National Paralysis and Judging a Book By Its Cover
By Dr. Wayne M. Reynolds
The word paralysis in the American Heritage College Dictionary is described as "A loss or impairment of the ability to move a body part, usually as a result of damage to its nerve supply. The second offering this source gives is "the inability to move or function; total stoppage or severe impairment of activity." A Spiritual Paralysis, similar to Spiritual Amnesia is when an individual or group ceases to function spiritually, thereby lacking equity, justice, mercy, peace, forgiveness, gentleness, kindness, patience, hope, and love. Certainly, the spiritual decision-making mechanism is severely tainted.
A Spiritual Paralysis or Spiritual Amnesia opens the floodgates to two things: Judging a book by its cover and racial profiling.
I first want to address the matter of profiling. Profiling is how the world operates. It is how nature operates. The animal kingdom recognizes enemy and foe based upon the "book cover." Mankind is no different.
I entered the ministry thirty-seven years ago in Chicago, Illinois. One afternoon, I was on a CTA Bus headed down town to the Loop. I was standing there holding onto a pole. Suddenly, a man rushed up to me and quickly dropped down to the floor of the bus and grabbed both of my legs at the ankle and squeezed them tightly. At the young age of 21, my first "thought" was to push, kick and shove this dirty, inebriated man off of me. When I looked down at him, and making out what he was saying, I noticed and realized that I was wearing all black and a white clergy collar.I was wearing a Minister's Uniform. I kinda/sorta forgot that for a second, and who I was and Whose I was. That is never a good thing.
The entire world knows what this uniform means and who wears it: Men and Women of the Cloth. The man on the bus made no mistake, judging this human book by its ancient cover - was in fact the truth. And the truth (this young inexperienced minister), told him he is forgiven and that God loves him, and to go with God.
My Police Chaplain's Training gave me an opportunity to sit among Officer Trainees in their academy. It became crystal clear from watching their videos that if an African American male who is a straight A student with a 4.0 GPA, with four years of honor Roll and National Honor Society to his name, and chooses to hang out with his friends and HE is wearing specifically what gang members wear, [make no question] he will be profiled as a gang member. The world profiles everybody. The same is for nurses, firemen, doctors and yes, police officers.
IF OUR YOUNG BLACK MEN DRESS CERTAIN WAYS, it will be assumed that they are what they look like.
Comedian, actor and entertainer David Chappelle, tells a joke about a woman yelling at a Police Officer, "OFFICER! OFFICER! STOP THAT MAN! HE TOOK MY PURSE! OFFICER!!!!" The woman yelled. Chappelle replied, "I'm not an Officer. I just like wearing this uniform." He ended the joke saying, "Ladies you're confusing us. If you're not a whore then don't dress like one, and we won't approach and treat you like one."
Its a little preachy, but then again, I am a preacher. Dress right and some of this will turn around. The money is there for African Americans to dress better.
We saw this in the NBA as a few years ago, the Commissioner made all the Professional Athletes who came to games and practices looking like thugs and gang members. Forthwith, billions of dollars flows through the hands of Black America annually. The money is there to dress more respectfully.
Secondly, why would other races have respect for your race if you don't respect your own race and your women? Referring to the use of the N-Word and other derogatory words used to describe black women in music, concerts and regular conversation.
When black-on-black crime and homicides particularly in major U.S. cities exceeds the number of lynchings that occurred in the south (back in the day), there seems to be an even greater problem "there" than with the militarizing of our police departments.
The bad or sad part about this is the high number black males who are intelligent, brilliant thinkers, choosing a life outside of traditional education. Instead of being architects, doctors, lawyers, engineers and scientist, their wardrobe of sagging pants and holding themselves is the path they've chosen. When I dress casual in shorts and cut off sleeves, I am often mistaken for some dude, and have been followed by police and store managers. We can do better.
There is no excuse for shooting a man 41 times like the police did with the 22 year old African immigrant in the Bronx, New York, and a host of other situations around this great nation.
The Spiritual Paralysis is rampant among police departments and black communities alike. A closer walk with Jesus, would make a man pull his pants up, and the man upholding the Law treat people he/she was sent to serve and protect with respect.
What would Jesus do? Seeking Justice is not what Christ taught us from the Cross at Calvary. The Lord, did not condemn anyone, but rather said to our God, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Jesus did not say this after counseling, of after he thought and prayed about it, nor "AFTER" he was resurrected. Jesus was preaching and teaching forgiveness while he was suffering, dehydrated, in excruciating pain, back, knees, arms and shoulders bleeding,... Forgive!
In the news many Americans are not seeking forgiveness, rather they are demanding something called justice.
As odd as it seems, imagine,....
Imagine,... if a voice came from the winds of time and circumstance and said:
When black on black homicides stop, and the N-Word is retired completely, and women in the Black Community are respected, the police departments across the United States will return the 400/plus mine-armored trucks, 93,000 machine guns and 430 helicopters.
I learned as a child growing up, that when I cleaned up my act I got treated differently by others. I don't think this theory will change much. (End of part 1)