God Defeats Racism

America Isn’t Evil; God Defeats Racism

on June 9, 2020

It’s been more than a week since a viral video showed former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on the neck of George Floyd, apparently suffocating him to death. Rightly so, Chauvin was fired – as were three other officers who were with Chauvin as he brutally restrained Floyd as the Minneapolis resident begged for air until losing consciousness.

Chauvin has since been charged with second degree murder and remains in prison after his recent court appearance. Additionally, the three fellow former officers who were with him – Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Keung – have been charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder. They too are in custody awaiting their hearings. Rightly so, the D.O.J. and the F.B.I. said both would conduct an investigation to consider if civil rights laws were violated in the course of Floyd’s death.

This episode of police brutality seemed to be unique to other cases. It appeared to be the one case where people across the political spectrum agreed that the arresting officer had gone much too far – deserving arrest and charge for his behavior.

The near unanimity, the firing and arrests of the officers involved, and the initial charge of third-degree murder brought against Chauvin wasn’t enough to prevent protests calling for justice. Starting in Minneapolis, the anger was infectious. “Peaceful demonstrations” quickly turned into mass protests, riots and looting – spreading to more than forty cities across the country causing most to issue curfews in feeble attempts to suppress violence.

One reason given for the rationalized violence and vandalism is the idea that policing is inherently racist. These people believe that racially discriminatory policing is part of our “racist” criminal justice system, which is reflective of the country as a whole. Against evidence to the contrary (here, here, here, here, here, and here), they are convinced that America remains institutionally racist against blacks and other minorities.

More specifically, for this set of people, Chauvin is representative of America whereas Floyd is symbolic of both historic and contemporary situations of American blacks.

Can we honestly say that what happened in Minneapolis reflects America on the whole? Does Floyd’s death morally indict America as racist against blacks? Can we responsibly move beyond this tragedy to heal the ties that bind the American experiment?

It depends on whom you ask.

With respect to the groveling, sanctimonious apologies, the condescending racial deference shown to blacks; the exaggerated and cynical attention-seeking support of the Movement for Black Lives by individuals and businesses – on social media and in non-violent marches in various cities, respectively – there’s certainly enough people who think that a (systemic) racial status quo, vis-à-vis blacks, exists.

Without providing real evidence of discrimination, they’re convinced that things must “change” (what ‘change’ means remains unclear).

However, after sifting through the performative acts of penitence by Christians and non-Christians alike, who are guilty of practicing their (self) righteousness before others, it should be obvious that what happened in Minneapolis doesn’t or shouldn’t define America, nor is it reflective, of the country as a whole.

People should be able to soberly but cautiously acknowledge that racism in some form still exists. The sad reality is that racism will continue to exist on this side of eternity. It’s a theological problem – a consequence of sin, falling short of God’s glory, and because the created order as a whole has yet to be fully redeemed.

That said, people make a tremendous mistake by assigning more power to this evil by claiming its presence and influence is ubiquitous.

Racism exists, but to argue that this evil is omnipotent and omnipresent – therefore, systemic – is dishonest. This dishonesty compromises human dignity by creating a sense of hopelessness in people, which prevents them from overcoming the circumstances of life. To deprive people of optimism is to disempower them; to disempower people creates a sense of victimization. Victimization fosters entitlement. Feelings of helplessness and discouragement are attributed to this evil, making it appear larger and more prominent than it should be viewed.

The effect is that people decreasingly see isolated incidents of racism as obstacles that can be overcome and rather see them as a connected pattern that’s insurmountable.

That’s where we are now. More and more people are seemingly convinced that America is intrinsically and institutionally racist. Granted, some are not convinced but are only saying so publicly as acts of self-preservation, lest they be persecuted and condemned as racists or if black, racial sellouts.

Floyd’s death, as tragic and preventable as it was, was a local incident and the product of police brutality. Those responsible will face the legal consequences in pursuit of justice. Despite Chauvin being white and Floyd being black, there’s been no evidence that suggests Floyd’s death was the result of racism, systemic or otherwise. People should caution themselves and reject the destructive habit of projecting racism into situations where it doesn’t exist. Floyd’s death should not be trivialized and it’s disgraceful that his death has been politicized.

People of good faith can agree that isolated cases of police brutality is immoral: it dehumanizes the officer(s) involved and the person(s) in the course of arrest. But that doesn’t mean the country as a whole is systemically or irredeemably racist. It’s the height of irresponsibility to connect these dots and to suggest as much.

At this moment, our country is terribly divided. There are people, politicians, and groups who contemptuously seek to use this discord to their advantage.

