Much of the country was tuned in to see the outcome of the trial of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, a White female, who was charged with murdering a Black man in his own home. She was found guilty by a jury, sentenced to 10 years in prison and embraced by the brother of the man she killed and the judge who presided over her case.
The pain that Brandt Jean felt at the loss of his older brother, Botham Shem Jean, is almost unimaginable. And his victim impact statement that he didn’t want Ms. Guyger to “rot” in prison, his declaration of love for her and hugging her with the judge’s permission brought intense anger in some quarters and professions of an incredible display of Christian love from others.
Then there was Judge Tammy Kemp, a Black woman, embracing the convicted murderer, giving her a bible and scripture to study, and a Black bailiff appearing to comfort Ms. Guyger by stroking her hair. Black Twitter and much of Black media exploded with anger from those who felt too much sympathy was heaped on a White woman who had wrongly taken a Black man’s life.
Then jurors would say part of the reason they opted for the 10-year sentence, with Ms. Guyger able to serve just five years and be released, was because they felt it is what the dead man would have wanted.
Sadly, forgiveness of White people for their crimes committed against us has been programmed into the hearts and minds of Black people. The programming has come from “slave bibles” that omitted mention of vengeance or justice and were fed to our, ancestors to a White supremacist laced, milquetoast version of the Gospels where we can love away all the evils of our enemies while retaining a deep and abiding hatred for self.
That mindset then comes into institutions charged with doing and executing justice. So, when the victim is White and the offender Black, there is always the cry for accountability, respect for the law and maintaining the standards of a decent society. But when the victim is Black and the offender is White, another set of rules kicks in. Now the offender must be given the benefit of the doubt, there must be compassion and taking advantage of a teachable moment.
It could also be asked, can a people who suffer from a deep Black inferiority and self-hatred ever believe that White loss is justified?But what could be worse than an innocent man being murdered in his own home? What would the outcome have been if the officer had been Black and killed a White civilian in the same circumstance? Certainly, there would be none of the compassion, the understanding or the sympathy.
In America, it is color that determines compassion, not a deep and abiding love for Jesus or spiritual principles. Forgiveness in this society is just another shell game colored by race and the consistent losers are Black folk.
Even Botham Jean’s mother, Allison Jean, remarked to NBC News, “I don’t want forgiveness to be mistaken with a total relinquishing of responsibility.” And the Rev. Cornell William Brooks, former leader of the NAACP observed via Twitter: “I have preached #forgiveness for 25 years, BUT using the willingness of Black people to forgive as an excuse to further victimize Black people is SINFUL. America should ask Black people forgiveness for serially asking African Americans to forgive sanctioned #PoliceBrutality.”
What is at stake is not the kind heart of an 18-year-old younger brother, but the soul of a nation founded on slavery, suffering and death and a nation in need of judgement.
“The Honorable Elijah Muhammad has advised the nations of the earth and us, as individuals, to ‘correct the wrong.’ One of the greatest attributes of Allah (God) is His abundant Mercy. He is Oft-Returning to Mercy and Forgiving. But we, His servants, must be worthy of His Forgiveness. We must take the proper steps to receive His Forgiveness. And one of those steps is that we must correct our wrongs,” wrote the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan in a 1982 edition of The Final Call newspaper.
“I am saying to the troubled world, help put Black people, the Black man and woman of America, into his and her proper and rightful place, and God will remove your headaches. Don’t continue the wrong, correct it and you will come into the Forgiveness and the Mercy of Allah.
“The government of the United States has wronged the Black man and woman of America. The problem of Black people in this country has lingered for over 400 years without a solution. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad is warning the government that it must correct the wrong. Our fathers were brought into slavery, not to be made equal citizens, but to be made burden-bearers of the citizens of America. After 100 years of so-called freedom, the masses of Black people in this country are in a worse condition. America must correct the wrong.”
So, forgiveness is possible, if the wrongdoer will repent and correct the wrong. Where is America’s willingness to do right by Black people? Where is America’s willingness to place the same value on Black life as she does White life? Where is America’s willingness to do justice and willingness to repair centuries of wrong?
It doesn’t exist. And, since we are living in the days of judgement, God Himself has come to do that which America has failed to do and seems unable to do. We should take note of the time: “The Judgment of Allah is now seen. The land of America is being curtailed on all sides. There is an increase of disease, insanity, sickness, murder, rape, robbery and mayhem. The society is being pulled apart by conflict; people are crying out for justice,” Min. Farrakhan observed.
While America may find solace in the grief of a young Black man, she cannot escape the judgement of God and neither can Black people. He was promised those who live by the sword will die by the sword and those who do evil will be removed from the planet.
Nothing and no one will thwart His will, and no matter how much some Black people want to absolve Whites of wrong, the decision is not in those hands. The judgement rests in God’s hands and unless America corrects the wrong, she will suffer all that she has poured out on us.