Preface: This post was from several nights and days reflecting on the lack of advancement in police education/training and police brutality towards Black and Brown persons in the United States and the intersectionality of Christianity. It takes a toll on my heart. These words to follow are in no way from a place of hate, but a place of concern and trepidation on what the future may hold for people that look like me in the future.
This is not a post to make you feel comfortable, nor is it a post to start arguments about, but rather a post to read and reflect.
This is not to discuss how the protesting can be better without looting or rioting, because that has always been a part of history. If that is a base of an argument for why ALL Black lives do not matter to you, then YOU are a part of the problem.
This isn’t meant to be a think piece or a diatribe on how I plan to dismantle the system, nor am I here to argue, but what I will say, is that the system is broken and silence is compliance. We all have a choice and the choice depends on what side of history that you choose to be on. I see many people believing that they have the option to be silent and becoming a part of the problem, not speaking up for injustices. Not speaking up to explain to their non-black counterparts or their aloof black counterparts on the historical relevance of rioting.
To my younger black boys and to the black men in the world: We have to keep our head up. It is the ONLY thing that is keeping us alive. That… and the black women that so graciously allow us to rest our laurels on their already weak and tired bodies.
To my younger black girls and the strong, beautiful, courageous black women in the world: Black men need you. When we fall short, you all are there to close the gap. You all literally have the power to keep our history moving and our lineage. As much as the black man, you are being vilified, shot and killed for reasons unknown and to the demise of black people worldwide, your cries are not heard as much as they should, and we will continue fighting until every name is heard. The world needs your light to continue to shine on an already dark world. You are seen, you are heard, and you are appreciated.
As a person that likes to think that I look to God for most of my problems in life, I think that this (systematic oppression and inherent brutality towards black people) one is definitely a people problem and not a God problem. You see, God gives us greater grace and he also gives free will. That free will comes down to having a heart check, checking where your heart is and if God would be pleased with where your thought process is, checking where your emotions come from, and if they are truly Christ-centered. There would be no hate towards a Black man because he is marching. However, in the same hand, free will gives people the option to hate. Now a true Christian knows that hate has no home within as he progresses to be more Christ-like but, God knew the ultimate test would not be of man likeness but with the test of the ultimate strength of his heart.
I personally believe that if people chose to think with God at the center and harnessing the power of self-control there would not be as much, or if any discourse towards a Black woman and her comrades as they protest in angst, in stress, and in fear of her future generations as she pleads for a government that has never cared for her. There would be no conversation on why there are “good blacks” and why there are bad ones…in a conversation that must deal with a basic human right. Actually, there would be no hate towards anyone, and actually, as The Word says “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
……and again: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” John 15:18
……. and again: “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.” 1 John 2:9
……….and again, for over 100+ times does The Word speak about hate……but yet, here we are.
I was going to find my mom a very, VERY late, mother’s day gift in Target when I saw a man wearing a “Jesus would tread on you” t-shirt today( a very bad play on words of “don’t tread on me”), and I had my “Created and Directed by God” t-shirt on and it definitely hit me that no matter how much I cry out for God, or recite the bible front to back, there will always be people who hate me. I work in an industry where on my internships I was called “the colored boy” and not by my name. All we ask is that you call us by our name. George Floyd, Tamir Rice, Amber Guyger and the list goes on and on. There are parallels to protests in the 60s and to the protest of today, except dogs were being released on my parents (you read that right) and there weren’t rubber bullets….there were actual bullets…and people got away with much more, but they always kept God at the center.
To my friends that are tired of using God as a coping mechanism for the terror in the World: I understand, I see you and your feelings are well validated. A lot of people often question the spirituality that comes with being Christian as it was one of the very tools that was used to enslave us, but as the resilient people we are, it became one of the things that kept us from breaking. It became one of the things that allowed us to rise and fight back by ANY MEANS NECESSARY.
I will always support my brothers and sisters as long as it was conceived with Christ at the center and is not fueled by hate. We all have moments where we get upset with God and question why he did what he did, but again, it goes back to free will. I like to often think of Lauryn Hill’s “That Thing” and refer to the verse: “Now that was the sin that did Jezebel in”. I sometimes wonder if free will was not the sin, but the very being of what did humanity in…for good. God knew what he was doing when he gave us free will and he knew it was up to us and how WE choose to work with that sweetest and most dangerous fruit of the spirit—self-control.
To my friends that want to eat the rich and burn down the establishment: Just wait……just wait. lol.
