My Fellow White Folks

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My Fellow White Folks,

Please stop watching the non-stop news coverage of the Baltimore riots. I know that some of you like to stay informed. That’s a good thing. It’s an important thing. But you can do it by taking fifteen minutes to read a few articles about what’s going on instead of staying up all night to watch it on TV. What you are constantly watching is not informing you. It’s programming you.

The video clip of those black teenagers throwing trash cans at white people is programming you.

The clip of rioters cursing the cops, the country, the government, grandma and apple pie is programming you.

You are being programmed so that we can all be divided.

And as is usually the case when mass groups of people are programmed, it’s all by design.

If there’s one thing that our government has shown us it’s this. As much power as they have, it’s never enough. They want more. And if there’s one thing that history has shown us, it’s this. It is much easier to take liberty away from people when they are fighting against themselves. Enter the classic white versus black paradigm that you are watching every night on the news.

See, when you feast on that clip of the trash can being thrown at the white person or the rioters burning a police car, you begin to think that what you are watching is a representation of all blacks. You may not want to think that. You many not even believe that. But, slowly and surely, the programming is being done.

Eventually, in your eyes, every black person becomes a police car burning, grandma-cursing thug.

And then you fail to see the black father who spends his weekends running back and forth between fields so that he can see all of his kid’s games. You fail to notice the black mother who models Christ-likeness by following her husband’s lead and modeling grace for her children. You look past the black couple working who knows how many jobs so that their kids can get a better education and enjoy a better environment.

And do you know why you don’t notice any of that? It’s not because it isn’t happening. It is. It’s because the news isn’t showing it. Can you remember the last time there was a special report on the news about a husband, regardless of race, running home to help his wife cook dinner before taking the kids to practice? And if there was, would you stay up all night watching that?

We all have our stereotypes. We can either do the hard work of breaking free from them or we can reinforce them. Reinforcing stereotypes is easy. All you have to do is watch the news instead of paying attention to the reality outside of your front door.

For a moment at least, forget about the black people you’re seeing on television. Instead, pay attention to the ones around you. The ones you actually know, live next to and work with. Chances are high that they are much more similar to you than you think.

They don’t want anything to catch on fire.

They want peace.

And they want to be left alone by Big Brother.

Just like you.

I don’t know what we can do for peace. But I do know what we can stop. And it doesn’t require us to stop being white. So by all means, drive a big truck. Listen to Hank. Watch Seinfeld. Embrace your whiteness. A culture where everyone pretends to be the same isn’t much of a culture.

But please stop gorging yourself on the news from Baltimore. Instead, if you haven’t already, take the time to develop a relationship with a black person. It probably won’t stop what’s going on in Baltimore. It almost certainly won’t change the world.

But it just might change your heart.

And deprogram your mind.

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