of Civil Rights Activists. From slavery to reconstruction, from the Klu Klux Klan to the whites who defended Jim Crow- now, behold modern day America. Imprinted on the mind of every generation of black people is the image of angry white men with torches bellowing out words of white supremacy. The image of white rage is well known by people of color in America, especially African Americans. 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 and those who are white are the solution. This re-enforces their power and authority and minimizes the voice of minorities. It also fuels white racial rage and provides a form of perverted logic that massages a satanic morality. Often, black people are encouraged to consider what this image represents to be nothing more than a delusion. Last year, many of us were patted on our backs as these same people voted a white supremacist into office. A man who emboldened other white supremacists to come out of the darkness and into the public light. Personally, I feel like I have walked through a “Rite of Passage.” I too, now, have an image that encapsulates white supremacy imprinted on my mind. Well, I have hundreds but in this one, I feel like I have inherited the eyes of my ancestors. The only question left for me is at what age will my son and daughters walk through this “Rite of Passage”? At what age will my children be when they inherit the eyes of their father, father’s father, and so on. If you are not black, I encourage you to look closely. Look at this image closely. Look and look and look. After you have looked long and hard and have had this image imprinted onto your mind, close your eyes. Try hard to Imagine the image. If your imagination is vivid enough, for a moment, you may enter into the privilege of looking at America through the eyes of black history.
Kyle J. Howard Kyle J. Howard currently serves the church as a biblical counselor. He is a student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he received his associate degree in biblical/theological studies and a bachelor’s degree in biblical counseling. He is finishing a graduate degree in Historical Theology and is preparing to plant and pastor a transcultural church.