In June of 2016, after leading prayer at a public, open-air prayer meeting in my city of Columbus Ohio, on the Statehouse lawn, two gentlemen from the RNC (Republican National Convention) approached me and invited me to speak at the Sunday morning church service at the Republican National Convention. I spoke on Urban Transformation in At Risk communities from my book Building Cities of Refuge. After the elections, consequently I was invited to the White House
- What Fuels Racial Bias in a Society
- White Power or White Racial Pride
- Police Brutality and White Supremacy
- Discipline or Abuse
- Possible Roots of Police Brutality
- Racism Understood
- The Spirit of Pride at the Root of Racism
- One of My Own Racial Profiled Experiences
- Racial Humility Combats Racial Pride
LEVIATHAN, RACIAL PRIDE, AND POLICE BRUTALITY
What Fuels Racial Bias in a Society
One of the greatest attributes of Leviathan that empower racial bias and prejudicial viewpoints in people-groups in the earth, causing the various racial deliberations during an exploding racial episode in society, is racial pride. Racial Pride is one of the most subtle and misunderstood enemies to the social stability of a racially diverse society. Pride is what fuels the scourge of racism in a society to keep people groups divided and subtly against one another, even after the outward expressions and systems of racism are condemned and done away with.
If we’re ever going to really get free in our generation, or in any generation, from the many expressions of racism, we’re going to have to uncover and understand all the expressions of racism that are not systemic and that still exists in the hearts and minds of those that have, in the past, operated in more overt systems of racism in society. In addition, if we’re going to really get free from all expressions of racism we’re going to have to know how it continues to function and operate through racial pride, to cause racial bias, to continue to keep people groups divided and at odds with one another even in a so called post-racist society. What Is white Power or White Racial Pride?….
White Power or White Racial Pride
When I speak of racial pride from the negative sense, I’m speaking of a pride that is rooted in a nationalist’s paradigm of ethnic groups that sees one people group as more powerful or better than another group. This form of racial pride is more akin to racial supremacy in its more blatant and overt expressions, and in racial bias in its more subtle and internal expressions. And where a racial supremacist philosophy exists in a people group there are various characteristics and expressions that could come out to the demise of the populist-at-large that could manifest in severe abuse of authority and excessive use of force when pressed. In the case of probable causes of police brutality against African-American young men, the nationalist’s philosophy in operation would be called White Power.
In the case of the 60’s off shoot of the Civil Rights movement led by Stokely Carmichael, a counter movement in the African-American community was coined as Black Power, which we will talk more about in a later chapter, in relation to the African-American culture of disrespect, and distrust of a White-led society and power base. This Black Power philosophy is still promoted in the black community in this generation through the Nation of Islam, led by Louis Farrakhan, under the thinly veiled guise of Black Economic empowerment, and in pop culture it is promoted by some aspects of Gantsa rap in the African-American music culture.
White and Black power as a definition is rooted in nationalism and is an ideology that advocates a racial definition of national identity for people groups. And while most people of European-decent in the United States today would not associate themselves with being a White nationalist or a White supremacist, underneath the consciousness of any ruling class or predominant people group is the struggle with seeing themselves as better than other classes, even if it is not appropriate for it to be publicly stated. White nationalism is built around some form of ethnocentrism ranging from a preference for one’s ethnic group, to feelings of white superiority, to organized forms of white supremacy. According to one view, white nationalism is a product of the modern centralized state’s emergence in the West, like all nationalism.
Police Brutality and White Supremacy
When the expressions of racial pride or racial superiority are not overt in persons of authority, certain triggers or flashpoints could cause the underlying thought patterns of white supremacy to surface negatively in the excessive use of force or power exerted towards people groups perceived to be lesser in position or performance. When there is an experience of disrespect or dishonor of persons that feel as if they are better, this could be a trigger point.
In the case of a person of European-descent being in authority as a police officer, and being disrespected or dishonored, it could trigger an excessive use of force or power to place that person that is believed to be lesser in position, rank or performance back in his place. Depending on how low the view is of those believed to be lesser in standing, state or position, will depend on how excessive the force and brutality that manifests. This could be a flashpoint for police brutality when it involves a person in authority of European-descent encountering an African-American, or any other people group that is looked on as second class.
