The divided past I lived and the future we are invited to change

This post is STILL about racism and Ahmaud Arbery. It’s not about Ahmaud Arbery alone, so I am giving you time to bail off this post.

This will be a longer post about a lot of aspects concerning racism, and things I have to realize even from my own younger life.

person wearing brown and white watch

Okay. Here we go.

I have a lifelong friend who gets bursts of time in his life to post things on his Facebook page. With the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery he has written a bit more. When I posted an article about why the first Georgia prosecutor didn’t pursue the case against the two murderers, Brian jumped on with information. The numbers on attacks on people of color are, of course, FAR underreported in our country. I had no idea by how much. He laid it out.

(NOTE: This man is no slouch. Almost all of his academic work has been accomplished in the top universities.)

Then, he decided to post on his own. When he decides to post his own thoughts on his own page… look out. So, he posted an image similar to this:

Opinion: Kaepernick and other kneeling football players deserve ...

With this caption:

Black man jogging in Georgia gets killed in cold blood. No arrest. Just a dead black man… This is why he was kneeling. Just in case you didn’t know.

My friend Brian isn’t me. If I straight up posted that, I would have my friends coming at me big time. Or… just ignore me. Brian, though, has commanded a lifetime of respect. The one pushback Brian got from one of his lifelong friends was measured and respectful. When others jumped on to defend Brian, he had them back off and wrote of the deep respect he had for the friend who pushed back. That’s Brian. Brian isn’t me. I want to be more like Brian.

But then he explained to his lifelong friend WHY he felt the way he did. Brian and I grew up in the same town. His elementary education was in the Catholic school system. We got to know each other from junior high on. His family is one of the finest families I could ever be privileged to know.

Brian and I grew up in two different worlds. Not because his elementary education was in the Catholic system but because he is black and I am white. He shared stories growing up that I simply never knew. Teachers using racial slurs to identify him. Fights he got into because white kids thought they could just sling a name at him (like “porch monkey”, and that was the MILD one Brian listed) and get away with it. Brian wouldn’t let them get away with it. He fought back. He gained at least outward silence as respect from others who would have tried to belittle him.

Brian knew was it was to get excluded from a swimming pool because he was black.

We grew up in the same time period. I was oblivious… I just didn’t know. Our family was a working class family. We weren’t wealthy whites. Just white. And Brian experienced a different world in the same town.

It would be incredible if I could look back and say, “Okay, but that was the 70s and it’s sure better today.”

But I can’t. Because Brian can’t. To this day, this man with Ivy League degrees is still pulled over for driving while black. He was stopped on his graduation day at Harvard for being accused of stealing items from a dorm room. It was his room and his stuff.

And we still have black men lynched. Now it’s “jogging while black.”

I didn’t know about Brian’s world when we were growing up. I have to know now. I can’t keep my eyes averted. I can’t keep my mind from thinking. I can’t keep living in this divided world we, as whites, get to comfortably build and live in.

It’s so simple… and simpleton… to say Kap doesn’t respect the flag. I always knew it was more than that… and I stay quiet. If I said things, or posted things… I’d lose more friends through silence. Occasionally I would get pushback, but not much.

So… what am I worried about now?

I can’t be worried about anything. Kap was shoved out of the NFL for racist reasons and no one wants to talk. They leave it to simpleton responses about not respecting the flag.

Ahmaud Arbery is dead because we keep insisting on living in divided worlds. It’s not the 70s anymore… but we still build our walled off lives.

This is our opportunity for something different. Something new. Something that is truly Kingdom of God.

I am IN for what the Kingdom of God desires… and what he desires is justice.

I hope if you read this far you would be IN with me as well.

Authorities investigate new video showing Ahmaud Arbery just prior ...

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