Racism and the Gaslighting of a people

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.

4 comments

  1. I suggest you follow the blogs of Martin Iles – The Truth of it. I then think your perspectives
    change.

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    1. Hi Bob I am not sure quite what the change of perspective needed here is? My thoughts are based on seeing what God’s word says about sin and seeing the ugliness of racism as it affects people. I understand there is the issue of the BLM of critical theory and its marxist roots. However as explained previously it is so important we distinguish the response from most people that has nothing to do with that and is simply a heart cry response to injustice.

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  2. Sin affects the hearts of all people and cannot be focused on colour. You speak of a heart cry
    response to injustice yet the policeman involved as yet to be tried and found guilty.Correct me
    if I am wrong. Surely Christians support justice through courts not by video.The response from
    most people is not a biblical one.
    I really think you should look at the website I recommended rather than be guided on what you
    state ‘ My thoughts are based on …’ I don’t find the media influencing the ugliness of the
    persecution ,including murder, of Christians in various parts of the world. All sin is aberrant.
    We are called to proclaim the gospel not take sides on social issues.

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    1. Hi Bob, I will hopefully pick up on some of these things in a future post. However 1. I hope you would agree that we prioritise what God’s word says 2. When I talk about what I e witnessed I am not talking about a video but about observing racism and hearing the experience of friends. 3. Yes sin isnt only about race but that doesn’t mean racism isn’t a sin. 4. So challenging this specific sin esp when it finds it’s way into the church matters. We preach the gospel but we also teach sanctification. 5. All through its history the church especially when the Gospel is front and centre has engaged with the social issues of its day: infanticide slavery segregation apartheid etc . I’ve had a brief initial listen to Martin Iles. This is very similar to the many responses already made. I’m not sure he has grasped what the actual issue is or understands the data he is sharing. But there you go. This brings us back to the initial point. The reason you saw such an emotional outcry from many black people (to be sure there were people agitating their own agendas) is because something chimed with what they had experienced. Taking this into the immediate context of church, these include being subject to stereotypes in comments. More widely -being selected out for stop and search (in one case at a Christian conference!!!) having people wind down car windows and make comments etc. I’ve heard people talk about how they were unaware of how much people from Black and Asian backgrounds were subject to until they were close friends with or in a relationship with someone from a different background. One of our elders took time to talk to a number of African members of our church following the BLM protests starting and being disturbed to hear then describe the discrimination and abuse they have faced as something they are resigned to and have learnt to put up with as normal. This brings me back to my original point. If our reaction to people putting their hands up and saying “me too” is to blame them and say they are the cause of the problem then we are still a long way short of getting it.

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