Op-ed by Rev. Michael Vaughn
During the month of February each year we celebrate Black History Month and it is a great time to reflect and to truly celebrate the accomplishments of Black people throughout American history and our impact on this country and the world. It is a time where we can see how strong, creative, resilient, focused, intentional, dedicated we are as a people. I believe that there is not another race of people that have undergone the continual and systemic struggles that Black people faced (and continue to face) and still thrive. It reminds me of the children of Israel during the time of Pharaoh. The more they afflicted them the more they flourished. I am proud to be an African-American and the history that I have come from.
What is troubling, however, are some of the representatives of the Black cause today. They essentially run counter to those that we celebrate during Black History Month. The movement, Black Lives Matter, IMHO, is counter to what the leaders that we celebrate during Black History Month stood for. These folks are about creating change through intimidation and virulent rhetoric. They are into a cancel culture mentality and believe that change will come through various levels of intimidation and degradation. In other words, they are good at playing the victim and that comes from a weak side of which the black people we celebrate during Black History Month are unacquainted with! People change when they realize there is a strong moral reason to do so. Trying to force change will be like the child that was forced to sit down but didn’t want to and when asked what he was doing, he stated, “I’m sitting down on the outside but standing up on the inside.” This is where we are headed in this country. Folks want to make everything racist and by doing so, it diminishes what really is racist and what needs to be truly changed so removing the true power of the needed change.
The true black leaders that were part of invention in America and were part of the Civil Rights movement, took a road that was hard and they persevered. They faced what looked like insurmountable odds and they knew that the greater One, Father God, then needed to work things out if change was going to occur. Today’s folks want to move without God as their center and from a place where they don’t want equity but dominance. We cannot (should not) desire to do to those that oppressed us what they did to us. Vengeance belongs to God and we need to let Him deal with those that have wronged us. We are not looking for a “flash in the pan” temporary fix that will appease those that raise their voice so loud and sound so eloquent but actually are full of hot air. We need real change that comes through real work and comes from a place of strength and not weakness. We need to stand-up for who we are as a people, seek the face of God and see real change occur.
Take this COVID-19 pandemic; it has been stated that black people proportionately contract this disease and die from it that other race groups. In true form the Democrats, the media and the victim apologists have come along and tried to play the race card or cry foul. It is true that because of the social determinants of health, there are some real issues regarding health service being disseminated to the black community. However, we have to do all we can to help ourselves, first! This disease is known to target obese people, folks with high blood pressure and diabetics. These diseases disproportionately affect black people more than others because of our lifestyles (i.e., eating too much fried food, not exercising, eating too much salt, etc.). How about we talk about prevention instead of talking about being a victim? We have to get back to the strength of those that came before us so that we can achieve the levels of victory and change that they did.
Black History month is about celebrating those who had the courage to take on the system and do the hard thing in order to see true and lasting change occur. They weren’t interested in making a name for themselves, they just wanted equity for them and their children. We have great men and women to look up to and celebrate. Let’s not water down their legacy by being the constant victim and becoming too weak to forge the change that will transcend ourselves!
Rev. Michael is senior pastor of New Wineskin Church. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org