Guest Post: The Black Holocaust Never Stopped

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I don’t do many guest posts. Today is an exception. In the wake of Ferguson and the vitriol at the looting but not at the killing that precipitated it, I want you to hear my friend Warren Stewart’s voice. I want you to hear how it feels to be Black in American right now. Today.  Warren is not a reactionary. He is a kind hearted, conservatively educated, middle-class, married guy of good will struggling to raise his kids. He is a Christian, a pastor, and the son of one of Arizona’s most highly respected and moderate African-American clergy. If Warren does not feel there is a place for him in our culture, we are really in a tough spot. Please read this with an open heart and then take the risk of letting it start conversations…

 

Why do black people have to explain why racism still exists in America? You tell us. We didn’t create it. It must be amazing to be a part of the majority and privileged demographic in America. To never have to be concerned with racism, prejudice, profiling, lynching, slavery, etc. is a privilege.

I am told that it shouldn’t be called “racism” because we are all a part of the human race. Yet American history tells us Black people (slaves) were not even seen as human, only three-fifths so, in the 1788 American congressional documents.  When you are not viewed as fully human what other word is there other than “racism”? And yet I and many of your Black friends hesitate to comment on issues of race because we don’t want to offend our White friends.

Racism in America has never gone away. People of color have been written out of our history books – this is where racism begins: It is taught. Children are never taught our positive influence on history. And if children are taught, even Black children, to forget about Black history no wonder people of color don’t seem to matter in our present day.

Blacks have not arrived because we have the King holiday. We did not arrive because of the election of President Barack Obama. Those are not America’s apology for slavery. They are not our 40 acres and a mule. Having an African-American President has only opened the curtain to reveal that America still has stage 4 racism cancer.

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From Joseph Boston’s fb page.

The Black Holocaust has never ended. Jews had their horrific holocaust at the hands of Hitler and it was over. Our holocaust has never ended. Black people are still marked for sifting, extinction, and death. We have been trained to kill each other. We are targeted by the police. We have never had relief from prejudice and racism. We still feel the injustices of Emmit Till, Medgar Evers, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rodney King, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Mike Brown every time another Black life is taken. If a White boy was gun downed by Black police officers they would be in jail now.

Our holocaust has never ended. Slavery has merely taken on a new form through the prison system (free labor). Our economic bondage is maintained by tying school funding to property values and then filling our neighborhoods with government approved predatory lenders. The Black eugenics plan (abortion) has killed more black lives than slavery. HIV/AIDS has killed more Black people then any other demographic. Africa, one of our world’s richest continents, has some of the poorest living conditions in the world. And in America the police act as the new KKK executing young Black men on the street and leave them there for 4 hours as they did when they hung us from trees in the South.

I am outraged. I am outraged because I still experience racism and others act as if it does not exist. I’m frustrated with my own people because we allow ourselves to be influenced by the demonic messages of hip-hop. I am upset because the media portrays us as less than (3/5) human whenever possible and demonize us as thugs. Mostly I am tired of having to explain that racism still exists. Here is my question, Do you value people of color as fully human other than entertaining you on a stage, field, or court?

I have wonderful White brothers and sisters in the faith and I am thankful for them. They understand and are genuinely concerned about what we go through. It is only through the gospel that has brought down every dividing wall that separated us that we can be unified in Christ in our diversity (Ephesians 2:11-18). But diversity and unity has to move from a conversation to integration in a masterful mosaic for the Messiah to be glorified.

One day every eye will see Christ’s body united. One day we will stand before God and there will be neither male nor female, slave nor free, Jew nor Greek. We will all be one in Him. (Galatians 3:28; Revelation 7:9).

But that day has not yet come.

#ClassIsInSession #Racism #Ferguson #MikeBrown

 
*Originally posted on Warren’s blog: http://warrenhstewartjr.wordpress.com
 
Note from Matt: Reconciliation is hard work. It doesn’t happen between groups…or when we label “ those people on tv.” It happens one life at a time. You can be a reconciling presence or a dividing one. Each of us chooses every day. Again, I encourage you to take a risk and let Warren’s piece start some conversations.
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22 thoughts on “Guest Post: The Black Holocaust Never Stopped

  1. I’ll take the risk, and have a conversation; but can the conversation be based on facts?

    Let’s start with the third paragraph. People of color absolutely have not been written out of our history books. I have three children in public schools, and I can open any of their history books and find a dozen mentions of people of color with only the slightest effort. And to say that children are never taught the positive influence on history of people of color is a willful misrepresentation of reality. Again, open any modern elementary school history text and see for yourself.

