The Musings of Bryant Cross

Slam Poet. Author. New Media Activist.

F**k Racial Reconciliation

race-and-ethnicity

So I had a conversation with a friend today as she was heading to speak with her church about racial reconciliation. She is a Black woman that attends a predominant white church and made it her mission to lead her community in this endeavor. Before she headed out she asked me, “Bryant, what would you say to them?” For me, it was simple.

“Tell them I said f**k their reconciliation.”

We both laughed, then we both talked about it and agreed…

F**k their reconciliation.

And this is not some eye-catching tactic to get whomever to read this blog. I’m serious.

F**k racial reconciliation.

For those that are unfamiliar with this initiative, let me explain. Racial reconciliation is a move by the white church stream to see healing between the Black & white races. Unity is the goal. Obviously there is history between the two, and a negative one at that. But over the last 10 years or so, the white church stream intentionally wants to make amends between the two races (Black & white). This looks like building more ethnically diverse churches (since diversity is a core vision of God’s kingdom. See Revelations 7:9) and engaging in matters of justice. In practical ways, college ministries have “urban programs” where they encourage their white students to live in some urban area for an amount of time and engage concepts like white privilege, racial injustice and so forth.

Now all this is well-intentioned and I appreciate the effort, but they can kick rocks with all this racial reconciliation crap.

One, the entire conversation is white-centered – which actually feeds the “problem” its trying to solve. It makes white feelings, white behavior, and ultimately white people the crux of “reconciliation”.

Now notice I placed the words “problem” and “reconciliation” in quotations, because who ever said we (as Black people) have a problem with whites just because of their skin? This reminds me of why I hated the movie Crash, for it made it seem like we all suffer from race equally.

We don’t.

I will venture out to speak for all Black people and say…

We don’t have a problem with white people just because their white. We have a problem with being murdered, oppressed, stigmatized, robbed, dehumanized, etc., – which typically comes from white people.

We’re not the ones clutching purses, locking doors, or avoiding eye contact with someone just because they’re white. We’re not the ones reproducing images of white people as savages, rapists, murderers, thugs, etc. just because they’re white. We’re not the ones criminalizing little white children and murdering them in cold blood just because they’re white.

Get my point?

The very concept of reconciliation is that two parties, who are at odds with one another, come back together in a restored relationship. But Blacks have never been at odds with whites just because of their skin. Blacks never sought to distance themselves from whites. Most Black people don’t even really care. I mean seriously, do ya’ll think we’re out here worrying about what ya’ll think about us? The only time we pay you any mind is during a job interview…

There is no need for reconciliation because we actually are not against you. At all. We attend your schools, learn from your teachers, visit your doctors, read your books, earn your degrees, play your sports, watch your movies, sleep in your hotels, sell your drugs, wear your clothes, buy your houses, drive your cars, elect your officials, fight your wars, eat at your restaurants, and the list goes on. Hell, some of our Black women even ruin their hair with chemicals so they can be “beautiful” like white women (this doesn’t apply to you if you’re a self-conscious creamy crack user. And white people, have fun googling “creamy crack”).

From my vantage point, we’ve always made attempts to be love and accepted by you. To have a unified world with you. Yet it is you, white america, that has fled from us. It is you, white america, that murders us. Brutalizes us. Gentrifies us. Lies on us. Dehumanizes us. You are the ones that clutch your purses when we walk by. You are the ones that lock your doors and avoid eye contact just because we have Black skin. You’re the ones that reproduce images of us as savages, rapists, murderers, thugs and more. You’re the ones that criminalize our children then murder them in cold blood. We don’t have a problem with you. You, have a problem with us.

Even now, while reading this, your racism is telling you that I’m a hurt & angry Black man that needs to forgive white people – which shows the need for racial reconciliation. But this is just you trying to control the conversation again. A way to keep it white-centered. It has to be all about you. God forbid that Black people show a little emotion over the effects of race. But I’m not hurt. And therefore, I don’t need your healing. For what you fail to realize is that Black people have learned how to love themselves, in order to still love you as white people. Because even now, we still attend your schools, learn from your teachers, visit your doctors, read your books, earn your degrees, play your sports, watch your movies, sleep in your hotels, sell your drugs, wear your clothes, buy your houses, drive your cars, elect your officials, fight your wars, eat at your restaurants, and the list goes on.

