Living in Injustice


When I was in elementary school the Ku Klux Klan held a march through my hometown.  I don’t know the exact route they took, but I know they passed the Bus Center where all the public busses met to exchange passengers and start their routes over again.  I know because that is where I was introduced to the Klan.  I had heard the name before, knew it wasn’t something good… but I couldn’t have imagined the fear and confusion that I would feel when I saw them.  There was never a time in my life when I didn’t understand what unjust hatred was.  I knew there was something about me (that I couldn’t control) that made people actually hate me.  I knew there were people who wanted to hurt me.  I knew the world was not safe for me, and for weeks I jumped at every noise while I walked to the bus stop.  I was 7 years old.

This year has been exhausting… for a lot of people and for a lot of different reasons.  In no way do I presume that people of color (POC) hold the rights to suffering in 2020.  I have been reticent to talk through the topics of race and racial injustice outside of safe circles and friendships – not because I can’t handle a debate or because I felt ill-informed. I have avoided the conversations not because I don’t have an opinion about the headline someone just saw or what books they should read to help them understand the current climate, but because I am EXHAUSTED.  Just living to fight another day has felt like a mountain to climb.  I’m wading into the topic today, because I believe there is light to shine in dark places.  Because there are people who want to understand, if we are patient and have the heart to explain.  No, I do not represent every black person, but yes, there is a shared experience that many of us can relate to.  These are just my experiences.  I hope that by opening up my heart to you and sharing my experience with you, you will be better equipped to love the people around you well. 

Living in the world

My life is a litany of cross-sections:  I am a Christian, a black female, and I generally fall more liberal than conservative.  I work for the government, and I spent almost 10 years in occupational ministry. I am a highly political individual from a solidly purple state who has made a home in Texas of all places. I work alongside law enforcement every day because of the nature of my job, and I strongly believe there needs to be serious change to the structure of policing in this country. I could keep going.  Living in the world through this season has been discouraging at best and soul-killing at worst. 

  • Many of our government and public institution’s leaders prove they do not care about people of color every single day.  I have experienced racism first hand as far back as I can remember, and I could give you 10 personal stories of awful situations involving police officers without blinking.  Now imagine that is your life context and view today’s events through that lens. The most vile acts of indignity and inhumanity are plastered across every screen in the country.  We live in a world where news can travel from one cell phone to millions of people in an hour.  Now imagine you have to watch people who look like you (children, women, men) be murdered for little to absolutely no reason.  It isn’t a secret anymore… not just stories passing from porch to porch in your neighborhood… not just tales you are told so that you will get back to your own home before the streetlights come on.  Now it is a video you can watch.  You can hear that person crying that they can’t breathe.  You can see the woman crying for her husband who she will never speak to again.  And there is no justice for them. 
  • There is no such thing as ‘neutral.’ If you watch true horror, utter evil, the marginalization of a sect of God’s people, and the attempted degradation of the image of God within them without reaction, you are not remaining neutral.  You, at best, are deciding that though it is evil, you have no place in bringing about right in the world.  

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us.  We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 

2 Corinthians 5:20-21

Living in my friendships

This is a tough one.  I spent several consecutive months of this year avoiding 90% of people. I didn’t do this because I doubted they cared about how hard of a toll this climate was taking on me.  I know that (for me) the people who reached out to me at that time did it because they love me.  I wasn’t avoiding those people as much as I was avoiding having repetitive painful conversations that would hurt me and cost more than I was able to pay.  I truly did not have the emotional bandwidth to put myself into that state any more than I was forced to every day just by virtue of being alive during this time.  My friends during this time basically fit into 3 categories (with a few notable exceptions).

  • POC: people I could speak openly and easily with about heavy topics, because they have a shared understanding.  I didn’t need to give justifications for the strong stances I took, I didn’t need to give context to my feelings. We could scream, cry, laugh, be silent without judgment… whatever was needed in the moment.
  • People who wanted me to teach them how to be allies or advocates: these (in my case) well-meaning people wanted instructions, tools, and lessons on how to understand the issues and stand in the gap on my behalf.  Thank you, dear friends for your desire to support the cause.  (I am not saying this sarcastically. Thank you!)  However, asking a friend who is experiencing trauma to teach you how to care for the traumatized is not a great practice.
  • People who think they can or should be the savior: these people reminded me often of how much more societal power they held than me (acknowledging their privilege) and assured me often they were using it to fight for me (redistributing power).  What they never did was acknowledge that I have a voice and power of my own.  They never asked how they could actually support or help me.

So, what can you do to be a good friend during this time?  First watch ‘Seth Calls Amber Ruffin to Check In’ (warning: mild profanity).  It’s funny, but I can’t tell you how deeply this spoke to me when it aired.  Second, ask questions about your friend, not yourself!  Not “What should I do?  What should I read?  How can I be a better ally?”  Instead try, “How would you feel more known and loved?” “What would make you feel supported in this?”  “Do you need anything?”  Then actually listen to what they tell you. 

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful.

Colossians 3:12-15

Let love be genuine.  Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.  Love one another with brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honor. 

Romans 12:9-10

He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty. 

Job 6:14

Living In the church

I am lucky to belong to a church led through the blood, sweat, and tears of a diverse, devoted, God-fearing bunch of men and women.  STILL some of the worst hurts I’ve experienced this year have come through the body of Christ.  This pain has come from those who deny the pain that is crushing to others, who ask that we not talk about it, who decide ‘neutrality’ is safest and refuse to speak up, or those who “don’t think there is an actual problem.”  Yes, someone said that to me.

  • If you are in a church that doesn’t understand the effects of racism and hate, I’m sorry. If you are in a church that refuses to speak up about the topics breaking your heart, I’m sorry.  But you, my friend, ARE the Church.  If you don’t see people around you standing up for what is right, you do that and be a light in a dark place!  Do it with love and patience, knowing that your reward is in heaven.  Do it knowing that heroes rarely see the full fruits of their labor and sacrifice.   

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 

1 Thessalonians 4:11

If you are a white person reading this, thank you.  I know that rolling up your sleeves and diving into this mess is difficult.  It is easier to sit on the sidelines and remain ‘neutral’. But you, my friend, are a beloved child of the King.  You are tasked to fight for what is right, to protect the unity of the body, to love what the Lord loves and hate what He hates.  Fight to love those around you.  The ones who look like you and the ones who don’t.  The ones who think like you and the ones who don’t.

If you are a person of color reading this, I hope you find some comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Fight for unity.  I hope you find some strength and courage to take whatever the next steps are for you.  I hope God will guide you in shining light in dark places and that He will comfort you, dear heart.  You are a beloved child of the King.  

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.  For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So death is at work in us, but life in you.  Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe and so we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into His presence.  For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.  So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient but the things that are unseen are eternal. 

2 Corinthians 4:8-18


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1 comment

  1. TaKasha, as I read your blog this morning, my heart once again began to tie itself up in knots. My thoughts on this subject are numerous and varied and unorganized and confused.

    That is….until I read the first part of the 2nd Corinthians 4 verse that you quote:

    “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”

    Powerfully, the scripture hit home, and I realized when all is said and done, we are all united in Christ. In Him is every answer.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts in written words. I won’t forget them.