Reap what you sow

19
1003

The tragic killing of 9 people by a deranged killer in Atlanta has once again thrown our nation into paroxysms of anger, blame, and fear. Many people, especially on the Left, are judging the accused murderer of committing hate crimes for specifically targeting Asian women, and then concluding that our country, in addition to being especially racist towards black people, also has a serious problem with Asians.

Just as the tragic deaths of black suspects at the hands of police last summer caused our country to indict itself for being irretrievably racist, so is this latest mass shooting further driving the narrative that the US and the American people are fundamentally racist.

But I humbly propose that this isn’t true.

There aren’t statistics to back this up. There aren’t laws to support this, as there used to be. Our culture is more tolerant of interractial couples than ever before. There are severely punitive consequences for even being suspected of racism, as we have seen many times where people have lost jobs due to a statement that was deemed racist.

We celebrate the achievements of black Americans, despite the denials we hear in the month of February about this fact (I recall being taught about heroic black Americans way back in the 1970s, for Pete’s sake). After Abraham Lincoln, probably the most celebrated historical figure in our school curricula is Martin Luther King, Jr., as is appropriate.

And then there is the dominance in sports and entertainment of minorities, including LGBT figures. And their celebrity and achievements are celebrated often and with great enthusiasm.

We are a good country. We are a good people. There are some bad apples here and there, and there will always be. But we should not be so quick to judge people as we have been, especially recently. We should not mischaracterize a single incident to suit a given narrative and then say it is emblematic of the racist condition of our country. That is anti-scientific, anti-logic, and anti-truth.

There are many names for the devil, but two that apply most appropriately to this situation are “the accuser” and “the divider.” Satan accuses people of being evil, of being less than, of being not worthy of love. They hear this in their hearts, in their spirits, and fall into despair. Sometimes they take out their frustrations on others in violent ways, or in other abusive actions.

Sometimes those who are accused in their hearts begin accusing others of the evils they struggle with or fear, and focus their ire on externalities to relieve their inner tension and suffering. I think this is driving some of what we’re seeing now. People are so busy looking for racism and accusing others of it, that they spend very little time working on being a good person themselves.

What this accusation inevitably leads to is division. I don’t know if we’ve ever been as divided as we are now. This division pleases the devil greatly. He relishes to see formerly happy communities, families, or nations riven by such strife.

I am not denying that racially-animated attacks occur. I know they have increased recently towards Asians due to misplaced anger at Covid. That needs to be addressed, and is. (In fact, most bias against Asians comes from the Left in the form of quotas on Asians for elite educational institutions, punishing them and their families for the success they’ve achieved in our country.)

But the latest Atlanta attack isn’t the result of white supremacy or a broad-based toleration of racism in our country. It appears to be a highly specific situation driven by a tragic combination of self-loathing, sexual sinfulness, and guns.

It is not a sign that our country is racist. I reject that assertion based on reality, facts, and my own experience, and based on the conviction that constantly accusing others of being racist does little but foment division and mistrust. The people who suffer from actual racism or historical racism are not helped by blaming huge swaths of our country as being responsible for the actions of the past and the crimes of a few, most especially because those accusations just aren’t true.

Instead of accusation, I call for acceptance. Instead of division, I call for unity. Whenever you feel anger at your neighbor, look to yourself to see if you are exhibiting that defect that you accuse others of having, for often that is the case.

But don’t fall into the very intentional trap of thinking your country is a bad place. Our founding wasn’t “racist to the core,” as some assert. While the Founding Fathers weren’t perfect, they strove to create a nation based on enduring principles that helped ensure the end of slavery and then the end of institutional and (actual systematic) racism in the Jim Crow South and elsewhere.

Why this desire to tear our country down, castigate our neighbors as the root of all evil? This is not the behavior of charitable, loving souls. This comes from somewhere else. This is a spiritual battle, and the way to win it is seen on the Cross of Jesus: radical self-sacrifice and love for neighbor. Jesus did not come to condemn, but to save.

If you are condemning, you are not doing the work of God. The only one you should condemn is yourself for failing to live up to the law of love inscribed on our hearts. Doing the opposite means you are following the will of the one who opposes God, accuses, and divides. Don’t be like him ….

Trey Hoffman

Peachtree City, Ga.

19 COMMENTS

  1. The great thing about Systemic Racism is that you can just claim it exists, and then the burden or proof is on a handful of people to show through statistical and epistemological reasoning that it doesn’t. And no amount of proof will suffice, because the people who are inclined to belief that Systemic Racism is a real thing generally aren’t smart enough to handle statistics or philosophy.