To my non-Black friends and associates: I will not be dropping any links on how you can help, or where you can donate. This is the time where the training wheels are cut off and you ask your fellow friends or even do a google search on how you as a non-Black person can do your part and help. But most importantly, become an ACTIVE LISTENER. Do NOT listen to respond, but listen to understand, comprehend, and be able to take away something from what your Black friends who are taking the time out of their day to talk to you about. If you know there is injustice, speak up, because there is power in the tongue and there is power in numbers. I am not going to beg or plead with anyone to see my side or see what happens, because for the ones out there that still “think I am different from the others”, please be advised that your chain of thought is irresponsible…because I still have the same chance of being shot as the people you consider the others.
As a kid, I would have loved to think of the fairytale of playing with others, not worrying about how I would be viewed would last. If you told me this as a kid, what is going on in 2020, I would have soaked up all the time that I could’ve. This reality is no longer fun. Instead, t is becoming a nightmare. It’s becoming a nightmare, because for the first time in 21 years, I have honestly had to come to terms that no matter how good of a person I try to be, or how hard I let God’s light shine through me, that it will never be enough to survive a night on the town with friends. Or going to a Starbucks to get coffee, or going to a gas station, or even going to a hotel party with friends. None of that will ever be enough.
Growing up in Lexington, South Carolina…and then being a student at the somewhat tone-deaf Clemson University (in Clemson, South Carolina), I often wondered why my parents made me and my siblings go there. I understand that is a “good school” now, and I appreciate that it prepared me for a world that wouldn’t like me and it made me a person that liked who I was, regardless of what others thought, no matter how often I was “one of the good ones” or “how I was not like the other Black people in the world”… and it prepared me for a life where no matter what room I am in… I am self-confident, I am self-reliant, and I am aware that Christ lives within me..and I really can do all that I aspire to do and be.
Attending Clemson University was not what I expected at all, and I kept my head down for most of it…because I always felt like there wasn’t a way for me to speak up without being seen as the “aggressive” Black man. I figured if I could do my school work then that was the best way for me being able to help my community. But…I found out my work had so much power in it…that would affect people for years to come. When I won an award for my research, I felt that my school was parading me around like one of their “black sheep”, and using my work as a trophy for the award-winning diversity that Clemson University produces. But yet at the apex of some of the most trying times as not only a black person in America, but a Clemson University student, I failed to get a response. I failed to get any help…or support. I failed…to be seen. But they post our faces, tote us around, and use our hard work and research to advance the university. The interesting thing is, by winning this award on how to bring more minorities in my industry and being published in a journal…I’m not so sure if I want my children to work in an industry where the world will already hate them from birth.
I say all of this to have a clear conscience and that whatever you feel lead to do by God, or your spiritual leader/guide or positive source of energy… then do so. And to my Christians out there, please don’t confuse your Christianity with bigotry because the lines seem to blur when we add race into spiritually-led conversations. Love your neighbor…and love without fault. And if you cannot love without conditions… there please…check where your heart is.
This turned into something that may never be released to millions around the world, but I’m here for whoever does read…to know that you are heard, you are seen, you are validated, and you are loved. If you cannot do these things for every black and brown being, then I suggest you check your heart and your mind.
Oh and one more thing, Nuestros hermanos y hermanas hispanos y latinos están siendo ilegalmente detenidos por ICE, por favor, den amor, apoyo y escriban a sus personas elegidas. (yes, my concentration is Spanish).
About Corban J. Williams
Corban Williams is a Graduating Senior Construction Science and Management major at Clemson University, from Columbia, SC. He is an active member in the Clemson University Student Government as a member of the Council of Diversity Affairs. He is also a member of the Clemson AGC Student Chapter and the Clemson Black Student Union. Corban is also active in his community by volunteering at Brookland Baptist Church's Soup Kitchen each weekend and mentoring High School Seniors about careers in the Construction Industry. He also recently completed a Study Abroad program to the Dominican Republic where he helped plan and construct a house for a family in need, all while learning the history and culture of the residents. Corban contributes much of his success to his parents and his mentors, especially Nate Spells Sr., Nate Spells Jr., and David Myers at Construction Dynamics. They were the first group of people to introduce Construction Science to him and grant him an internship position. Following graduation, Corban plans to work in the Construction Industry as a Project Engineer. The driving force behind creating research, according to Corban, is to “provide insight on how industry professionals can harness the burgeoning diversity already within the industry to recruit the next generation of workers and to highlight the important of diversity and inclusion within the Construction Industry.”