Except now,

We also have our own schools, teachers, doctors, books, degrees, movies, drugs, clothes, houses, elected officials, and so forth. We’ve created choice. We’ve created the ability to define ourselves for ourselves.

But instead of celebrating us, you’ve even demonized that and said, “Look at those hurt Black people that don’t want to be defined by our existence anymore. Man, we sure need to reconcile.”

You kidding me?

Besides, why do you want to reconcile with my race anyways? That has to be the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of. Which leads me to my last point -

I am not my race. White america can’t seem to get it through their head that I am more than just “Black”. In fact, the only reason why I’m seen as Black is because white people said I was so. Do you think over in Africa way back when we were talking to each other like “Wud up Black man!”

No.

In the book The Heart of Reconciliation by co-authors Brenda Salter McNeil (a Black woman) and Rick Richardson (a white man), they define race as “a social construct used to systematically stigmatize certain people groups as inferior, thus justifying racial slavery, injustice and inequality.”

Can you smell the whiff of whiteness coming from that quote? Whiteness HATES to be called out, so let me say what Brenda should’ve had to fortitude to say -

Race is a social construct created (not just used) by white folk to systematically stigmatize Black people (and those defined in relation to Blacks) as inferior to support white supremacy.

Race was created as a broken construct. There was nothing ever good about the concept of race. Nothing. Now race is different from culture and ethnicity and, unfortunately, white america can’t seem to separate my God-given culture from their social-construct of race. There is a difference between my God-given culture and white supremacist constructs of race. Don’t reconcile with some broken idea that you created of me. If you going to reconcile, do it towards my humanity or something.

But at the end of the day, I’m not against white people. At all. I was taught (even the pro-Black stuff) by white people, got saved and do ministry through predominant white institutions, have very close white friends, have white family members and love white people. I do not look at a white person and automatically think “racist”. But I’m also aware that in white america, race is everything. By definition, the only reason you’re white is because someone else is not…

This is why reconciliation isn’t needed racially. You can’t reconcile what was never meant to exist in the first place. Race needs to be destroyed. Race needs to find a hell and stay there. But like all matters of spiritual growth, we would rather maim our flesh than crucify it. We rather have books & conferences about “racial reconciliation” instead of “white supremacy eradication”. The difference spells out the points in this blog. That…

1. We don’t suffer from race equally

2. Blacks not liking white people has never been the problem. White supremacy has been the problem.

3. We are not the social construction of inferiority that white supremacy created in the first place.

So I’m done with these talks. Holla at me when you’re ready to destroy the real enemy, instead of avoid it and come to me like I’m some hurt Black man that thinks about the mean ole’ white person all day. Talk to me when you’re ready to end white supremacy. But until then…

f**k racial reconciliation.

(p.s. I wrote this while listening to drill music so I don’t apologize if this came off a little militant. Chi-town all day)

28 comments on “F**k Racial Reconciliation

  1. Tara
    November 20, 2013

    Does reconciliation really take two guilty parties? If so, how can we be reconciled to God? I would say reconciliation is a restoring of relationship. Relationship doesn’t really exist if we (white culture) don’t own up to our biases and sins against non-white culture.

    Like

    • Bryant Cross
      November 20, 2013

      Tara, there are a few things problematic. You referred to others as “non-white”. In addition, you said we can’t have a relationship unless white culture owns up to stuff. Both concepts makes whiteness the center of the conversation again. That won’t bring reconciliation. Overall, I would say that Black culture is fine whether white culture owns up to stuff or not. White culture, I feel, needs to reconcile with itself.

      Like

      • Tara
        November 24, 2013

        Weird, it didn’t notify me you responded….

        I used non-white to expand past just black and white… I had originally started to list out the groups of people we have mistreated and it got too long.

