It is a working thesis of mine that we still have a major problem with racism in this nation, and that since conservatives (and especially Christians) perpetually refuse to address the problems of race and power with both empathetic and biblical solutions, leftists continue to gain power through Marxist, class-warfare-type tactics in regard to race.
Regarding the enduring racism: I believe a good amount of this is subconscious. In other words, one can exhibit racist behavior and do racist thinks without being a conscious or even secret racist—although some of these certainly exist, too. But the subconscious element works on several levels, and even pervades institutions, in my opinion.
Nowhere is this clearer than in criminal justice. This week, a report was released that showed yet another small window into this problem. In the first study of its kind, the facts show that police in Connecticut employ tasers more often against blacks and Hispanics than against whites.
According to one review, the report “found that black men were about three times more likely to be Tased than simply warned. . . . For white men, the chance of being Tased or warned were about the same.”
Indeed, when wielding Taser against whites, only warnings were given in 40 percent of cases. When involving blacks, however, the number drops to only 19 percent.
In other words, whites get off with only warnings more than twice as often as blacks. With blacks, the vast majority of incidents—81 percent—go straight to tasing.
So whites get verbal warnings first, and blacks get something more like a hair-trigger. Shoot first, and let the Fraternal Order of Police lawyers answer questions later.
The nature of the study is also disarming of the common retort that, well, blacks just commit more crimes than whites, so obviously they have police interactions more often. Nope. This argument is wrong on so many levels, but is busted in this report because the data are presented as percentages of interactions within each race to begin with. In other words, all else being equal, the cops were more than twice as likely to give a warning to a white man as opposed to a black, and much more quick to use tasers when engaging blacks than whites. These are percentage rates, not bare numbers.
That statistic is damning no matter how you slice it.
Thus it reveals that there is some fundamental difference in how the same group of trained professionals (even our “finest,” after all) think, decide, and act in regard to blacks versus whites. Thus, whether these decisions are conscious or not, there is a pure racist element in our criminal justice system.
And this is only considering one narrow window of information: the use of tasers.
The greatest irony of all in this study is perhaps the fact that we might look down upon those who got tased, whatever their race, as criminals who deserved it, when the only sure fact about lawbreaking that jumps out is in the reports themselves: there were some police departments who either underreported, or did not keep records at all, as the CT law demands! In at least one case, a department neglected (conveniently?) to report one taser incident in which a young man who was tased and happened to die from it.
In other words, the only clear admissions of lawbreaking here were on the part of the police departments—who also face absolutely zero consequences for their failure to follow the law.
If lawlessness exists in police department behavior, what makes you think anyone is safe, let alone a less-empowered minority?
Why this is important for Christians
Reading Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow was eye-opening in many ways, but also terrifying in regard to its proposed solutions. The data she presents, some of which is already well-known, is startling in regard to the disproportionate number of blacks in prison, on probation, and without basic rights as a result of these things. The historical metanarrative she presents, from slavery to Jim Crow to now, is stellar and should be digested by every Christian.
But as a secularist, however, her solutions are absolutely startling. She says the piecemeal social legislation of “affirmative action” was only a token fix and has completely failed. What we need instead, she says, is a wholesale revolution into a fully socialist society—to level the playing field for all. This is the only way to achieve true equality and make sure every member of society has access to all human rights all the time.
It’s the standard socialist utopia thinking. It’s startling enough to hear a call for a full-scale revolution, but the source of her inspiration is even more alarming: Martin Luther King, Jr. It was King who first tried to move from one to the other. As soon as “civil rights” legislation was achieved for blacks, King announced that the time had come for more general “human rights,” meaning socialized everything for all. King did not prevail at the time. Now Alexander wishes us to see the failure of not listening to King, and to return to that vision.
Put these two things together, along with a general failure of conservative Christians to present a united, biblical answer to racism and informal segregations, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. When an oppressed group finds no good answer from God’s people, and perceives that the secular answers employed so far have failed, and realize that the icon King wanted such a socialist revolution to begin with, guess what the new cry for black equality will be?
All I have to say at this point is that if such a process continues, the church had better get ready for further socialism. Full subjection to a further socialist state will be the judgment for complacency and unrepentance on the issue of race. You won’t have a choice. It will be foisted upon you. And it will be your fault.
There is a lot more to say on this topic. More is to come, believe me. Race-baiting won’t stop until Christians stop racism. Unless Christians stop racism through biblical means, the only other people addressing it will continue to win. There are no other alternatives to this dichotomy.