400 Years After 1619

In 1619, slavery came to America. In December 1865, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in America. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 2008, America elected the first African-American President with the election of Barack Obama. America has come a long way in the 400 years since 1619. But have we come far enough? Yes, this post is about racism in America. For those of you tired of me writing about racism in America, you can skip over this post if you would like. But I hope you don’t.

When most of us think about racism in America, we think about the days of slavery. We think about the 1960’s and the Civil Rights Movement. A lot of people think racism ended with the passage of the Civil Rights Act. I wish that was the case. Sadly it’s not. In 2019, racism is sadly still alive and well in America. Let’s take a look.

In 2019, hate groups are on the rise in America. The latest report shows there are 1,020 active hate groups in America.

In 2019, some police officers are still stopping African-Americans for simply driving while black.

In 2019, people of color are still followed by some business owners when they enter a store.

In 2019, African-Americans are still held at gunpoint by some white people for simply being black. Even when that African-American is a police officer

In 2019, some white people still call the police on Africa-Americans for simply living life.

So how can we take steps to improve race relations in America? Here are some suggestions.

Do not be afraid to have conversations about racism in America.

Stand Up against racism when you see or hear it. Don’t be Silent.

Make sure your place of worship is have real conversations about race.

Visit and invest in African-American owned businesses.

Know your history. Visit African-American museums and civil rights site.

Pray. Ask God what you can do to help improve race relations in America.

These are just a few suggestions. Feel free to share and implement your own ideas. We have to continue having these conversations. Silence is not an option. At least not for me. ~OC

Dear Church Body

Another mass shooting. More hateful and racist tweets by some of our political leaders. Another day filled with hate in America. Where is the outcry from the Christian Community? Where is the Church?

Dear Church Members, this is not the time to be silent. A prayer for the victims of a mass shooting during Sunday service is appreciated, but is not enough. Where are we the rest of the week? Where are we when some of our political leaders are spewing hateful comments and tweets?

The Church and its members should be the leading voices against racism. Christians should be on the frontlines against any type of hate. Now is the time to be bold. Now is not the time to be silent because it doesn’t fit your political agenda. Christians should be about doing God’s work, not the work of a political party. The world is watching the Church and the Christian Community. What side of history will we stand on?

There are roughly 300,000 churches in America. There are 1,020 active hate groups in America. Which voices will be the loudest? I pray my fellow Christians will drown out the hateful words and actions of these hate groups with the love of the gospel. I pray my fellow Christians will speak out when our political leaders spew hateful rhetoric. I pray my fellow Christians will speak out against all forms of hate and racism. Once again, I will ask what side of history will the Church and its people stand on?

I pray my fellow Christian brothers and sisters do not feel I am attacking the Church or Christians. That is not my intention. I love the Church and my fellow Christians. I believe we should be the ones demanding better from our leaders. We should be the ones standing up against all forms of hate and racism. We should be the Peacemakers.

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. ~Matthew 5:9

“I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenges of this decisive hour.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Why We Need To Talk About Racism

I can hear it now. OC is talking about racism again. Can I be honest with you? I really do not like talking about racism. I know that is hard for some of you to believe, based on all my post about racism. But truly, I wish I never had to talk about racism again. Really, I do. So OC, why do you keep talking and writing about racism? Good question. I am glad you asked.

As a white man in America, I have a lot of privileges. I did not asked for these privileges. I did nothing to earn these privileges. I just happened to be born white in America. But as a white man in America, I have been bestowed these privileges for simply being born white. Here are some examples of my white privilege in America.

*I can walk down the street and no one is going to clutch their bag a little tighter. My brothers and sisters of color do not have that same privilege.

*I can hail a cab with no problems. My brothers and sisters of color do not have that same privilege.

*I can walk through any store and not be followed by security. My brothers and sisters of color do not have that same privilege.

*I can drive in any neighborhood and not fear being pulled over by the police for simply driving. My brothers and sisters of color do not have that same privilege.

I wonder how many people stopped reading when I mentioned white privilege.? I hope you stayed with me and take some time to really think about the examples above. Those are not made up examples. Those things plus a lot more happen everyday in America. That is why I will continue to talk and write about racism in America. I believe with everything going on in our nation, we can no longer make excuses for not talking about racism. Only by discussing the issue of racism, can we hope to end one of the original sins of America. ~OC

Just a White Guy Fighting Racism

As you can tell from some of my previous post, I believe racism is one of the biggest issues facing our nation. Of course the issue of racism is not new to America. I believe it is one of the original sins of our nation. I could share a lot of data to support that statement, but I would rather share some practical steps white people can take to help improve race relations in America. Wait a second Todd. Why are you directing this towards white people? I am glad you asked. I believe for too long, we (white folks) have been afraid to have conversations about racism. We do not want to say the wrong thing and be accused of being a racist. I get it. I have been there. But we must have these tough conversations. I would like to share a few simple steps I think we (white folks) can take to help fight everyday racism. I have found them helpful in my journey to help end racism.

Listen to People of Color. To often when our brothers and sisters of color are discussing racism, we want to jump in and try to fix things. Or worse we discount what they are saying. We just cannot believe they would still encounter such blatant racism in 2019. They do! So the next time you have the opportunity to discuss racism with a person of color, just listen as they share the pain they face daily.

