Posted by: Bro. Lawrence D. | September 23, 2008

Honestly Answering Personal Attacks

Yesterday, for the first time that I can remember in my 33 years of living, I was called a racist. Initially I didn’t know how I should feel about it as it hadn’t happened before. However, after some time thinking on it, it really begin to bother me. It is so easy to pass off such an accusation as false. Since it happened in the midst of a disagreement, it was also easy to pass it off as a sign of the accusers’ defeat. But I have done both before when accused of being arrogant and prideful and as it turned out I was wrong. That accusation was indeed true. So upon being accused of being a racist, I was compelled to see if there was any validity to the charge. I didn’t want to just do what most people do when accused of being a racist which is to immediately begin to defend myself with what aren’t necessarily evidences of anything. Things such as pointing out how many friends of the other races I have or the times that I’ve been a help to someone of the opposite race. There are many selfish reasons that could be offered to explain either instance. 

It was suggested by one of my accusers that I ask someone I trust to analize my words to see if they could point out for me that I indeed was a racist. I did and the person that I asked, who doesn’t mind telling anyone how wrong they are, said that I wasn’t. But I was left to ponder how the accusers themselves arrived at such a conclusion about me. You see my accusers both refused to elaborate or to point out for me the statements I made that were racist.

I was then contacted by a dear sister in the Lord who herself wanted clarification on my argument. She basically felt that I was arguing against something that the person was not asserting and that I was in effect “beating a dead horse” while offering no solution to the problem. We talked for a good 30-45 minutes and by the end of the conversation she discerned that I was merely looking for an acknowledgement to the problem which I hadn’t received. But she too, saw nothing racist in my remarks. But again, since she too shared some of the concerns I was articulating, I was left to ponder if I indeed had a racist outlook on life.

In the conversation we both realized that we did indeed buy into a lot of the stereotypes about other races. For example, we both admitted to believing initially that the “D.C. Sniper” was a white man. We were wrong. We both admitted that when we sit down to watch “When Animals Attack”, we expect to see white people victimized. That is unless a pit bull is involved. We admitted that if we saw 9 white guys pile out of a small car, that we would assume they were members of a fraternity. But if they were Mexican or Puerto Rican, we would assume that they were family members. We also admitted that though these assumptions were based on our personal experiences, they could be viewed as racially deragatory and sinful. We also agreed that in the cases where these assumptions were meant to belittle another people group that we were wrong and needed to repent. However, in the case of my accusers, I still saw no reason to validate or accept the charge.

So I decided to go back and review my statements with the charge in mind. I saw that I hadn’t mentioned anyone’s race except for maybe my own. I also saw that I spoke of “institutions” as being discriminatory and not any particular group of people. My sister in the Lord pointed out to me that this was more of a case of classism than racism. To which I had to agree in part. I also noticed that I spoke from the common experience of those with whom I grew up and that the persons with whom I was disagreeing couldn’t possibly identify with those experiences.

However, I was able to see that in my attempt to head off the “Genetic Fallacy” (disregarding an argument based on the source) by giving a brief resume to the person with whom I disagreed, that it could have been taken as me presupposing his thoughts and then downing him for them. In other words, it could appear that I was defending against something that he hadn’t accused me of and by that calling his feelings about me into question. This was definitely not my attempt. I was attempting to convey that I wasn’t complaining or angry that I had somehow been held back by the racism that I was pointing out. I wasn’t attempting to convey that I would be further along than I was had it not been for racism. I was attempting to convey that I indeed was objective in my observation, that I had no axe to grind. But alas, it was not received that way and for that I am truly sorry.

For the record, I don’t believe that obstacles of any kind (racism, sexism, poverty) are an excuse for not trying, though they may be offered as a reason for not succeeding. That an individual will not try because of perceived obstacles is unacceptable. But to deny the presence of obstacles is also unacceptable.

At this point I am not convinced that I am a racist. I am a realist so far as I understand or perceive reality. I do, though, desire your prayers that if I am indeed guilty of being a racist, that God would both reveal it to me and deliver me from it. Racism is a hindrance to the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and I don’t want to be a hindrance.

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Responses

  1. Bro Lawrence D.-

    You said: I gave you my brief resume so that you could see that I’m not “bitter” despite what paint you wish to brush me with. You needed to know that I wasn’t some forty ounce drinking ex-con sitting on the couch playing Madden complaining about the white man holding me down while waiting on a booty call so I could make another “illegitimate” baby. I have not been blinded by failure nor success. Nor anger. I live in reality. How about you? I mean look at this statement:

    You said: You needed to know

    You said that I personally needed to know that.

    So, I needed to know that?

    Did I ever say anything in any of my comments that indicate that I believed that about you or black men in general?

    Your stereo-type of white people is that they automatically think what you wrote above about black men.

    First off, you should not be so worried about what anyone thinks about you especially not me.

    But if you want to know what I think about you, I think the following.

    That you are a godly man doing his best before God to serve Him and to be a good husband and a good father.

    Lawrence, I did not need to be told by you that you are not a reprobate, because I never thought you were.

    I do no automatically make assumptions about people-but you apparently do.

    But Lawrence you need to know that you still think that white people automatically believe that black men are thugs and that will always be a barrier to you truly being a solution to the problem. But it does not have to be like that any longer.

    Peace.

  2. Bro. Hutch,

    Why do you refuse to accept the reason I gave for mentioning the brief resume? That I was trying as much as possible to be objective. Why will you not at least give me credit for that? I don’t understand. You can tell me what I am thinking about “whites”, while condemning me for supposedly telling you what you think about “black men”. What gives? You will not even acknowledge that I never mentioned color! Are you being totally honest? And Hutch, despite what you say you believe about me, you called me a racist! That is a very inflammatory accusation. It’s not that I was concerned about what you thought about me but rather was the charge actually true. I cannot be both a godly man and a racist! So I needed to investigate the charge.

  3. I did not call you a racist until you stereo-typed me by telling me what I thought about you.

    What you said I thought about you is a lie.

    It is all in your head, you made it up, and you are paranoid.

    You are getting the chronology wrong.

    You showed your racial bias and racism by assuming you know what I think about you and black people in general.

    You have no evidence to prove that I thought such and thing and a lot of evidence to the contrary.

    If you are blind to what you have done, then there is nothing more to say.

    One day you may see the truth.

    We all have our blind spots.

    One day you can join those who are part of the solution and when you do we will embrace you and welcome you aboard.

    I did not expect you to do anything but attempt justify yourself and not deal with the issue.

  4. It seems like we are continuing to talk past one another. Would you be ever so kind as to shoot me an e-mail at lawrencedacus@aol.com? Maybe we can converse over the phone.


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