Discipline or Abuse
This same principle was the context for African-American discipline that in times past took place in African-American homes from the times of Slavery up until the late 20th century. Parents in African-American homes used to use, what many of today would call, excessive use of force in disciplining their children whenever those children were disrespectful or behaved in a socially threatening way. The premise of this excessive use of force would often be the same premise of disrespect and dishonor of children towards their parents, as we are exposing in police brutality, when a so-called lesser people group is disrespectful or dishonors the so-called ruling class. Today, many of these severe expressions of discipline formally prevalent in African-American homes would not be looked on positively. With much of it being considered as child abuse, and done away with in the present generation. However, in my generation what’s called “child abuse” was a natural culture of discipline in our homes.
However, in some cases, especially back during the times of slavery, parents were not excessive out of hatred, or the need to establish parental supremacy, as is sometimes seen in police brutality, but they were excessive out of an urgency to teach their children how to respect the laws of a White dominated society, who would not hesitate to take the lives of young black men that they deemed disrespectful. Many times, their disrespect could be something as small as looking a White man in the eye. African-American parents used excessive use of force in disciplining disrespectful children to keep their children alive. Though discipline was administered for various legitimate reasons in African-American homes, disrespect and socially unacceptable behavior would often warrant more extreme expressions of discipline (excessive use of force) in the administration of the discipline. We will address this further in a later chapter.
Possible Roots of Police Brutality
Whether they know it or not, what may be one of the root causes of why many White police officers lose their self-control, using excessive force towards African-American young men, as well as any other people groups, could be the same spirit that was prevalent during times of slavery and the Jim Crow south – the spirit of White Supremacy, or White Power. This could be a carryover from the more overt expressions of racism from the days of the Jim Crow south, with lynching and mob violence against blacks to keep African-American men in their place. The public display of a lynching accomplished a two-fold purpose for White Supremacists; firstly, to punish the so-called, law breaking, disrespectful, unruly African-American perpetrator, and secondly, to intimidate all other African-Americans to stay in their place of social and racial subservience in a time of the emerging and rising tide of black racial consciousness and liberty.
This was the basis of White supremacist’s abuse of force against any inferior people groups. Whenever there is a sense or feeling of superiority or elitism that is subverted and not dealt with, for whatever reasons, those innate feelings will surface whenever there is a confrontation of disrespect or dishonor with a perceived lesser people group, whether they are Black, White, Yellow, or Red. This brutality is not just relegated to White on Black brutality. It can surface even with White on White brutality, or Black on Black brutality, when those in authority or those exercising their authority, perceive that they are better, for whatever reason, than the person that is not honoring or respecting their authority. However, much of the source of this interaction with White on Black police brutality has its roots in the scourge of racism.
What really is Racism? Most people that define or think of racism and label people as racists are not thinking about racism, but Prejudice or Bigotry. Prejudice and Bigotry is different than racism. Prejudice comes from a prefix and a suffix put together – “Pre” and “Judge” – which means to prejudge. To prejudge a person usually happens because of an experience with a person or people group that causes a programed response to everyone that reminds you of that person or experience. A Bigot is one who is narrowly or intolerantly devoted to his or her opinions and prejudices. This word is a general term that applies to everyone, not just one race or people group. Just as whites can be bigots, so can blacks, browns and yellows.
Prejudice usually is at the root of what is known in society as Profiling by White police officers of African-American young men. When prejudice is prevalent in police officers’ daily interaction with its citizens, profiling will result. However, profiling, prejudice, bigotry and racism are not the same. You can legitimately need to profile as a part of your personnel responsibilities and it have nothing to do with racism or black people.
Where profiling and racism intersect is in the heart of the person doing the profiling. If you are looking for a black suspect, you would need to profile all African-American young men that fit the profiled description. However, if you have white supremacist hatred towards black people and-or you have prejudged all young African-American men as being criminals and up to no good, and you stop all African-American young men with the malicious intent to catch them in their inevitable criminal activity, you will most likely end up intersecting Prejudice, Racism and Bigotry through the tool of profiling to entrap a disliked group of people.
