Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause. Isaiah 1:17
Because of the social unrest that has gripped American cities in the aftermath of Mr. Floyd’s murder, many people from the African community have made it clear they are no longer interested in a dialogue about race and equality. Every time the murder or lynching, brutalization, or inhumane treatment of an African American is exposed to the public, there is usually a call for dialogue. Yet those “dialogues” seldom lead to substantive changes.
Real change is not conversational. It is transformational and structural. Real change may start with dialogue, but it always transcends conversation to move into the arena of painful transformation. Too much conversation can impede real change because it gives the impression that those who benefit from inequality are sympathetic to the plight of the victims of oppression. The oppressed do not need sympathy. They need justice and a leveled playing field.
In today’s text, God says to the Israelites, “learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression.” That learning can only happen when the privileged are genuinely willing to hold themselves and others like them accountable for staying quiet while black and brown people continue to be marginalized. This nation needs to learn it is not acceptable to treat a human being as 3/5 of a person because of his or her race. Nor is it okay for a white police officer to crush a man’s neck to death without any remorse.
Many well-meaning individuals in this country need to learn that giving money to the NAACP is not necessarily doing good if there is no challenge to the structures of injustice that makes it necessary to have an organization like the NAACP in the first place. Giving-out a few scholarships to “underprivileged” black youths is not the good that God has in mind. Allowing a few black people to move into a segregated neighborhood or school is not a real change.
Real change begins with economic, political, social, and judicial justice. Those who want to do real change must be willing to correct oppression against black and brown people. They must put their privilege on the line and denounce the terrorization of minorities.
Moses grew up in the house of Pharaoh as a privileged prince. He had to give up those privileges, so he can help change the oppression of the Israelites. Moses went from a prince to a pariah in Egyptian society.
Real change is always costly. Many black, white, brown people have been arrested this week for protesting for real change. Some have even lost their lives. We need to see that type of resistance in corporate boardrooms. Police departments across this nation need real change. It’s time for a majority of my white clergy colleagues to take a stand for real change and lead their congregations to demand justice for the oppressed. The racial divide in this country will never heal until there is real change.
Prayer- Blessed Lord, please give us the courage to take a stand for real change for the sake of the oppressed that are yet denied the full protection of the constitution of these United States of America.