On fighting to understand

In December’s RELEVANT Magazine podcast, hip-hop artist and man of faith Propaganda spoke about the then-recent Eric Garner verdict and race relations in America. I just listened to it the other night and thought his words carried such truth, simplicity and depth. He put words to so many frustrations that often whirl around my own mind.

Responding to pushback he’s gotten from Christians for speaking out about police shootings in New York and Ferguson, Propaganda says that as Christians “we are called to compassion and should be fighting to understand. So whatever you feel or don’t feel about the situation, just fight to understand it.”

Upon repeated news stories of white cops killing unarmed black men and women and the ensuing protests, I don’t hear a lot of white folks asking “Why?” Or, if I do, it’s the wrong kind of why. “Why are people still protesting? The court made a decision. Don’t these people have jobs?” is what one family member told me after George Zimmermann was found not guilty for the killing of Trayvon Martin.

Just listen to the interview already! It is So. On. Point. I’ve posted the link below but if you don’t have time to listen right now, here are some of my favorite gems from Propaganda:

Our call is to mourn with those who are mourning. The nation’s people are hurting and who are you to tell them that they don’t feel pain.

I don’t think that believers truly live an integrated life. You don’t know enough people of color. If you knew enough people of color–.once you humanize something you become much more slow to speak. I think a lot of times that comes from living in a very homogenous type of life to where your views or your understanding is at a challenge because you’re not living among it.

In response to the violent protests that took place in Ferguson:
I think Dr. King nailed it back in the 60’s with him saying, “I don’t condone this type of violence but I understand it. And he called it the language of the unheard.
When people finally talk about us is when a building is burning. People do a lot of irrational things when they feel they’re not being heard.

On how white people can help…
Use your privilege as a tool.
Serve as a translator when you hear people speak unjustly about situations.
Interrupt situations…if you write a letter to the CEO they’re gonna listen to you. Wield your privilege. Don’t try to excuse it away or justify it.

You can listen to the whole interview here

And, while you’re at it, bop yo head to Prop on Spotify:

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