I have a problem with the word ‘just.’ Not with the word itself, if it is referring to something fair – like a ‘just decision’ then I’m all for it. But that isn’t the way we tend to use it. It probably even seemed weird to read it that way 2 sentences ago. I’m talking about the other way we use it.
“Sure, he shot up a black church prayer service, he wasÂ just mentally ill.”
“I heard about that cop that shot the black teen, he wasÂ justÂ protecting himself.”
“That cop wrestled that black teen girl to the ground? He wasÂ justÂ overreacting.”
“Those cops in riot gear areÂ just following protocol” (Though the Texas cops didn’t follow the same protocol when the shooters were white)
And today: “That flag isÂ just a part of the history.”
That little word allows us freedom. Freedom from guilt, freedom from seeing the big picture, and freedom from acknowledging a big problem.
The word diminishes. The word discounts. The word dismisses.
Hear me on this, especially you white people who are looking for a little of this freedom from the guilt: we need to watch ourselvesÂ on this. If you can dismiss, discount, and diminish the race-motivated hatred in our country right now, then your privilege is showing through. We have the ability to dismiss, because we don’t feel the hatred every day.Â We can abuse our privilege when we assume that the hatred isÂ just anything. Our brothers and sisters – if not in Christ, then in humanity – are feeling the hatred, and just because we don’t feel it doesn’t mean it isn’t real.
It’s not just anything:
That flag – it’s a symbol of hatred, and a symbol of an entire population of people beingÂ less, and a nation so committed to people beingÂ less that they went to war with themselves over it. There was a dictator once who thought an entire population was less – his name was Hitler. It’s hatred.
That riot gear – it’s notÂ justÂ protocol because they don’t always use it. They decide when to use it, and they use it more often when up against black protestors.
That girl thrown on the ground? That was wrong. Wrong. Wrong. If it’s ever my daughter, I hope someone films it too, but wait… it won’t be my daughter, because she’s white. I don’t fear that for her – that’s privilege.
Even the guy who opened fire at the prayer service admitted he wanted to start a race war – he wore the flag – at least he understood what it meant and didn’t sugarcoat it.
So let’s call it what it is: wrong. Name it: Hatred. Take a stand to condemn it. Commit to walking alongside others for the healing.