Last week, I wrote the article entitled “Am I Next” as soon as I heard about the Alton Sterling murder. I had no way of knowing that a Philando Castile would be killed the next day. I had no way of knowing that innocent police officers would be killed in Dallas. Had I known the string of events that would take place after Sterling’s death, I would have either waited to write an article or I would have written something different. With that said, I’ve decided to ask the same question, but from a different angle.
Angry! Fearful! Hateful! Racist! Ignorant! Heartbroken! Disappointed! These are all words that I believe currently, adequately describe many Americans. Before you jump the gun and think you have the article figured out, keep reading. These words describe masses of people from every people group in the country. There are white people who are just as angry as blacks for the inequality that is prevalent in our nation. Both whites and blacks are fearful. There are white people who are fearful that blacks will begin taking their anger out on them simply because they are white. There are black people who are fearful that more of us are about to have our lives cut short. I could go on and on. Hate, racism, ignorance, heartbrokenness, and disappointment is everywhere.
I recently read an article about a college professor who was shaken up to tears after being seriously questioned by cops because they said he “fit the description” of a person who attempted to burglarize this lady’s home. She described the man as about 5’11, 160 lbs., wearing a puffy coat, and a knit hat. The college professor was 5’ 11, more than 160 lbs., wearing a Ralph Lauren quilted blazer and a Barbara Sullivan, hand-made, one of a kind, multi-colored knit hat. I can totally understand his frustration because he doesn’t “fit the description.” Even after giving them his license, showing them his employee id lanyard, and assuring them that he was just trying to grab some food before he had to go and teach a class, they wouldn’t leave him alone.
However, I can totally understand the position of the police who know that oftentimes when a person is in a predicament as scary as facing a burglar, there is a good chance that the victim’s description of the suspect may not be completely accurate. So, the professor fit the description close enough and he was close enough to the neighborhood where the attempted burglary happened that they felt obligated to check him. Here’s the sad part. The police asked the man to ride with them so that they could take him to the victim to see if she identified him as the suspect. He refused to cooperate with them. He said he knew that if he had been presented to the victim, the chance that he could be accused of something he did not do grew exponentially. He decided that he would resist arrest because he felt in his heart that if he were to get into that police car, he was going to die. That’s heartbreaking. Police should be given the benefit of the doubt. It should not be automatically assumed that they are “the bad ones” who are out to murder innocent lives. However, history has alarmed African Americans in such a way that it’s very difficult to not think the worst when put in these types of situations.
It is from this context that I ask the question again this week. AM I NEXT? You see, no one knows the answer to that question. Even though I’m uncertain about it, I’ve decided that I will live by these truths:
God Has Not Given Me the Spirit of Fear
Living in fear is not the way God intended us to live. I’m refusing to let fear control my life, my thoughts, my decisions, and my actions/reactions. Just like I could be next, I could also have a car accident. I haven’t let that possibility stop me from driving. My office chair could’ve refused to hold me up today. Yet, I didn’t think twice about it before I sat down this morning. I just sat down and the chair did what it was created to do. Likewise, I will not deprive myself or my family of enjoying the things God has created for us to enjoy simply because of fear. I pray that good police would continue to do what they are supposed to do as well. If not, there could come a time when we actually need them and they fear showing up as much as we fear them not showing up. God is my fortress and my protection. I have to believe this to maintain sanity.
Racism Will Not Buy Me or Rent My Space
I’m friends with too many kind hearted and godly people from varying cultures and multiple ethnicities for me to allow the current events of our day to taint my heart. Racism will not permanently or temporarily reside here.
Uh oh! Several of you were with me until this one. Oh well! There are people who are posting #AllLivesMatter in reaction to the #BLM movement. I’ve seen some who have stood up for animal rights and unborn lives who have said NOTHING in support of black lives. It’s as if, to them, “black lives” are not included in the ALL! Black people are shouting that our lives matter just like blue lives and everybody else’s lives. If you don’t understand that, I’m sorry. If you don’t agree, I’m sorry. Most of us are not going to stop shouting “Black Lives Matter.” Truth is not waiting on you to agree with it before it can be truth.
Romel Gibson is a youth and college pastor, mentor, community leader, motivational speaker, musician, and songwriter living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He serves as a full- time Campus Life Director with Youth for Christ, one of the largest non-profit youth evangelism ministries in the world. As a songwriter, his most notable works include L. Spenser Smith and Testament (Greater, Surgery), Tonya Baker (Miracles), The Anointed Pace Sisters (Praise and Worship), Myron Butler (Changed), Marvin Sapp (Never), Ruben Studdard (Holding On To You Lord), and Johnny Gill (Black Box).Romel has been married for 12 years to his college best friend Quanedra. Together they have been blessed with three beautiful daughters; Allayna Pilar, Moriah Kelis, and Rylee Addison.