    400 years ago, this same group of people were burning witches at the stake. Now they go around accusing people of racism. Humanity can be boorishly predictable like that.

    • Cut the ignorance and false equivalences PTCitizen. There are people still alive today that could not ride the same bus or drink out of the same fountain that white people could and you’re trying to say that in 2 generations we’ve stamped racism out completely? That all the racists just died without influencing their children/grandchildren in some way?

      Let’s address your first claim, burden of proof. Burden of Proof is the responsibility to those that make the claim. Not to those who do not. So here you go. A list of peer-reviewed articles demonstrating that in fact Systemic Racism is prevalent in our current iteration of America. mitpress.mit.edu/blog/articles-understanding-systemic-racism-and-social-justice

      Now, it seems to me that you would make the claim that Systemic Racism is not prevalent in America. I would like to see your sources Mr. Statistics & Philosophy….

      I know “witch-hunt” is favorite phrase to parrot for the trump cult, but you cannot be serious that people trying to address racism are somehow equivalent to the Religious wack-jobs that executed people for no reason.

      • It’s all too predictable how everything with you comes down to “muh trump” or “muh fox news”. Your penchant for overly simplistic categorical thinking is endemic of your susceptibility for believing ideas like “institutional racism”. The reason you had to post the first google result you got on the issue is because you’re not capable of articulating the thesis behind so-called systemic racism. Naturally, you wouldn’t be able to critically examine its weaknesses, in particular its lack of explanatory power for any observable phenomena.

        • Oh and I suppose your posts are littered with introspection and deep reflection of the complexities facing our society /s.

          And no, I am not going to summarize hundreds of peer-reviewed articles in a comment section for a person who still cannot and will not provide evidence for their position.

          Oh and the reason I can post the first Google result isn’t b/c I’m not capable of articulating the position that Systemic Racism exists. The reason I can post it is because there is so much OVERWHEMING evidence that it shows up at the f***ing top.

          You claim Systemic Racism does not exist, well help us all understand your position with SOURCES. I will wait and then we can debate.

          • I learned a long time ago not to waste my time engaging in debate with people who are ideologically possessed and consumed with tribalism. So no, I’m not going to “cItE sOuRcEs” or engage in any other academic exercise on your behalf. We have a saying in these parts… you don’t wrestle with a pig. You just get muddy, and the pig likes it.

          • Here’s the thing, I am absolutely open to changing my position based on *gasp* sources & evidence. You keep showing your discomfort with citing sources to back up your position(s) so we must ask who is really possessed? Keep reflecting, you’ll find reason eventually.

        • Nah; I was waiting to see if someone would call out David Webb as an Uncle Tom or Uncle Tyrone. However, I do find it interesting that several including Areva Martin have went down the path of wrong assumptions to validate their claim of white privilege.

          • Good for your I guess. I find the mountains of evidence pointing to the prevalence of systemic racism in our country an interesting topic, but glad you are being entertained at least

  2. Trey Hoffman writes: “If you are condemning, you are not doing the work of God. The only one you should condemn is yourself for failing to live up to the law of love inscribed on our hearts. Doing the opposite means you are following the will of the one who opposes God, accuses, and divides. Don’t be like him ….”

    As Nathan said to King David, “Thou art the man.” (2 Sam. 12:7)

  3. Thanks for posting my comment. I am sad that the comment did not include the link to the actual NPR story that explains the harm of systemic racism, but maybe links are not allowed here? If they ARE allowed, here is another one which might be surprising to Trey and anyone who thinks they are colorblind or unbiased or what have you.

    This is the link to the Implicit test by Harvard. You can take a test online, for free, which will give you an accurate reading of what your bias is. There are several tests to choose from, I would suggest Trey start with the one testing his bias about dark/light-skinned people. If the link cannot be used here, just search for Harvard Implicit Bias Test. Be brave and do it, face the truth about yourself — it might help you see the truth about America, too.

