By SUSAN K. SMITH
Crazy Faith Ministries
We have all seen it – White people (primarily) rebelling against mandates to wear face masks in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We have seen videos of White people swearing at store owners, yelling and screaming about how they have the First Amendment right to refuse to wear face masks, and recently, we saw a video of a woman coughing on the baby of a Spanish-speaking mother. The woman has since lost her job, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Their protests about having their rights violated has caused me to think: this country would be a lot better off if they had thought to fight as hard about the real violation of civil and human rights of Black, Brown and poor people meted out by a white supremacist system.
It has only been by and with the grace of God that Black people have been able to hold on as our rights have been attacked and our protestations against the attacks have been criticized. It is singularly amazing that so many White people cannot or will not understand what the phrase “Black lives matter” means.
Who of the privileged majority could or would have stood for not being allowed to purchase homes wherever they could afford them because of their color? As Whites shout for justice, who of them could have withstood generations of never getting justice in courts of law? Who of them would have been able to stand up in court before an all-Black jury, with a Black judge and prosecutor after having been arrested by Black officers who lied about their case?
Who of them would be able to bear the doubly difficult effort to get through their grief at the loss of a loved one from police and the fact of that officer either not being indicted for a crime, or, indicted, being acquitted, freed to walk the streets and continue their attack on people whom they do not like – primarily because of their color?
Who of them could have or would have been able to bear the grief, the rage, and the disappointment of fighting for this country, only to be denied the rights given by the government to White soldiers?
Who of them would or could bear the pressure of having to give their children instructions how to keep their lives as they drive or when they are arrested by police officers? Who of them would be able to bear the disparate care given in hospitals when they are most sick – i.e. a Black doctor or nurse refusing to give needed care or advice because the patient was White?
Why are so many White people, who call themselves patriots, unconcerned that the president has apparently known about Russians paying people to kill American soldiers, and why are they so able to forgive confederate soldiers who fought against this country, committing treason?
Why are so many White people unconcerned about the spread of COVID-19? Is it because the reports have said that it has been affecting Black people more than Whites? Are they unable to care about anyone other than themselves?
The Rev. Dr. James Forbes said in a recent interview with Bill Moyers, “Why can’t White people understand all they have missed by hating Black people? Isn’t 400 years of subjugating and oppressing Black people enough? Haven’t they tasted enough blood of Black people to be satisfied?”
Apparently not. When I see so many White people, following blindly and enthusiastically after this president who specializes in stoking racial hatred, I am saddened. White supremacy has done something terrible to the God-given capacity of people to care about others. Believe it or not, God really did make people so that so many White people would not act as they do, as though Black people are inhuman and unworthy of care and compassion.
And it is a shame because that kind of hatred eventually does run its course. The people who have been the oppressors will be forced to see what their actions have caused. By that time, in this country, the carnage resulting from their hatred will be all around them, and there will be no way out.
Justice does have a way of making its way into the fray.
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. Her latest book, Rest for the Justice-Seeking Soul, is now available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon. She is available for speaking. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.