Normally when I write, I poke and prod more than I rant and rave. As I write, I try to consider the person who disagrees with me because I want my words to build bridges. To help those reading figure out the next right thing.
But every once in a while, I write with a different person in mind. I write with my favorite faces in mind. I write from the deepest place of love that I can muster. Love that compels me to speak out on behalf of those I love. When I write from this place, my writing can only be composed from words of anguish. Words of urgency. Words of bold conviction.
Today, as you read my words I hope you will hear my anguish. Sense my urgency. Hear my conviction. Because for me, this article is intricately woven into the make-up of my family.
The faces that are in my mind as I write this time are my Black husband, my Black daughter, and my Biracial son.
Ms. Abby Johnson was the Republican National Convention Speaker on August 25th who spoke on the sanctity of human life. She was a former Planned Parenthood Director and has since become a Pro-Life activist. Ms. Johnson, however, posted a video on YouTube in June of 2020 that came under scrutiny. The video has since been removed, but sources state that Ms. Abby Johnson explained that the police would be “smart” to profile her biracial son (via adoption) because statistically her Brown son is more likely to commit a crime than her White son.
Ms. Johnson and I are both Pro-Life, White mothers of children of Color. But let me be perfectly clear, I completely and ardently disagree with her belief that my children should be racially profiled by police and seen as more likely to commit a crime than their White counterparts.
To have that untrue and racist stereotype, not just believed by a parent, but actually endorsed by a parent is something that I struggle to wrap my mind around.
If my daughter were blonde hair and blue-eyed, would I say that teachers are right to profile my daughter as a dumb blonde? To assume that she’s less intelligent before she has even opened her mouth? I thought everyone agreed a long time ago that “dumb blonde” jokes weren’t funny nor were they accurate. In this case, I would immediately call the school and figure out what that particular teacher has against blonde hair/ blue eyed students to say such preposterous things? So tell me why in the world would a mother play into an even greater, horrific, and tragic stereotype to assume that her Brown son is more likely to commit a crime than her White son?
Some will counter back with “well actually she said…” and try to explain away the horror of her statements. Actually she said that she assumes her Brown son is more likely to commit a crime simply because of his skin color. Ms. Johnson referenced and erroneously believes that the disproportionate numbers of Black and Brown men in the justice system are there because they are guilty. She assumes that there is no other reason for Black and Brown bodies to be oppressed and jailed than guilt.
She is ignoring major essential elements such as bias in the judicial system, bias in police officers, bias in the people on the jury. Or, even if we disregard the huge issue of individual bias, she has also ignored the systematic reasons, such as the laws that have been passed allowing greater sentences to Black and Brown individuals than White individuals for similar or identical crimes. In a quick google search, I uncovered many articles and sources stating that racial injustice in our judicial system exists. Here’s a couple of introductory headlines for you to consider. (I did a Google search for the sake of this post to show how easy it is to find credible resources.)
Black men who commit the same crimes as white men receive federal prison sentences that are, on average, nearly 20 percent longer, according to a new report on sentencing disparities from the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC). … A 2014 University of Michigan Law School study, for instance, found that all other factors being equal, black offenders were 75 percent more likely to face a charge carrying a mandatory minimum sentence than a white offender who committed the same crime.
Article linked here.
African Americans are burdened by a presumption of guilt that most defense lawyers are not prepared to overcome. As a result, African Americans make up 47% of exonerations even though they are only 13% of the population. Innocent Black people are about seven times more likely to be convicted of murder than innocent White people, and Black people who are convicted of murder are about 50% more likely to be innocent than non-Black people convicted of murder.
This info can be found on the Equal Justice Initiative’s website, linked here.
(For further examples, articles, etc… I would encourage you to start your own Google search.)
We don’t get a “free pass” for having racist ideology as long as we acknowledge life begins in the womb. The two do not cancel each other out. When our kids disobey, we don’t let them get away with telling us, “But Bobby hit Sarah at lunch!” We all know deflection when we see it in our children. So why do we deflect as adults? Sin is sin and shouldn’t be justified, explained away, or swept under the rug because a personal viewpoint makes a different sin “bigger.” God cares about the unborn child equally as much as he cares about the born child. It’s time that Christians in America start acknowledging and acting on that truth as well.
As I read Ms. Johnson’s words, my body grew rigidly tense from the sorrow her words brought, the anger at the blatant lies and slander being promoted, and the horror in knowing those words will provide further support for authoritative systems, as well as American citizens, to continue the brutal and often deadly interactions with Black people in this country.
I know those words are genuinely believed. Not only by Ms. Johnson, but also by some men and women who live near my family. By some police officers that might one day pull my son or daughter over while they are driving. By a teacher who might be my child’s first class of the day.
Her words remind me that my children are not safe. Not in the same way that White children are.
My children will still have to be on guard. Be extra cautious. Do the extra work to disprove the stereotype to stay alive.
Beyond all my shock, grief, and anger stemming from Ms. Johnson’s words, however, I am equally, if not angrier with the leadership at the Republican National Convention.
Shame on you.
You invited a speaker, who a mere two months ago, promoted wrong, erroneous and dangerous allegations against men and women of Color and then acknowledged and stands by those words?
We know that the speakers are heavily vetted. We know that the RNC was well aware of her video. We understand that your decision to invite her to speak, knowing her beliefs on racial profiling and therefore racist stereotypes, was - by all ways that matter- an endorsement of her beliefs systems. At National Party Conventions, you don’t put anyone on a national stage and expect people to only listen to and believe the words they are speaking in their few minutes of air time.
Shame on you for brazenly endorsing the belief system that it’s ok to judge someone merely by the color of their skin before interacting with them.
Shame on you for boldly declaring racism via racial profiling is justified.
Shame on you for hosting a pro-life speaker who does not understand that her racial beliefs contribute to the culture that allows the innocent and unjust killings of life outside the womb.
Republican National Convention, shame on you.
About Holly's Blog
Holly loves to write, and you'll find her blog covers all different topics!