      • Thanks, Matt.

        I don’t deny the main point of your friend’s post. Racism does still exist in America. I still see it, though likely not as clearly or often as Pastor Stewart does. I think, however, that calling it a stage 4 cancer is to ignore the fruits of the labor of a generation of dedicated, well-meaning people. Race relations are not what they should be. They are not what they will be when the Kingdom is fulfilled. But they are undeniably better than they were.

        • Hi Porter,

          Thank you for commenting.

          I think you are right – things are better than the 60’s (although many Black friends say I am naive). Either way I still do think we have a long, long way to go. We see this in the rage present when these events happen. Like a giant marital squabble over the lid on the toothpaste tube, the Ferguson riots aren’t really about Ferguson-they are a laundry list of other incidents.

          In my work with young people in Phoenix I see the effects of our societal race issues played out in a significant way that Warren doesn’t mention (he comes from a house with an involved dad) – the wholesale absence of dads in the African American community in Phoenix. There are a bunch of ways that society has collaborated to make it difficult on young men of color to build and maintain commitments. I don’t see a vast intentional conspiracy, but, all things have certainly worked together for bad in this case.

          Thank you for being willing to think about this out loud!

  2. Hello, Matt. Thank you for your friend Warren’s thoughtful, sober post. I do appreciate him and his honesty, openness and willingness to speak about racism.

    I live in Evanston, a suburb of Chicago. Because of a whole host of reasons, the ethnic/racial/societal/political mix makes Evanston a fascinating, progressive place to live. Yes, I will be honest: this town has racism. And, yes, this town has a lively conversation going about the past/present ramifications and the past/present repercussions.

    I, too, agree that “It is only through the gospel that has brought down every dividing wall that separated us that we can be unified in Christ in our diversity (Ephesians 2:11-18),” as your friend Warren so rightly says. And I absolutely agree that the Church, as it stands right now in America, is still very much a racially-divided institution. However–the multi-colored, multi-cultural complexion of the Church is improving. Thank God!

    • Hi Liza,
      I think you are right. A great source for data on the multi-ethnic church, btw, is Mark DeYmaz from the Mosaix Network in Little Rock. He has been charting the growing numbers of multi-ethnic churches over the last decade. The data says that the body of Christ is getting better at being together. There was also a fascinating article on USA Today last spring about the growing percentage of first marriages that are multi-ethnic as well.

  3. As long as we live in a culture that kills 3000 babies a day by abortion, we will never completely address the sins of the nation. And then there are those who use abortion to continue their assault on minorities to this day. Please check out this film Maafa21 http://www.maafa21.com/ and understand the connection. All human life is made in the image and likeness of God and is sacred. The law must protect all life including those living in the wombs of their mothers. if we do not protect the least of our brothers and sisters, if we do not live this belief in our day to day lives, if we do not demand from our leaders in public office a respect for the lives of pre-born children, then do not look to see the end to such evils as racism, for such evils spring from the same ruthless selfish heart.

    • Hello John,

      Thank you for commenting.

      While I think that some of the connections made in Maafa21 are a pretty big stretch, I agree with your premise that all human life is sacred and that cultures of convenience that devalue some human lives (such as the unborn) lead naturally and logically to the degradation of others (the poor, the aged, the mentally ill, minorities, etc). Human civilization is supposed to be about protecting the weak and defenseless.

      Without casting judgment on those who have made difficult and heartrending choices with their pregnancies, we must, at a minimum, make certain that women know the reality that there is no such thing as a “consequence free” pregnancy.

  4. Ephesians 2:11-18, if followed would definitely help to address the problem, but I am reminded of the bellows in the blacksmith work and that is as long as the bellows are being worked, either by black, white or other, the flames will continue. Even the article by Warren enflames the fire and keeps racism alive if you read it closely. One could throw the whole Bible on the flames, if done in the wrong way and the fire would consume the words that are meant to lessen the fire.

  5. Hi Harold, Ephesians 2 would indeed be helpful. Your bellows analogy is very good! A big part of this problem is the reality that the system has created a machine that works the bellows when we are not even in the room.

    I am a middle class guy who has worked with “neighborhood” kids for the last 15 years. I can tell you that kids in the neighborhood do not grow up with a vision for “success” and, what they have often gets taken from them – The bellows keeps puffing on them. School funding is one of those bellows. When we tie school funding to neighborhood property values we insure that poor kids have poor schools. No one worked the bellows, but the machine keeps fanning the flames. No one tells police officers “shoot the Black kids and arrest the White kids,” but it happens with alarming frequency. No one says, “make a baby and then dump your children and move on” but in a world in which we have outsourced jobs, underemployed males become valued for appearance and sexual prowess. In a neighborhood where teachers seem wildly wealthy and the model of “success” is the neighborhood dealer in his big Mercedes…there is a machine that creates a vacuum and sucks kids down a road, pushes them that way, and then we throw up our hands and ask, “Why do young men do that?”

