Looking for God in the face of racism, hatred and oppression

SUSAN K. SMITH | 7/3/2017, 10:05 a.m.
It seems that God is not particularly concerned with what is being done or what has been done to African ...
Susan K Smith

Crazy Faith Ministries

It seems that God is not particularly concerned with what is being done or what has been done to African Americans in this country.

In spite of our acclamations about the goodness of God, and our tenacious faith, our God has remained silent and has acquiesced to the antics, practices and beliefs of our White supremacist social system.

The acquittal of Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez in the killing of Philando Castile brought shrieks of agony from those who were sure that this time, with the compelling video showing what happened on that fateful day entered into the trial – this time, would be different. It was the same feeling that many had years ago when the beating of Rodney King was shown on televisions all over the world.

But it was not enough. The jurors acquitted Yanez, just as juries and grand juries have given a pass to police officers throughout history. Before there was the capability of videos showing what happened, all we had was the word of a police officer in opposition to the word of individuals who witnessed these incidents. The word of the police officer was always taken; they could and did tell lies about what they did and they could expect to get off.

But the expectation changed with the advent of videos and dash cams. Surely, many thought, those on grand juries and in courtrooms would have to call officers to accountability once they saw with their own eyes what transpired.

It hasn’t changed the tide much at all. Juries, many of which are all-White or nearly White, are stuck in their belief, it seems, that if a Black person gets shot by a police officer, he or she deserved it. They will not budge, no matter how compelling may be the video evidence.

That is troubling in and of itself, but … God. We believe in God, a god who is supposed to be good and fair and just, and we have held onto our belief that God will step in, that God will make a way … and God does in many instances, but when it comes to racism and racist police, God is silent and God lets White supremacy have its way.

William Jones explored a question which many think is blasphemous to even consider in his book, Is God a White Racist? Dr. Anthea Butler, a tenured professor at the University of Pennsylvania, drew the wrath of many when she explored the same question after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin. She wrote at that time, “God ain’t good all the time. God is not for us … I know that this American god ain’t my god. As a matter of fact, I think he’s a racist god with a problem.”

The pain of those words and of that sentiment is palpable. When a loved one is killed, those left behind want justice. That is human. Surely those who criticize this questioning of where God is as Black people continued to be objectified, dehumanized and criminalized by our society understand that?