One of My Own Racial Profiled Experiences
I know the feeling of being profiled for being black while driving or walking. I’m the son of a preacher, and I’ve never been a thug, ever. But I’ve been pulled over so many times I can’t count, only to be let go, because I wasn’t who they thought I was – A Thug. And since there was no cause to stop me, and I was polite, they just let me go. At 48 years old now, many say I look 35 or younger, but it still happens. About 2 years ago I moved into an upper-class neighborhood, with houses upwards to $500,000. As I was taking a walk in my new neighborhood, suddenly I was surrounded by 3 police cars. What happened? A neighbor that hadn’t met me yet called the police on me, because a black man, fitting his profile of a thug, was walking in his neighborhood. After 10 minutes I was able to convince the police that I had just moved into the neighborhood, even though none of my I.D.’s had my new address on it. It just so happens that one of the policemen they sent to stop me was a black man, and he believed my explanation.
I share this to say that many concerned minority citizens that are not representative of a culture of criminal activity or the so-called thug, music, hip hop culture in our communities, have a different reality than others. And it’s that reality that we’re viewing these scenarios of possible excessive use of force and police brutality through. We know firsthand and all too well that some of these cases do warrant investigations and are cause for reformation in how our law enforcement enforces the rule of law in these communities (i.e., body cameras, etc.). But most of all we need change in our hearts and how we psychologically approach our interaction in a racially diverse society.
In dealing with Racism, I believe the definition that best defines racism was given by the educator Paul Kivel in his book “Uprooting Racism:” He said, Racism is the institutionalization of social injustice based on skin color, other physical characteristics, or cultural and religious differences.
Dr. Claud Anderson, a black educator and economic development consultant, said something along similar lines in his book, “Black Labor, White Wealth,” saying; Racism is a power relationship or struggle between groups of people who are competing for resources and political power. It’s one group’s use of wealth, power and resources to deprive, hurt, injure, and exploit another group to benefit itself.
The Spirit of Pride at the Root of Racism
Again, Racism has at its roots racial pride. In the Bible, there are two kinds of Pride. There is the virtue of pride of recognizing who God made you to be and learning to love who you are regardless of your perceived short comings or disabilities. Then there is the vice of pride of esteeming yourself above God or man and not looking to acknowledge who God made you to be or what God made you to do to further humanity in the earth. The bible calls this type of man a Fool (Psalm 14:1). This type of pride works against God and the coming together of mankind for its own selfish desires and purposes. This type of Pride is stated in the bible as being a part of the threefold spirit of evil in the world that exists to divide and destroy mankind in the earth. According to the scripture in 1 John 2:16. It states;
For all that is in the world—the lusts of the flesh and the lusts of the eyes and Pride of Life—is not from the Father (God) but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:16
This spirit of Pride is the spirit that is in the world because of Satan becoming the god of this world, once he deceived Eve and Adam, and through their sin, he gained access into the earth. Because of this prideful act of sin that Adam and Eve partook of, to separate themselves from the Creator God and seek to be their own god, we were all born into this same propensity to sin in the same manner – to want to be our own god and not submit to our Creator. Meaning, we were all born with twisted vice of this original sin of pride in our human nature that was short of God’s intention for our lives here in the earth.
This is the Spirit that causes us to be prideful or haughty in our heritage, our race, or in our achievements, or because of what we’ve attained, or in the things we’ve accrued, or even with what we look like. In scripture, the vice of pride is the epitome of man’s wickedness. It is the sin of all sins; it is the sin that caused Satan’s demise. According to the biblical account in eternity past, before God’s archenemy Satan became His enemy he was a Cherub Angel that covered the throne of God and led the angels in heaven in worship to God. His beauty and position of leadership around the throne of God caused him to become prideful.