    It is complicated. If we ignore the frustration we will never get to the root of it and give
    EVERY kid in America a chance to become all their gifts will allow them to become.

  6. Warren,
    Perhaps part of the reason that “black people have to explain why racism still exists in America”, because there is a certain percent of the population that cannot get past the past while most of us have.
    The very premise of using the phrase “It must be amazing to be a part of the majority and privileged demographic in America…” IS racist. It is a broad judgment of a vast group of people based entirely on race. Such a statement is an example of the problem we face with this issue.
    One of the reasons that most people in America are not “concerned with racism, prejudice, profiling, lynching, slavery, etc” is NOT because of some perceived “privilege” or inequity, it is because most people in America have made it past those issues and we try to see everyone as equals.
    Living in the past and regurgitating the sins of the past does nothing to advance understanding today. Using inflammatory language “People of color have been written out of our history books” and perpetuating a stigma of oppression is also part of what keeps all children from better understanding our history and building our future together. Looking for apologies and reparations is like picking at a scab that won’t heal because you choose to pick at it instead of applying a healing salve.
    “The Black Holocaust has never ended” – what a vile and pretentious statement. Yes, it is a fact that nearly the same hideous number of people died because of slavery as were murdered by the Nazis (11 million). A key difference was the time period. Slaves died over a 400 year span prior to the 20th century, the “Final Solution” in Germany was only four years and happened less than 70 years ago. “Black people are still marked for sifting, extinction, and death” – are you serious? By whom? In what alternate reality? I haven’t heard of mass roundups of people for being black anywhere in the world much less in the USA. I don’t see any black persons with ID numbers tatted on their arms. My black neighbors haven’t been dragged from their homes. There haven’t been any roundups (even in Ferguson) with hundreds of people shot. I haven’t seen any trains loaded with blacks headed for extermination camps and gas chambers…
    To put Rodney King, Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown in the same list with Till, Evers & Dr. King is hypocrisy and heresy. Yes it is sad that Trayvon & Mike died and that they died under questionable circumstances, but that alone does not elevate them (much less Rodney King) to that level.

    This statement is an example of why the “majority” are frustrated with this issue; “…in America the police act as the new KKK executing young Black men on the street and leave them there for 4 hours as they did when they hung us from trees in the South.” Really?!? Did you major in hyperbole in college? How does A LIE like this statement help the discussion or to help anyone (black, white or otherwise) to make things better? You denigrate the police as the KKK, you make a sick generalized statement that any of those brave men & women would “execute” someone, and then you compare a police investigation (I’m assuming) to a lynching? This does NOT help your argument any more than some of the people in Ferguson who wanted to lynch the officer involved.

    We too are outraged. We are outraged when ANYONE is killed needlessly. We are outraged when ANY child is killed. We are outraged when those defending us from criminals are killed or injured. We are outraged when people choose to be lawless to express their frustration. We are outraged when anyone chooses violence, looting, theft, and injury to celebrate a sports win, protest economic disparity, or voice a perceived wrong. We are outraged when the lawless succeed and are not punished.

    Black persons are almost 1/5 of America…. But we Americans are to value everyone – Not some percentage. Not everyone may be there, but most people are. It is time for everyone to focus on the fact that we are ALL “The People” of the USA and the world. We need to quit focusing on what happened in the past and encourage everyone in our community to be better – today.

    I too am blessed to be saved by the Grace of our Lord and therefore cherish you as a brother. I love you and I wince with pain from the goads you’ve used. I’m sorry for your pain and the burden you carry about race. I pray that better days are ahead.

    Don Woodard

  7. Matt, I apologize for the length of this “conversation”. I trust that I am not out of line.

    I will freely, and quickly, admit that I am not living in a large city with deeply segregated ethic neighborhoods. I will admit that I have not lived as a black man in America today. But, I am socially and politically aware. I hear the rhetoric on both sides of this issue. I am a historian and study people and national trends. In the interest of conversation, I would advance a couple of observations and questions…because I really want to know the answers. Maybe I really am too white to know better.

