The following is a statement from an amazing woman, a friend, a sister in Christ – Crista Merrell. Per my request, she has allowed me to share this powerful post in hopes to continue helping people, like myself, better understand the lives of black people in America. I found her and her son’s words very touching and enlightening. I hope you do too.
Crista: I’ve struggled to communicate why it’s not ok for white people to minimize the phrase “Black Lives Matter “, make excuses for police brutality, or stay silent and therefore complicity stand guard over the monolith of systemic racism. I’ve felt helpless to bring awareness, until I remembered what opened my eyes. My sons. When they first came into our lives they were little boys, and I was clueless. I thought it was a good thing to say, “I don’t see color,” and “All lives matter.” As I watched them grow into strong, brilliant, peaceful, compassionate, gifted, fun black men, I also saw them oppressed, judged, stereotyped, targeted, and treated unfairly by white people. So. Many. Times. So I want my fellow white people to see what I saw.
This is my oldest boy, Desmin, on his wedding day. He’s 25, an army veteran who has re-enlisted in the National Guard, a married father of two boys. I asked him to share his experiences so other white people might recognize the realities of the black experience.
“Remember the time I was pulled over for smiling and waving to a motorcycle cop? When I asked why I was being pulled over, he wouldn’t give me a reason whatsoever but kept repeating, “License and registration.” Then there’s the time I was driving back from New Mexico and got pulled over for speeding and not one, not two, but three police officers pulled over and were all at my window at once.
It’s life in a state of fear, and no matter how much [black people] do the right thing, at some point we all find ourselves in a position of fear not of justice for what you’ve done but of injustice because of how you appear. It’s disgusting that there’s a perceived notion that all black people, or any race for that matter, are alike. Honestly there haven’t been many times I’ve gone to the store without being stared at or followed and watched. The biggest misconception of what’s happening and has been happening is that as a black man or woman… if you obey authority everything will be okay. “Just do what the man says, and it’ll be over.” But it isn’t that easy. The moment I see those lights my heart drops because of what I know has happened to so many like me. You say, “Yes sir or yes ma’am” but it’s like you’re guilty before you can even speak and so often even then the truth is called an excuse. It’s hard to stand up for yourself when you know that instead of feeling the satisfaction of telling the truth, you could just end up dead.
I know at some point I’ll have to have this talk with my sons, but all I want them to know is innocence. It’s sad but I’m thankful they aren’t darker for fear that if they were they would be more targeted, have cops called on them for bird watching. It’s disgusting to think that way or that you’re thankful your parents are white because just maybe if something ever were to happen there’s a chance you could survive. As sickening as it is it’s our truth. RACISM ISN’T GETTING WORSE, IT’S BEING FILMED.
How can this place we call home, that I’ve served and defended, be called free if everywhere we go there’s a fear of being trapped in a situation we might not walk out of alive?”
I am so thankful for the boldness of this man. Boldness to serve others and boldness to humbly speak truth, even at the risk of scrutiny, just so that we may understand what every day has been like to walk in his footsteps. With this knowledge, as with any knowledge (such as the Gospel), you now have a decision to make in how to respond going forward.
Choose to Do GOOD…
Mankind, he has told each of you what is good
and what it is the Lord requires of you:
to act justly,
to love faithfulness,
and to walk humbly with your God.
– Micah 6:8
Have Courage, Be Kind, & Let Your Light Shine,
– Lindsey Alaine