This all stemmed from how he stewarded his authority, his position and his beauty in his heart. In the bible, in the book of the prophet Ezekiel 28:14 it states concerning Satan’s demise;
You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade, you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So, I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. YOUR HEART BECAME PROUD ON ACCOUNT OF YOUR BEAUTY. Ezek. 28:14(NIV)
It was this same sin of pride that caused Adam & Eve to be put out of the Garden of Eden. As a matter of fact, this account in Ezekiel 28 sounds eerily like what happened to our first parents. Adam and Eve, through the sin of pride, were put out of the Garden of Eden, having succumbed to the same pride that Satan succumbed to in eternity past. They succumbed to the prideful proposition of Satan, to do what God told them not to do – to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil – and to do what God told them to do – to have dominion over all the earth that God created and gave to them – without God, without having to seek God, without having to wait on God, or look to God.
This is the definition of the sin of Pride. And this is the spirit that is in the world today, at the root of every issue of independence from morality and independence from the acknowledgement of a Creator that has moral absolutes. This is the sin that began the release into the earth of all the wickedness, depravity, and corruption that is in the earth now – the sin of pride. God’s process into a society of brotherhood and racial harmony, and out of a society of racial pride, supremacy or bias – which is the spirit of this world – is the process of humility, which is the opposite of pride.
Racial Humility Combats Racial Pride
Humility is a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness. Synonyms of Humility are: modesty, humbleness, meekness, diffidence, unassertiveness; lack of pride, lack of vanity; servility, submissiveness. Wikipedia’s definition of Humility is; variously seen as the act or posture of lowering oneself in relation to others, or conversely, having a clear perspective and respect for one’s place in context. In a religious context, this can mean a recognition of self in relation to a deity, acceptance of one’s defects, and submission to divine grace or as a member of an organized, hierarchical religion. Absent a religious context humility can still take on a moral and-or ethical dimension.
Humility is the main trait necessary for every civil servant that is asked to serve and protect his community. It’s a servant’s mentality needed for every police officer to avoid confrontations that would foster the excessive use of force, or brutality against its citizens. The Process of Obtaining Humility
This process of humility is often obtained in one’s character through a process of going through the ranks of either an organization, team, department or a religious hierarchical context. For those that have not obtained humility through this process, it is often necessary to experience the temporary loss of position, place, prominence or authority to cause one to look beyond themselves to others, or to God who created all things. It could be the loss of fame, fortune, name, job, income or reputation that brings a humility. When this happens and transformation is finished, one can be resurrected by God’s grace, to a place where we’re able to handle the eternal power, position and prosperity of the Kingdom of God, with a grace and humility that keeps us looking to serve God and one another with our power, and not ourselves or just our own people group.
Pride keeps man from his God-ordained purpose of submitting to and serving God, or submitting to and using the gifts of God for God’s purposes and glory. Pride keeps man from the purposes of humanity submitting to and serving one another. The spirit of pride keeps us from submitting to only ourselves, using our gifts for our own selfish purposes, and subverting, controlling and dominating over others to keep others down and separated from God and each other. This, in a nutshell, is the purpose and M.O. of pride. Everyone connected to, and born into this world, comes subject to and influenced by this pride. The only way to get free from this spirit is to be born-again, and get processed into the God’s society and kingdom of brotherhood and light from a society of evil, pride and division, which Satan is lord of, known as the kingdom of darkness.
This process is comparable to the biblical account of the children of Israel coming out of Egypt and going through the wilderness to their promised-land, recorded in the bible in the book of Exodus. The children of the promise were processed through loss, to be freed from pride to be positioned for their promised-land inheritances. In the bible in the book of Job, Job’s life is the story of him being processed by God, by losing everything to be delivered from the Spirit of pride (Leviathan), to the Spirit of God and of His Kingdom. After Job was delivered from Pride and humbled, God gave Job twice as much as he had before (Job 38-42). Job’s life seemed perfect and intact. His life seemed spiritual and disciplined.
However, Job, though He was an upright man that eschewed evil and walked uprightly, his life was still inundated with fear and pride that he needed to be delivered from. In a later chapter, we will see how White pride, which is one of the spiritual dynamics that are at the roots of police brutality on African-American young men, can be eradicated by personal and racial renewal and reconciliation, that produces people and people- groups that see others as God sees them – all the same, and as one in Him.