Even though Ferguson, Missouri is 500 miles from where I live, the events unfolded with a startling nearness. The death of unarmed African American teenager, Mike Brown, at the hands of White police officer, Darren Wilson, felt personal. I know some facts of the case are murky. I know intelligent people profoundly disagree on whether justice was done. I also know what it’s like to be a young Black man in America.
My reality has been one of constantly questioning my identity. All human beings ask the question, “Who am I?” But members of sub-dominant people groups have to ask the additional question, “Who am I in light of how the dominant group identifies me?”
Sub-dominant people groups come in many forms: women, the poor, the disabled, and ethnic minorities. In the United States, African Americans, especially males, have been largely coded as negative by the dominant culture. So when Mike Brown was killed by a man commissioned to “serve and protect” it reminded me of all the times my identity has been denigrated in overt and subtle ways because of my skin color.
I’m a Christian, so I try to think through issues from the perspective of God’s word. The fundamental problem of continue racial tensions, as I see it, is that our society is ignorant of what it means to be made in “the image of God” (Genesis 1:26). So I wrote a series of three blog posts on my other website, the Reformed African American Nework | RAAN, to address the image of God and the African American experience. I believe that when we all view one another as bearers of God’s image we begin to respect one another regardless of color, nationality, gender, economics, or any other distinction.
Here are the three posts. Let me know what you think on Ferguson, the posts, or anything else the comments section.