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  • Terry Glaspey

Black Lives Matter

Updated: Feb 5, 2021

Black lives matter.

Let's not diminish that statement by saying that all lives matter. Of course they do. But most white moms and dads don't have to worry about teaching their children how to respond to hostile white people, especially those in authority. They don't have to instruct their kids how to behave so they don't end up the innocent victim of a racist authority figure. One of my African American friends described to me the almost constant fear she feels that her son will be killed even when he has done nothing wrong. The situation just isn't the same for white folks.

We usually think of Norman Rockwell as the warmhearted, red, white, and blue chronicler of the innocence of middle-class American life, and while that would describe much of his work, many people are less aware of the paintings he did to promote civil rights. This painting, The Problem We All Live With, is one of those moving masterpieces. I remember being particularly struck by this painting when I visited the Norman Rockwell Museum a few years ago; transfixed by this image of endangered innocence. Rockwell created it in 1964 to celebrate the quiet courage of little Ruby Bridges, one of the first black kids to be integrated into an all-white school. She is six years old and clothed in a bright white dress, her head held high and her school books grasped firmly in her hand. She is being escorted to school by four US Marshals as they pass by a wall which has been pelted by a tomato and on which is scrawled the obscenity, "nigger."

The integration of schools was a first step in the right direction of justice and equality in education, and it was followed by other important steps forward. But it seems to me that the events of the past few days show we still have a very long way to go. There is still so much suspicion and fear and outright hatred that continue to be weaponized. What should a Christian (and every decent human being for that matter) do?

In response to the George Floyd outrage I saw a lot of posts of Bible verses about loving one another, which is all good and fine. But it seems to me that we need more than inspirational memes and good thoughts and temporary outrage. We need to make big changes--first in our own hearts, and then, importantly, radical and substantial changes in our broken justice and policing systems. No one who lays claim to being a follower of Christ can just sit by with hands folded in prayer and hope things get better. We need more than just prayers. We need to work toward a more just society.

We need to create a culture in which the next Ruby Bridges doesn't have to walk in fear.

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3 comentarios

05 jul 2020

Terry, thank you for your sensitivity and wisdom on this subject. You are a brave man to dare address how unjust the police are to blacks. I don't expect whites to understand because this is far from their norm, but I do get frustrated when they minimize our reality. My husband and brothers have been subjected to the humiliation of being put face down on the sidewalk for the same tired excuse: "You fit the description of someone we just got a call about for committing X crime..." Then, to add insult to injury, they suddenly let them go--without an apology--when a "real call" comes in during the process .

A few hours ago, I accidentally called 911 with my…

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Terry Glaspey
31 may 2020

Ralph, I don’t want to give the impression that all or most police officers are bad. In fact, my father was in law enforcement. I believe most are committed to fairness and respect. But the on-going issues show that there are still problems to be addressed and that new methods should at least be considered. Police officers have an amazingly difficult job and must make difficult decisions on the spur of the moment. That isn’t easy. I think where there are clusters of bad conduct, as has been the case in some cities, more training is called for in racial understanding. I just don’t believe the status quo is acceptable. I appreciate your thoughts!

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(Ralph) Dave
31 may 2020

"radical and substantial changes in our broken justice and policing systems"

There are some bad cops out there, no question about that. My mother, who is not black, was shot by one in the 1980s for slowly driving forward after being told to stop.

However to imply based on a few cases that most or many cops are thugs and that our justice system is "broken" is unwarranted. If you want to draw conclusions about these issues, look at the aggregated data rather than drawing blanket inferences from a small number of egregious cases. For example, the following study based on millions of records found no racial differences in "extreme use of force" even though there were disparities in non-lethal…

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