Pastor J.D. continues the discussion from Episode 19 and specifically talks about how Christians should respond to a police shooting.

A glimpse inside this episode:

When we see the broad strokes of racism in our past, we cannot avoid seeing how racism has deeply impacted social realities like families, governments, and schools. Social realities are slow to change, and while laws are good, they cannot immediately overcome generations of unjust practices.We see this reality play out when news hits of a white police officer shooting and killing a person of color.

On one side, African Americans are keenly aware of racial injustice in our history, so they sense enough of a pattern to assume injustice in this particular case. This one incident calls to mind the long period of public lynchings and other instances of racial violence. This is a valid viewpoint.

On the other side, white commentators often respond by counseling patience. The historical realities may create a disturbing pattern, but it would be unjust to assume the guilt of any individual—white or black—without letting our justice system pursue the facts.

I asked Dr. George Yancey about these situations:

“What do you do in a moment like this? It seems we’re being asked to choose between two responses, both of which are bringing in strong (and seemingly contrary) assumptions. How do we speak in a way that communicates sympathy without subverting the justice system? I don’t want to commit one injustice (depriving the police officer the presumption of innocence and due processes of law) in order to rectify another.”

Dr. Yancey responded,

“You can always—and should always—come out quickly with sympathy for the victims. After all, it is a tragedy when anyone is shot and killed. But you can go further, lamenting the fact that we still live in a racialized society whose past makes questions like this even pertinent. It should be unthinkable that ethnicity plays a role in police shootings. But it’s not. And that’s a tragedy.”

Dr. Yancey is right. If, God forbid, my white son was shot by the police, I would never ask if his death had anything to do with his skin color.

My African American friends should have that same privilege.

It’s past time we quit thinking about this as a conservative or liberal issue. The dividing line on this issue is not between Conservatives and Liberals. The dividing line runs between those who care about the problem and those who don’t.