Educate Yourself. Take time to learn about All of America History. Not just the white history most of us learned in school. There are plenty of books, museums, websites and articles to help you become more informed.

Stand Up to Racism. Don’t walk away when that family member or coworker tells a racist joke. Confront them on their behavior. Call out the business owner who follows a person of color around the store. Stop and educate someone when they say racism is not that bad in America. It is! I know this might be difficult for some of you, but we cannot stay silent.

Ask Questions. Take time to asked people of color plenty of questions. It’s okay to admit you don’t know everything. I have no idea what its like to be a person of color in America or anywhere else. So the only way I can learn is by asking questions and listen. Remember to always listen.

What Happens If I Make A Mistake? If you happen to say or do the wrong thing, ask a friend of color how you can fix it. Apologize if needed.

Friends of Color. Okay none of this works, if you do not have any friends of color. No, the person of color you say hello to in passing at work or church does not count. Take the time to get out of your comfortable “white bubble” and engage with people of color. That might mean changing where you hang out or what church you attend. But I guarantee it will be worth it.

I know these six steps will not end racism by themselves, but I believe there a good start. Do not think you have to do them all in one day. That would be overwhelming. But I encourage you to start with one today. ~OC

What Side of Racism Will You Stand On?

Another weekend and another round of mean-spirited racially motivated tweets. When will it end? When will leaders on both sides of the political aisle stand up against these tweets and comments? What side of racism will you stand on? I think that is one of the most important questions we need to asking our leaders, our churches and ourselves.

Sadly, the leaders of the Republican Party appear to be staying silent on the mean-spirited racist comments coming out of the White House. Why? I think Republicans are more concerned about having a Republican in the Oval Office than they are about doing what’s right for the country. Before you bash me as a liberal snowflake, I was a loyal life long Republican until the Republican Party sold out and nominated the current President. I could not in good conscience stay in a political party that would nominate a person that went against everything I stand for. So my question to my former party is how long will you support a person that holds none of your values? If the current President was a Democrat or Independent, you would have already run him out of Washington. Stop being afraid of the truth and stand up for what is right.

Dear Church Leaders, will you continue to sell out your beliefs, to have a seat at the President’s table? You are supposed to live with a higher standard. For those religious leaders who continue to stand up for the President, has it been worth it? Can you actually sleep with a clear mind? Have you actually talked with the members of your church who are frustrated and scared about the current state of America? You do not get a pass because your church prays when there is a racially motivated shooting. No, that is not enough. Dear Pastors, America is watching your actions or lack of. What side of racism will you stand on?

I believe there are good people on both sides of the political aisle. I believe there are churches and pastors standing on the right side of history. I want to personally thank you and encourage you to continue standing up for what is right. Even when standing up for what is right cost so much. ~OC

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; Only love can do that.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Who Was Mr. Emmett Till?

This week, a lot of Americans heard the name Emmett Till for the first time. The reason Mr. Till’s story came back into the news was because racism is still alive in America. For those who may have missed the story, three Ole Miss University frat boys decided to post a picture of themselves along with their guns beside a monument in honor of Emmett Till. So, who Was Mr. Emmett Till?

Emmett Till was born on July 25, 1941 in Chicago, Illinois. In 1955, he was visiting family in Mississippi. During that visit, Mr. Till was accused of whistling at a white women. Oh, did I mention Mr. Till was a 14-year old African-America boy, being accused of whistling at a white women in Mississippi during the 1950’s? What was the punishment for this so called crime? Mr. Till, a 14-year old boy on vacation was lynched by two white men.

During the 1955 farce of a trial, the two white men accused of this horrific crime Roy Bryant and J.W. Milan were found not guilty by an all white jury. In 1956, the two men acquitted of the crime admitted publicly they had killed Mr. Till, but were protected by double jeopardy. Also decades later Carol Bryant, the white women who had accused Mr. Till of whistling at her admitted she made up the whole story.

Why am I sharing Emmett Till’s story in 2019? Because it is part of our history that should never be forgotten. Even though things have improved in America, we still have a long ways to go. I think the photo of the three white frat boys standing next to Mr. Till’s memorial proves that fact. Or the story of the white woman in North Carolina who defended herself for calling an African-American woman the “N Word.”. That is why I will continue to be a voice against racism.

Emmett Till would have turned 78 this week. What would he have accomplished in life? Maybe he would have become a doctor, lawyer or teacher. Maybe he would be a grandfather today, enjoying his grandchildren. Sadly, Mr. Till never had the opportunity to “Maybe” see any of these things. His young life was taken way too soon based on a lie and hate.

You may have noticed, I referred to Emmett Till has Mr. Till during this blog post even though he was only a child when he was murdered. I did that out of respect for Mr. Till and his family. Oh, how I wish that young 14-year old boy would have had the opportunity to become Mr. Till. ~OC

Current Reading List

I love to read. Reading is something I have been passionate about since I was a child. Here is my current reading list. These books are challenging me in so many ways.

The Color of Compromise: The Truth About The American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby.

Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice That Restores by Dominique DuBois Gilliard.

Southern White Ministers and the Civil Rights Movement by Elaine Allen Lechtreck.

Woke Church: An Urgent Call for Christians in America to Confront Racism and Injustice by Eric Mason.

I also just purchased a Bible that really discusses Social Issues called God’s Justice (NIV) by Zondervan. ~OC

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