    If I may quote Warren…

    “The Black Holocaust has never ended. Jews had their horrific holocaust at the hands of Hitler and it was over. Our holocaust has never ended. Black people are still marked for sifting, extinction, and death.” Is this really a fair comparison? Black people in America are not herded into freight cars and shipped to certain death in work camps and gas chambers. Perhaps the initial capture and taking of black slaves from Africa hundreds of years ago is in view here…but the vast majority of the capturing was done by other black men who sold them to white slave traders who took them to the Americas…reprehensible to be certain, but, in a historical sense not on the scale of what the Nazis did to Jews and others in their quest for pure Arianism.

    “We have been trained to kill each other.” This statement would seem to be accurate. And, begs the question…who is doing the training? Or, more importantly, who is doing the un-training? From an outside perspective…it looks like pandemic disregard for the value of life in any color. Remember, I admitted my ignorance and lack of experience.

    “We are targeted by the police.” Again…remember my disclaimer…but I am familiar with the prison system in my State…black men are not imprisoned simply for being black. Every man in that facility, of whatever color has committed a crime. Are there more black men in there? Yes. Do they commit crimes are a disproportionately higher rate than the other colors of men?

    “We have never had relief from prejudice and racism.” I believe one of the other posters mentioned that black men have realized much relief from the circumstances of the 50’s and 60’s. To believe that black men have never had relief is to choose to not observe reality.

    “If a White boy was gunned down by Black police officers they would be in jail now.” I believe that has been proven wrong statistically.

    “Slavery has merely taken on a new form through the prison system (free labor).” It may be different in other States…but in this State the prison industry just almost doesn’t exist. Does manufacturing occur in prisons around the Nation on a scale that requires the Law Enforcement Officers to bring in new labor?

    “Our economic bondage is maintained by tying school funding to property values and then filling our neighborhoods with government approved predatory lenders.” Again…my experience is in my State only…but our education funding is by a head count and has nothing to do with property values. In fact, children of any federally recognized ethnicity are prized by the schools since they “are worth more in the head count”. As much as ten percent more. So…in this State black boys are worth 110% what a white boy is. And, are black men less capable of working a job and studying hard to advance themselves in the work force than other colors? Is there a law in your State that says black men can only work so hard, can only advance so far, can only hold these jobs? In my State, a black man will be awarded a job…any job…over a white man simply because he is black. A black contractor will be awarded a contract with the State or Federal government with as much as a ten percent forgiveness simply because he is black. I am a white contractor, and if I have a black man on my work force I am awarded consideration over other white contractors simply because I have hired a black man and can check the little box on the bid-documents

    “The Black eugenics plan (abortion) has killed more black lives than slavery.” Abortion, and indeed the pregnancy that predicates it are choices…is it right to lay the “black eugenics plan” at anybody else’s doorstep? Nobody is lining up pregnant black girls and forcing them to commit abortions on their babies. The numbers are staggering…and are perpetrated on black people by themselves.

    “HIV/AIDS has killed more Black people then any other demographic.” The overwhelming cause of HIV/AIDS is life style choices. Is it right to blame white people for black people dying with AIDS?

    “Africa, one of our world’s richest continents, has some of the poorest living conditions in the world.” And that has bothered some of the greatest minds and thinkers of history for eons. The blame has usually been placed on the British and colonialism…but the circumstance existed far into the past. Some (simplistically I think) go to Noah’s Patristic blessing on his three sons. History would suggest that black men are their own worst enemy on the African Continent and those in power treat that power as a tribal warlord of old would.

    “And in America the police act as the new KKK executing young Black men on the street and leave them there for 4 hours as they did when they hung us from trees in the South.” I do not know all of the circumstances and evidences pertaining to Fergusen…and neither does anybody else apparently. Is it typical of American Police Officers to be “executing young black men on the street”? Is the comparison to the KKK valid?

    What exactly does the looting and vandalism by black men on black men in black neighborhoods do to advance the cause of black men? How is this viewed as a viable means of expressing the generations of frustration at racism?

    I may be dismissed as simply white and too ignorant or arrogant to recognize the very racist roots of my honest questions. Please don’t…I really would like to understand because it looks to me like this type of action/reaction is gaining ground in acceptance and will ultimately affect me personally as it does nationally.

    What can we…the melanin deficit…do to change the apparent course of the near future?

    History is replete with examples of men…of all colors…who got tired enough of their circumstance, and were visionary enough, and responsible enough to put their lives, fortunes and sacred honor on the line for generations yet unborn. Dr. King was such a man. There are others…but not the men making headlines by showing up at every media event and stoking the hot fires of perceived racism in America. The distrust and hatred for white men runs too deep…black men will have to change the course of their history yet to be experienced. Where are the leaders who will stand up and be counted?