        Like

  2. Chris Sullivan
    November 20, 2013

    Thank you for always making me think.

    Like

  3. Michael Emerson
    November 21, 2013

    Powerful words here. Knocked me back, but there is much wisdom in these words. Thank you for writing this piece.

    Like

  4. Lexi
    November 21, 2013

    Maybe we do this because it’s easier to try to “fix” something or someone else instead of looking at ourselves as the ones needing fixing. It’s harder to come to grips with it, but until we get the planks out of our own eye, we will never have a just way of helping others…tough love. Tis true…

    Like

  5. dannyprofit
    November 22, 2013

    I posted a response to what you wrote on my blog. You can read it here: http://dannyprofit.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/f-misguided-racial-reconciliation/

    Like

  6. Masa
    November 23, 2013

    I like some of your summarizing statements. ”White people don’t need to reconcile with black people, they need to reconcile with themselves.” The language betrays the presumption of a broken relationship in the speaker. It tries to bring black people into white people’s hangups about race. If there’s something we can all get behind, it’s ”eradicating white supremacy”. Good read. Thanks Bryant.

    Like

  7. Jonathan
    December 7, 2013

    Okay, kinda long (lol) but excellent post! I am a firm believer that there are almost no racist black people… There are a lot of white people that hate you for no other reason than your skin color. However, black people don’t hate someone just because they are white… In most cases Black people have an inferiority complex and treat other white people like gods…

    And on the topic of church, if I ever bring my girlfriend (who is white) to one of my black churches, they will roll out the red carpet for her. lol They wouldn’t do that if she were black.

    Back on topic, if you asked white people to name a racist black person… they’ll name Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, or some other black person who is for *EQUALITY*… or they equate Black Panthers, (a group for civil justice) to the KKK, a radical group promoting racial violence… That’s the best they can do!

    Like

  8. Kay
    December 8, 2013

    This is really powerful. As a white person, I wouldn’t have even given a program like this a second thought, “Racial reconciliation? What could be wrong with that?” But what you said makes so much sense, even if it’s hard for someone with privilege to hear.

    Like

  9. Debra
    December 8, 2013

    Thank you for this point of view. I see a bit more clearly from this perspective. Very interesting and thought provocative.

    Like

  10. Pete
    December 8, 2013

    The only thing that matters is that every citizen be granted equal protection under the law as per the 14th Amendment. Forced social integration (AKA the “melting pot”) has been a dismal farce and has caused most of the problems between the various ethnicities that you see today . Humans are naturally ethnocentric and no amount of government regulation will change that, nor should it. The government cannot force Greeks to like Albanians or Muslims to like Jews or Whites to like Blacks or Mexicans to like Canadians etc, etc, etc. The sad fact is that everybody hates everyone else – so why fight it?

    Like

    • Anonymous
      December 8, 2013

      The point is: everyone does not hate each other; as the white world would love to mainstream things as such just to cover up the blood on their hands. The indigenous peoples if these lands in history got along just fine with their understandings of the laws of the natural world. They had their own rules and people respected each other. It wasn’t until white supremacy that caused a massive amount of these indigenous people to be slain in the worst of ways by white people. Creating discord and unnecessary amounts of hate between people that were respective of each other’s land before the white influence and fallacies of “order”; just so that white people could be and remain in control of such detachment from the natural order. Doing everything they could to make our people seem “savage” and “inferior” when we were the farthest from either. Everyone can get along. We do so naturally. Hate is instructed not natural. Love is. It’s not a question of why fight because people don’t get along; it’s a matter of we never needed to fight from the beginning so why are white people the only ones still attempting and forcing such hate to continue. White people need to accept ACTUAL history. They’re the ones with the problems with everyone else. It new was the other way around. Ever. Read History from all sides. REAL history. Not the history white men fabricated to make themselves seem right all the time when they were wrong every time.