      • The Harvard Implicit Bias Test, it is one of the most poorly constructed examples of what is known as an “implicit association test” or IAT. IATs are already controversial within the social sciences because they fail or perform poorly at nearly every measure of a test, such as repeatability, reproducibility, or test-retest reliability. And standards for tests in the social sciences are already significantly lower than in more rigorous sciences like physics or chemistry. The very inventor of the IAT, who is also a co-author of the Harvard test (Stephen Greenwald) coauthored a study which found that the outcome of the test can be altered simply by discussing positive or negative exemplars of black or white people before giving the test(1). Another study showed that outcomes changed relative to the time of day the test was administered (2) This is known as “priming”, and Greenwald himself found that the very language the test was given in acts as a primer by creating culturally contextualized implicit associations. Malcolm Gladwell wrote about this in his book Blink, which led to an epidemic of people taking the test specifically to fake the outcome. This forced Greenwald and other researchers to develop an algorithm to detect intentional cheating. The best that algorithm can do is detect 75% of people trying to fake being less biased on the test (3). These are just the criticisms of IATs in general. The Harvard implementation specifically fails to account for factors like cognitive fluency, which has been shown to result in more extreme scores. Additionally the Harvard test has been shown to increase negative affective misattribution among participants who retake the test as a result of the test creating negative keyword associations to images of black people. Lastly, the test has been criticized for presuming that attitudes regarding work ethic and success are an inherent aspect of race (something sociologists refer to as “essentialism”).

        In laymen’s terms, it’s a useless test used by people who know nothing.

        1. “On the malleability of automatic attitudes: Combating automatic prejudice with images of admired and disliked individuals”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 81 (5): 800–814.
        2. “Time-of-day effects in implicit racial in-group preferences are likely selection effects, not circadian rhythms”. PeerJ. 4: e1947.
        3. “Faking of the Implicit Association Test Is Statistically Detectable and Partly Correctable” (PDF). Basic and Applied Social Psychology. 32

          • Some of them are actually better, as they’re just watered down copies of well established tests like Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) which are backed by solid statistical tools.

            A good article that lays bare the deficiencies of IATs in general is “Psychology’s Favorite Tool for Measuring Racism Isn’t Up to the Job” by Jesse Singal in New York Magazine. Another is “The Implicit Association Test: Flawed Science Tricks Americans into Believing They Are Unconscious Racists” by Althea Nagai publishing on Heritage.org.

  4. Right on Suz! You are on the right track, and Trey ought to take his own advice …

    “Sometimes those who are accused in their hearts begin accusing others of the evils they struggle with or fear, and focus their ire on externalities to relieve their inner tension and suffering. I think this is driving some of what we’re seeing now. People are so busy looking for racism and accusing others of it, that they spend very little time working on being a good person themselves<' Trey says.

    Maybe he is accused of racism in his own heart and so he's now focusing his ire on others to relieve his inner tension!

    He says there are no facts or statistics to back up the idea that systemic racism is a problem in the USA, but look at the draconian laws Georgia just passed to prevent people of color from voting! If that isn't a fact staring you right in the face, Trey, you just don't want see it.

    As Suz says, you are telling your story from your perspective as a straight white man, which is to say, from your perspective as king in the USA … Of COURSE you don't see any problems! You don't have any problems! Try being a dad of African descent in the USA who has to explain to your son who is learning to drive exactly what to do so the police don't kill him if he gets pulled over … Did your dad have that talk with you, Trey? Didn't think so.

    If you want to understand systemic racism and how it hurts America's minorities, you could start here: NPR, What systemic racism means.

    If you want to cling to your own biases and pretend it doesn't exist, you can go ahead and write your next letter to the editor.

  5. Trey Hoffman–
    You are welcome to speak and write at length about your experience as a white, male American. That is your story. However you cannot, and should not, tell others (especially those different from yourself) what their life is like. That is their daily reality. That is their stories to tell.

    This is a time for silence on your part. This is a time for you to listen. To believe what you hear. To take it to heart and be supportive. Perhaps even to change.

    Please do not insult the objects of bigotry and racism by assuring them that they are mistaken.
    Please do not attempt to explain your views on equality and acceptance from your privileged prospective.
    Again, please stop pontificating and listen.

    Listen when People of Color share their stories with you–and be honest enough to admit there are two systems of justice in America.
    Listen when Asian Americans share their experiences of bigotry
    and fear on the streets. They know.
    Listen to non-Christians (especially our Muslim siblings) targeted with mistrust and disdain.
    Listen to members of the LGBTQ+ community facing a seemingly endless battle for equality and inclusion.
    And yes, Mr. Hoffman, listen to women facing unplanned pregnancies, deserving safe medical options.

    Frankly it seems to me the height of presumptuousness for you to
    question the perception of people undergoing injustices that you will never face.

    Not to mention unbelievable bad timing–in the aftermath of the
    killings in ATL and during the trial of Officer Chauvin, I would think you would have the humility to remain silent.
    This is the time to listen.