OPINION: PLNU building security officer comments on Ferguson

Richey Rodgers, the building security officer at Liberty Station Conference Center for PLNU, attended the Faith and #Ferguson event Dec. 4 and wrote this in response. He says this is an important conversation to have because “people are dying needlessly, in some cases, criminally.” He said that he hopes this conversation will continue and that it would be “productively informative. Perhaps people will want to know why this this kind of unjustified killing happens with such frequency with no accounting or justice.”

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34 ESV

“If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” 1 John 4:20 ESV

Events and conditions must be understood in their full Context. It is historical fact and truth that primarily Southern rural Americans decided to buy and own African people to work for them for free, that is, as slaves, as beasts of burden and not as human beings, for profit.

Africans forcibly brought to North America as a labor force were systematically de-humanized and de-culturalized, that is, forbidden to speak their native language, worship who and how as they did, or engage in any aspect of life as they had done in Africa. The Drum was particularly forbidden. They were forbidden to express themselves as themselves or, in any former way, define themselves; they were defined by who bought and owned them.

A system was formed into a cooperative industry and compliant, obedient Africans were central to its efficient and profitable operation. Those Africans who resisted the demands of the system were beaten, maimed, tortured and killed to keep them and the witnessing survivors submissive and under control. They were given a different identity according to their functions as slaves. Some fared better than others, which all depended on the character and morals of who owned them.

However, most had it rough, hard, and bad until they died. As slaves, their identity was caricatured, vilified, demonized, and eventually, minstrelized. The tragedy is that when Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that ostensibly set the physical bodies of the slaves free, African Americans were not liberated from that slave identity, those negative labels, or the deformed caricatures, that are still, to this day, held in the minds of many white Americans.

This trend has been consistently fed in contemporary times by media emphasis on the minority “‘gangstah rapping gangstah,’ dope fiend, crack-head, criminal, thug” image while ignoring the majority of upright, hard-working, church-going, sincere African-American Christians living right before God and man.

The tragedy is that the negative and toxic opinion of African-Americans appears to prevail in the minds of whites who don’t know the CONTEXT of the African American experience since coming here. As long as that is the case, African-American males will continue to be ‘lynched’ with impunity just as they were during Jim Crow times, with the guns of the unqualified, untrained, poorly trained, overt or covert racist, frightened police officers instead of the ropes of the Klan.

All of that will stop when so-called Christians truly worship and obey God in Christ and demand better of its government and this society called America, the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave where we say “In God we trust.” Let that and this be so: “His Kingdom come, His Will be done, on Earth, as it is in Heaven…” to His Praise and Glory and our salvation.

This is my take on the situation and my offering toward solution to the problem and reconciliation with my brother and sister.