I have been thinking about why I think the way that I do about race. I am well- read on the historical origins of the social construct of race and current practice of its progeny, here being prejudice, stereotypes, white privilege and racial profiling. I hear the stories and have been a part of my share of them– both past and presently. I collect old books about race and continue to research its imagery and social messaging. I watch the news and the video footage of traffic stops turned deadly.
Still, I am not moved to change my position. I still believe in the race-less gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, the increased coverage of stories of actual and suspected police brutality have encouraged me to speak out more against the use of race as a lens for identity, judgment, social relationship and the like
To be sure, after watching the body camera footage of the University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing’s aggressive traffic stop of forty- three year old Mr. Samuel Dubose, I was frightened. When additional footage was released of officers supporting the false testimony of Tensing who said that he was dragged by Mr. Dubose, I was sickened to my stomach and deeply troubled. I wondered, “What kind of law is this?” and said to myself, “If I am stopped by a police officer, I am driving to the police station.”
While there are those who would argue that this is an isolated incident, there are far too many of these specific kinds of incidents in different places for it to be isolated. I am not comforted by paid administrative leave or diversity training. No number of lawsuits filed and settled will cure my discomfort.
And yet, I still believe in the message that I have called to proclaim. While I am disgusted and often in despair, I can’t say that my hope is diminished, that I believe any less. Why?
It’s due to my view. I don’t know when or where or why it happened. But, at some point, I climbed out of the box or was pushed out of this social category. This is why I see differently and why I see humanity differently.
It is because I am standing on top of the box; the box is not on top of me.