      Like

      • Pete
        December 8, 2013

        The world has always been a very violent place. Your focus on so-called “whites” is nothing but tunnel vision. Suggest you study the history of the Ottoman Empire – successive regimes who exhibited unparalleled brutality – mostly against peoples of color, and the Ottomans were/are not “white.” Your politics clouds your perception of history.

        Like

  11. David Simckes
    December 8, 2013

    I read your Sharkeisha letter and was impressed and moved by your willingness to point the finger and call out “your own” to help them. You made it clear that you do it even at your own risk.
    Then I read this F racial Reconciliation and now I am sad. I understand what your sainh and why. I don’t agree with all if it and think your wrong about some of what you say. But who cares. How I receive your words doesn’tmattee to you. But I would like to give you a thought…your attitude and message remind me of the path that Malcon X was on. You are a separatist. It appears you believe that strength in the black community will come when, what did you call them, “white folk”, just leave you alone and stop clutching their purses.

    I suggest you reflect on the Love that Nelson Mandela found in his journey from ANC/warrior/terrorist to one of the most influential men of our time. Love man, yeah, 1960s flower power. See the good in people. Don’t sneer at those purple haired white church ladies who are proud of themselves for talking a few words w a black person. Embrace and love. Whites and blacks can live and work in mutual respect. Look at Kenya. There area my more examples.
    So do ya thing Modern Malccom… I know you are bringing much more good than bad. But you can be better.

    Like

    • David Simckes
      December 8, 2013

      Madiba found the true way

      Like

    • Anonymous
      December 8, 2013

      Misunderstanding and misrepresenting Malcolm X and what he stood for and not knowing his entire journey, but thinking you have the right to speak negatively on him means white supremacy has succeeded in your mind. Malcolm X was a separatist because at that time; integration meant “white people can take both white peoples money and black peoples money” we weren’t treated any better, we weren’t respected, or looked kindly upon. We still got worse service and to top it off most black businesses were demonized just because they were black owned; so yes at least f we were separate we couldn’t be taken advantage of and dehumanized even more by white people. Look at things for sides other than the criticisms of white men and you may start to get it. Read the history of South Aftica for starters. As to how the Dutch invaded an brutally killed and enslaved the indigenous Africans that were native to that land. No white person was originally there yet they managed to kill mistreat and take land that wasn’t theirs then had the audacity to remain there and demand to be treated as superior. Separatism isn’t a “bad thing” it’s only bad because of the white man complex of needing to be in control. He wrote on that. Building our own and not wanting to be sucked dry and continuously chiastized by white people isn’t the problem. The fact that you think it is, is the problem. White people separate from blacks DAILY. But I doubt you see an issue with that because you have the mentality of the several points made in this post. Please go read history further back and writings not tainted and written by a white man and rethink this entire statement.

      Like

  12. fierceferoz
    December 8, 2013

    “This is why reconciliation isn’t needed racially. You can’t reconcile what was never meant to exist in the first place. Race needs to be destroyed. Race needs to find a hell and stay there.”

    You speak powerfully. I work and think and write about reconciliation in education and the church, and you are the first one who has really made me stop and re-think my shit for awhile.

    Thank you,

    Andrew

    Like

  13. Anonymous
    December 12, 2013

    Was the book you mentioned really this one?

    The Heart of Racial Justice: How Soul Change Leads to Social Change –
    it is by the same two authors you mentioned by Brenda Salter McNeil, Rick Richardson and John M. Perkins

    The title you mentioned does not seem to show up anywhere by either of them.

    Like

  14. Nathan Rothenbaum
    December 24, 2013

    “We don’t have a problem with white people just because their white. We have a problem with being murdered, oppressed, stigmatized, robbed, dehumanized, etc., – which typically comes from white people.

    We’re not the ones clutching purses, locking doors, or avoiding eye contact with someone just because they’re white. We’re not the ones reproducing images of white people as savages, rapists, murderers, thugs, etc. just because they’re white. We’re not the ones criminalizing little white children and murdering them in cold blood just because they’re white.”