Knowing that, Christians should be engaging in and leading meaningful discussions, fostering ways to repair relationships, and offering constructive solutions to outstanding problems regarding police behavior and accountability – while rejecting the melodrama that characterizes the current mood.

America may be imperfect, but she is not evil.

Derryck Green is a political commentator, writer, and member of several political organizations. His work has been featured and cited in a number of media outlets, including Townhall, The American Spectator, NBC, The Daily Caller, The American Conservative, and CQ Researcher. He has earned his Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, and his doctorate in Theology and Spiritual Leadership with a concentration in Identity Formation from Azusa Pacific University.

  1. Comment by CBByrd on June 10, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    Thank you this encouraging perspective. God has already and is indeed making his redemptive work known over racism and all the other evils and -isms of this broken world.

  2. Comment by JR on June 10, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    “Racism exists, but to argue that this evil is omnipotent and omnipresent – therefore, systemic – is dishonest.”

    That’s not right, though. I don’t think most people feel that racism is omnipresent, and I think VERY few argue that it’s omnipotent (for if that were true, there would be no point in fighting against it).

    Most importantly, those two lynchpins are not prerequisites for ‘systemic’ consideration. Of the two, only omnipresent could be considered necessary.

    The argument is that there is systemic racism in our society – it’s not equal in all areas, and it’s not necessarily deadly in all it’s manifestation.

    Look at the recent events: Ahmaud Arbery being gunned down in Georgia, Amy Cooper calling the police on an African American birdwatcher in Central Park NYC, and the murder of George Floyd. We could list a dozen other recent events.

    Systemic applies. Like any infection, it is important that we fight against it.

  3. Comment by Jim on June 11, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    The only thing systemic about racism is the reality that it is lodged in the human heart. Francis Sheldon a 29 year old black male shot and killed an 86 year old couple in a Delaware Veterans Cemetery in May. Where is the media outcry? Paul and Litia Marino a white elderly couple gunned down for what? Their skin color? Also in May, 20 year old Jayden Hayden was seen on an internet video beating a 75 year old bed ridden man. Hayden is black. The victim Norman Bledsoe is white. The mainstream media avoids airing the numerous stories like these two examples. Thus, there is no conversation, no dialogue, whites must change end of story. There’s plenty of prejudice and racism to go around. But, the BLM and other leftist movements have an agenda that is anything but reconciliatory. Authentic Christians of all races are to follow Christ example. Thus, we’re to love one another.

  4. Comment by JR on June 11, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    Interesting choices.

    The Sheldon Francis incident seems to be pretty far from a racially motivated crime. Certainly the elderly couple were white, but that cemetery isn’t exactly what one would call a ‘draw’ for someone looking for a hate crime. While there’s not motive determined at this time, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of thought about it being a hate crime.

    As for Jaden Hayden – firstly, Jaden was also a resident of the nursing home, which at least implies that he has some sort of disability – secondly, Mr. Bledsoe shared a room with Jaden. Seems more opportunistic than a racially motivated crime. Jaden’s father noted that he has “mental issues”.

    I do find it interesting that you picked out 2 cases of young black men engaging in serious criminal activity against elderly white folks.

  5. Comment by Jim on June 11, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    You find it interesting all right. You see what you want to see. See the video of blacks on the boardwalk at Ocean City MD pounding the crap out of a young white guy. But I’m sure you’ll see it as a misunderstanding over cotton candy. YOU leftists are the real problem.

  6. Comment by jimmy morgan on June 24, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    God said; “All Darkness is Evil!” Adam was “made in Gods Likeness”. Gen. KJV Jesus, the White, Pure, Holy “Son of God was the ” light.” “The light of the world”. KJV He said; “Do not mix or mingle the Holy Seed of Holy Israel with none Israelites, Ishmaelites=Arabs, including “liars, thieves and murderers”, John 8:44, all none Anglo Saxon, “sons of the devil.” Was Jesus of Darkness and Evil? Are the Hebrew, sons of Heber,of Noah, Shem the Shem-ite, father of Abraham, not “semite”=brown fraud, “liars, theives and murderers”? John 8:44 NT The 538 BC Pharisees of Pharisee- ism , a pagan religion, murdered Christ in 0033 AD. The 1776 Illuminati Zionist? Yeah! Guess God, the Truth Sayer, Law Giver, Creator and Promise Keeper, who loved His Chosen, “in His image” , you and I, [?] was Dark and EviL ? “Do not mix or mingle” with odd colors! Racism? How about Creator? Boss? He created all things and says: “They are all mine.” Deal with it!

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