The pain of modern black America is real, but can I truly understand it? I may not, but my friend Judi knows it first hand. Read on…
For two weeks, I’ve tried and failed at writing a heartfelt blog in response to the unrest in America. From a historical viewpoint, I’ve got plenty to say about the anarchy that is raging on our streets. (As a historian, I’m naturally going to go there.) But at the end of the day, my insights fail to adequately address the pain of modern black America. That is, the pain experienced by my personal friends of color (who are feeling particularly traumatized by the cruel death of George Floyd.)
So, while I may not be able to articulate the pain of modern black America, I have a beautiful friend who can. Meet Judi Stiner Gray. She and I both spent our teen years in Houston in the 1970’s; we both live in Memphis; we both are proud moms; we both are passionate writers; we both love the Lord; and for several years we attended the same church. (She’s got me on singing and acting of which I can do neither.)
However, Judi is black and I am white and our life experiences have been very different. She has endured career setbacks, personal injuries, and racial discrimination that I have never faced due to the color of her skin. Out of my desire to support her—and draw awareness to what many black Americans experience today—I’m going to share her words. Thank you, Judi, for allowing me to tap into your perspective and use your words to explain the pain of modern black America. I’ll come back to my historical insights at another time.
In Judi’s Words
“Like so many, I’ve had to process my feelings about the current climate. After sorting it out and being an artist, this is what came out. I am so proud of those who have heard and are standing with people of color regarding the injustice. It’s time for revival church!!!”
#motherofbeautifulblackchildren #couldntbesilent #Ihaveavoice
Feeling misplaced, like I don’t belong, how do I fit in?
In a world that tries to marginalize those with brown skin.
It doesn’t want to hear our voice or listen to what we say.
But, in your silence, I have to believe that you want it to stay this way.
The pain has moved from way down deep and rises to the surface.
People are hurting, people are dying, people are seeking purpose.
We say one nation under God, but is that really true?
Or, is your Jesus with white skin only meant for you?
Where is the church, where is the love, what do you have to say?
If you stay silent I have to believe that you feel the very same way.
Truth be told, I don’t fit in. This is not my home.
The Jesus you say is not for me, has a love for me alone.
He died for me, if I alone was the only one with sin.
But, be not deceived, sin is not only in those with brown skin.
And don’t believe the images that you see on TV every day.
They portray my black children in such a negative way.
We all are sinners saved by grace from His sacrifice alone.
He has gone ahead and prepared a place, and that friend is my home.
So don’t talk to me, pat me on the back, and say you understand.
Then you do not walk beside me and try to heal our land.
You cannot legislate the issues of the heart.
We all need to soul search, be honest, and do our part.
It’s time for the church to stand up and be, who we’re called to be, instead of living silent lives wrapped in hypocrisy.
So, we all need to examine ourselves, people of every color.
And choose today to live in love supporting one another!
“This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants ALL people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the TRUTH. For there is ONE God, and ONE mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for ALL people.” I Timothy 2:3-6
By Judi Stiner Gray (reposted by permission)