I came across this quote the other day. I wonder what you make of it it?
My immediate concern here is that there is a bit of a narrative growing, namely that if there is racism here, then it is all the fault of those people who protested in the summer under the banner #BlackLivesMatter.
Well, I suspect that with the issue being more prominent in the news, that some people will have been more alert to racial injustice and that may have led to an increase in the number of racist incidents reported. I am also aware that there were some things that weren’t great about what happened. Some of the protests turned ugly and it is right to question the wisdom of mass demonstrations in the middle of a pandemic.
However, the building narrative that racism is the fault of those who complain about racism is deeply concerning. It is deeply concerning because we have a word to describe that when we see it happen between individuals in abuse contexts. We call it Gas Lighting.
Gas Lighting is when you seek to get a resolution to a problem but you discover that whenever you mention the problem or try to get something done about it, instead of things getting better, they get worse. The bully turns even more on you and throws accusation your way. The aim is to get you to lose confidence in yourself and your claim and for you and others who might be on your side to star doubting that the abuse ever happened. This is how abuse victims learn to keep their mouths shut. There is an implicit threat in it that the more you seek to speak up and speak out, the worse things will become for you.
Gas lighting happens with racism when people who have experienced discrimination in the workplace, harassment from those in authority, name calling and even violence are told that racism doesn’t really exist. Gas lighting happens when words like “woke” which were originally coined by those experiencing injustice to describe their struggle are turned against them as insults. Gas lighting happens when people are told that their experience of racism is their own fault.
The Bible calls us to seek justice. This is justice that isn’t biased by who we consider to be our friends or who we see as powerful. True Biblical justice does not regard the person but seeks the truth. Christians who have experienced mercy and forgiveness from Christ should be committed to true justice and speaking up for those who experience injustice.