    Very few people will say they have a problem with black people ‘because they are black’. Modern racism doesn’t operate that way, and you need to wake up to that fact. They’ll say, “I dont have a problem with black people, I have a problem with…” gang culture, crime, they are lazy, etc. etc. This sounds “reverse racism”-y, but its not, its saying the potential for reconciliation is very very powerful because everyone has problems with everyone else for the same bullshit reasons (it just doesn’t get translated the same).

    Two comments I wanna make
    1.) We all suffer from racism, not equally, but we all suffer. It is killing everyone slowly. See Judith Butler’s Precarious Life
    2.) We shouldn’t work to “get over” the past, that is gonna come naturally. We should work together for the future, and in the process the past will sort itself out. Or more to the point, white folks shouldnt be taking steps because they have this huge white guilt about slavery, they should be taking steps because they have empathy with black suffering in the here and now.

    Like

  15. Anonymous
    December 29, 2013

    You’re as racist and intolerant as the what you speak against.

    Like

  16. Baced1986
    December 30, 2013

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    Like

  17. Ed Talley
    February 25, 2014

    Gal 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” I read your entire article, and I confess I cringed for most of it, but not for the reasons that you night think. I am a white male who serves in ministry arm in arm, shoulder to should with some great men, some white some men of color. I don’t dislike, nor do I oppress people of color, I don’t oppress little children, I don’t lock my doors when I see someone of color pass my car, and I don’t kill your children in cold blood, but you sir, dumped all this crap on me as if I am somehow responsible for your plight. I am not. There have been atrocities committed throughout all of history. Shall I bear the guilt of the sum total of the history of humanity? Neither shall I bear the responsibility of my “white supremacist” ancestors. Remember the scripture, “the sons shall not bear the guilt of the sins of the fathers, nor shall the fathers be held responsible for the sins of the sons. But each will bear the guilt of their own sins.” (Eze. 18:20). You sir, do sound like an angry black, and you do sound racist. “White people need to reconcile with themselves?” Please. I am reconciled in Christ Jesus, and him alone. Each of us has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and as such are worthy of death. In my opinion, it is articles such as this one, written under the guise of “spiritual truth” that continue the cycle of polarization and distrust.

    Like

    • Scott Hall
      April 16, 2014

      For the record, Ed, as a White Christian, I want to challenge you to consider the individualism that’s woven through your understanding of sin and responsibility. Consider Amos 1 and 2 and the corporate responsibility of individuals for their collect sin as nations. If each of us White men say, “but I’m the good guy” then no one takes responsibility for the 300+ years of real evil and injustice done by Whites against African slaves and their ancestors. Your defensiveness brings an end to what needs to be the start of a conversation.

      Like

  18. Morgan Guyton
    April 16, 2014

    Good stuff. So much that I do is motivated by white guilt and the need to one-up other white people in terms of my “diversity quota” of friends and other tokens of my “cross-cultural sensitivity.” Probably will be working on unlearning that for the rest of my life. The false “invisibility” of whiteness is such a fascinating phenomenon. It took me a long time to learn the reality behind race. J Kameron Carter’s Race: A Theological Account was really helpful. He was my professor in seminary. To be fair, I think it is a legitimately difficult concept for white people to get their heads around. Obviously that doesn’t excuse us for creating a climate where it’s dangerous for black people to wear hoodies at night. But I think in addition to this kind of raw prophecy, which is totally legitimate and I would never want to silence, there’s a need for patient education and hand-holding for angsty, defensive white folks, which is a different vocation.

    BTW, I love it when angry defensive white men say “You sir…” in their comments. Does anybody really talk that way when they’re not online? It’s just not an expression I’ve ever heard anyone actually say in conversation. It sounds like courtroom dialogue out of a really bad movie from the fifties.

    Like

  19. Ryan Greene
    April 17, 2014

    this is horrible. completely off base. wise up.

    Like

  20. Anonymous
    May 5, 2014

    You are an angry black man. I dislike this very much. So much hate.

    Like

  21. Jo Barney
    July 24, 2014

    Hey man, thank you so much for writing this. So what do you believe are the next steps to white supremacy eradication?

    Like

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