Posted May 06, 2020 by Michael L. Brown

I am not trying to be woke, nor am I trying to present myself as a social justice warrior. And I certainly feel no guilt being a white American, the grandchild of Jewish immigrants from Russia and England. I simply want to offer some questions for self-reflection. Fair enough?

On a regular basis, sometimes several times in a day, I interact with a black, Messianic Jewish colleague who is also an educator and historian. He will often send me news stories with the simple goal of asking me to consider whether there are some serious inequalities that remain in our nation.

The other day he asked me an interesting question, and I thought it would be worth passing on.

Most of us have seen photographs and video footage of the April 15 protest in Michigan, where men armed with guns gathered outside of Michigan’s capitol building, angry with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extreme stay-at-home orders.

Even Sean Hannity was critical of the protestors, saying, “This, with the militia look here, and these long guns, uh... no. Show of force is dangerous. That puts our police at risk. And by the way, your message will never be heard, whoever you people are.”

Some of the men actually went into the halls of the Senate, where they shouted out from the balcony.

Yet no one was arrested, and there was no violent confrontation with the police.

My black friend asked me a simple question: What if these had been black men, not white men, armed with what Hannity called “long guns”? Yes, what if it was well-armed black men who had stormed the Senate building? What would our reaction have been? And how would the police have responded?

Again, my purpose here is not to demonstrate how woke I am, nor is it to again denounce white supremacy, a term that is often applied too liberally. It is simply to ask an honest question for our reflection.

You might say, “But that’s totally hypothetical. Why even raise the question? Who knows what the response would have been?”

Then let’s try another news story, also sent to me by the same friend.

On February 23, a 25-year-old black named Ahmaud Arbery was shot dead by two white men as he jogged through the Satilla Shores neighborhood. The shooters, Gregory and Travis McMichael (father and son), said they thought that Arbery, who was jogging down the street and wearing shorts and a t-shirt, looked like a burglary suspect involved in several break-ins in the area.

They followed him in their pickup truck, then Travis got out and stood in front of Arbery, holding his gun (another “long gun”).

When Arbery tried to get around him, Travis shot him three times, leaving him to bleed to death.

The video footage, taken by a third pursuer on his cell phone, is sickening to watch. (Please do take a moment to watch. The men were armed with .357 magnum and a shotgun.)

Yet as of today, May 6, no one has been arrested for the shooting. No one.

According to police records, “[Gregory] McMichael stated [that Arberry] began to violently attack Travis and the two men then started fighting over the shotgun at which point Travis fired a shot and then a second later there was a second shot.”

Again, please watch the video and come to your own conclusions. Then ask yourself this: If the colors had been reversed, do you think you would have heard about this story much sooner? (The shooting took place on February 23, and the outrage is only growing now that the video is getting more attention.)

If a white jogger had been accosted by two armed black men who shot him in broad daylight and let him to bleed out, do you think there would have been an arrest made by now?

Thankfully, it is now reported that Tom Durden, “a Georgia prosecutor assigned to examine the case . . . announced on Tuesday he plans to have a grand jury hear the evidence in the shooting.” Let justice be served, let all the facts come out, and let the chips fall wherever they may. (Sadly, whatever the grand jury decides, it will not bring Arbery back.)

But, returning to my friend’s perspective, he made this comment about this particular story: “See,” he texted me, “sometimes it’s not about the stats but about a culture that allows the death of bipoc [meaning, black indigenous people of color], regardless of number, to go unchallenged for so long that most people's initial response is ‘What did the black guy do?’ as opposed to ‘Why did they take his life like that?’”

Those are very fair questions to ask. Do you agree?

As lovers of the Lord, let us be lovers of justice and righteousness too. It’s biblical, you know.

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Comments

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SteveW posted a comment · May 13, 2020
I do not agree with your analysis Dr Brown. The original sin of the Whites was to introduce slavery to the US. Although great strides have been made since then things have settled into a viscous circle, with many Black's trapped by their own victimhood, and Whites unable to ignore the resulting criminality (rightly so). The only way this cycle can be broken in my view is something like the 1904 Welsh Revival which transformed a whole society! As to the Arbery shooting, as usual the Left has rushed to judgement before all the facts are in, but, sadly, you have been swept along with it. You would have thought that the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown incidents would have breed some caution. We should all relearn what Proverbs 18:17 says: "The first one to plead his cause seems right, Until his neighbor comes and examines him." God Bless. Steve.
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Hebrewhelena posted a comment · May 08, 2020
Dr Brown: I’m surprised I have to tell you this but don’t you think you should wait to find out all the evidence rather than make a judgement on a video? Although the video is horrible and alarming, so was the video of the Native American looking like he was being bullied etc by the young boy w the MAGA hat. And we all know things were not what they seem.
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Hebrewhelena posted a comment · May 08, 2020
When people may ask “what did the Black guy do”? As opposed to “why was the black man’s life taken”...it may be because of the high criminality statistics of Blacks. Especially Black males. The statistics are horrible. Black on White Crime far exceeds White on Black crime in almost every area of criminal prosecution such as armed robbery, rape, murder. The state of Maryland has 75% Black incarceration! 1 in 4 Death row inmates are Black. And than you incredulously wonder why people are asking “What did the Black guy do”??
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Swkh310 posted a comment · May 07, 2020
The second story is easy: white evangelicals will twist themselves into rhetorical pretzels to justify the murder.
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Treeisa61 posted a comment · May 07, 2020
As far as the armed protesting in Michigan. I understand having armed protesting is very concerning but it was Thomas Jefferson who said ""When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny." My best guess is this the "Why" they did an armed protest. If all things were equal or same and the only difference was skin color. I am sure the black men would be consider racist but others seeing all the facts could have a more objective viewpoint. On the other hand, if they were all black and dressed in gang attire, waving hand guns they would be called racist and anarchist and the National Guard would have been called in.
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Treeisa61 posted a comment · May 07, 2020
If I, a white male, was taking a stroll through a neighbor that no one knew me and was confronted by two armed black women who sincerely believe that I might be a neighborhood robber. And I was successfully able to defend myself and punch out the two black women and seen running away. I would be falsely accused of being a racist(and probably more) and maybe arrested. Regardless of race or gender two armed citizens confronting and accusing another citizens is wrong and foolish. You can't blame the black man or anyone(even a guilty one) for defending them selves for the perceived threat. The two armed men should have been arrested and questioned immediately. The delayed response on part of the authorities could certainly be perceived as both careless and racist. I