Trayvon's Humanity

Is humanity a good, or ugly thing?

Sometimes, I just don't know.

Watching my (white, middle-class, "Christian") friends make facebook comments on the Trayvon Martin "situation"  -- defending the verdict, the status quo, the righteousness of their class -- has been... heartbreaking.

The knee-jerk defensiveness and shrill calls of "See, See!" at the tragedy of some Oklahoma teens shooting a (white) Australian athlete... it's all so very, very ugly.

It's painful to see the pointed fingers. Not because I don't understand the "instinct to be right," or because I think these people are being particularly vindictive, cruel, or inhuman. Rather, because of the seemingly inescapable humanity of their actions -- of the pedestrian, unavoidable normalcy of our inherent human unwillingness to look past the surface to a criminal justice system that is so often deeply, horribly unjust.

Broken, even.

Regardless of who-did-what, or what should have been the outcome in any given case put before a court of law, the reactions of the masses are telling, and important.

When you live in country with the highest incarceration rate in the world... in a country where  regardless of culpability you are disproportionately way more likely to feel the heavy hand of retributive justice if you are poor, or of a minority... then the response of a compassionate, loving, truth-seeking and Jesus-identifying individual should never be self-protection. Rather, it should be to lose your privileged self in identification with the poor, the disenfranchised, and the powerless.

This is a CORE truth of who Jesus said he was, and so it is painful to me (as someone who thinks Jesus is way cool) that much of the white, middle-class "Christian" cultural inertia has been to fight, legislate, and post-on-facebook against such people.

The system is broken in your favor. And as the winners (the franchised, the powerful and the rich) you don't get to claim the name of Jesus while stomping Jesus' most visible representatives in the world around you against the curb.

I'm so very, very tired of this. 

I don't know what to do. I want to get off this blog and go write the perfect film script -- the one that will get you to rethink your unquestioned attitudes. To change. To fight against injustice, and for Jesus.

Perhaps I will.

In the meantime, please watch this video of a TED-talk by lawyer Bryan Stevenson, who tells us his stories and tries to convince us that "Ultimately, our humanity depends on everyone's humanity."


  1. gracias Josh. Reminds me a bit of Abraham Heschel's quote on our broken society: "Above all, the prophets remind us of the moral state of a people: Few are guilty, but all are responsible."

    1. Abraham JOSHUA Heschel, don't forget :)

      Because there's no in-group like the one formed by your parents when they threw a dart at the name-list.


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