    I truly fear for the violence, destruction and bloodshed that will surely come on a much wider scale in our streets if this trend toward “middle eastern style rioting” is not stopped and replaced with a better and more effective means of addressing wrongs and educating our young…and old…men.

    Darrell

  8. I wish I were surprised, but I’m not. An eloquent commentary about how racism still exists in America generates a series of comments that essentially tell the victim to get over it.

    Black men may not be jailed “simply for being black,” but there is ample statistical evidence of racial differentiation in policing, in arrest procedures and in sentencing. The difference in penalties for powder cocaine (principally used by middle and upper class whites) and crack cocaine (principally used by racial minorities and the white underclass), for example, did not arise in a vacuum. The system treats “white crime” and “minority crime” differently. The fact that some of your correspondents can’t get over their own privilege enough to acknowledge this suggests they haven’t moved on half so much as they think they have.

    Voter suppression legislation in many states has established extra requirements to vote while ensuring that it is easier for residents of white neighbourhoods to fulfill the requirements. The proliferation of this legislation to combat a non-existent voter fraud “epidemic” suggests that most white Americans haven’t moved on half so much as they think they have.

    I also find the tie to the abortion issue interesting. In general (and there are certainly exceptions) the anti-abortion movement has concerned itself only with life “from conception to natural birth.” The movement as such has largely ignored the economic factors that motivate many poorer women to terminate their pregnancies. The prospect of losing your job and your health insurance (and coverage for your other children) when you have a baby isn’t an “inconvenience.” Ironically, Obamacare will probably do more to reduce the number of abortions in the U.S. than all the transvaginal ultrasound requirements imposed by state legislatures that don’t care about a poor child after its born.

    It is famously (though probably apocryphally) said that the French Revolution began when Queen Marie Antoinette, on being told that the mob were rioting because they had no bread, responded, “let them eat cake.” The problem was less that she was callous than that her own unseen, unowned and unearned privilege meant that she could not conceive of the reality that, for the mob, the alternative to bread was not cake, but starvation. Those who refuse to see beyond their own unseen, unowned and unearned privilege are the Marie Antoinettes of our own age.

    • Great thoughts. Although, I do have many friends who were pulled over for being black, and I have been pulled over for being white in the wrong neighborhood. It is called “being sweated” in the ‘hood. You pull someone over and then find a way to make them do something in order to have cause to search them and the car to arrest them. As in every profession, there are good cops and bad cops, and having to work with the most negative aspects of society would make me pretty suspicious too. 🙂

    • Malcolm,
      Although I appreciate your opinion, the sum of your error is well encapsulated in your closing paragraph. You cite a quote that has no basis in fact to close your comments which themselves make claims (“ample statistical evidence”) that are actually sweeping generalizations. This (as the original post) does nothing to actually address the issues at hand.
      Those who refuse to deal with facts instead of hyperbole will continue to live in self denial and in a fantasy world where they do not have to make changes to make their world better.
      DW

      • Hi Don,

        I love your willingness to be engaged in this conversation.

        As someone with lots of African American friends, I have watched them be both on the giving and receiving ends of stereotypical behavior. When you put sinners in close proximity, especially when we are divided by cultural differences, lots of sin leaks out…everywhere.

      • Don, the evidence exists and is quite easily discovered. But if one chooses to write off any evidence that does not confirm existing prejudice, it becomes an exercise in opinion based evidence making.

        Sentencing guidelines in the US for crack cocaine are different than sentencing guidelines for powder cocaine. That is a fact.

        Conviction rates for blacks and whites are different. Conviction rates for blacks charged with killing whites are substantially higher than for whites charged with killing blacks. Sentences are likewise longer. These are facts, however much you may deny it.

        At the end of the day, the privileged will always deny their privilege – mostly because they are blind to it.

  9. Unfortunately these comments and defense against the comments does nothing but keep the pot boiling. It is very evident that the answer is not here. Far too many people are tried in the court of the media. I give an example, Jane V Mitchell and Nancy Grace Screamed that Ms Anthony was guilty long before the trial and continued to do the same after the she was found not guilty for at least 3 months. We are looking at the same media today. Until God’s people lay down their swords defending their brand of ” Christianity “, we will never have the answer. LET US START BY NOT FANNING THE FLAMES THAT SHOULD HAVE BURNED OUT MANY YEARS AGO.

    • A good point, Harold. The problem seems exacerbated by a lack of relationships. I don’t understand how “those people” could feel _____ when I don’t know them to understand their concerns and vice-versa.

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