Forgiveness in itself is a process. A process that requires reflection, acknowledgement, and compassion from both the oppressor and oppressed. Forgiveness often requires a journey of grieving and healing that looks and feels different for everyone. Although, at times forgiveness seems like more of an obligation then a choice. Historically, black forgiveness of white violence has remained a form of self-protection for blacks. America celebrates and explicitly demands black forgiveness in the face of violence.
At a philadelphia Starbucks, two black men were arrested for trespassing when they decided not to order anything. propelled the issue of racial bias into the spotlight. Rashon Nelson, 23, said that he had asked to use the restroom and an employee told him it was for paying customers only. A witness at the incident, said another woman had entered the Starbucks moments prior to the men being arrested and was given a bathroom code without having to buy anything. insistence upon involving police in seemingly minor interactions puts black lives at risk. White people have made their fear and discomfort a weapon in otherwise peaceful encounters for years. Further, white people identifying themselves as the victim allows them maintain innocence.
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Dylann Roof, a white supremacist, killed nine blacks during a prayer service at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The families of the victims of the Charleston massacre publicly announced, less than 24 hours after the event, that they forgive Dylann Roof. The family members were embraced by the media for their compassion and fortitude. I would like to make it crystal clear I do not regret what I did, Roof wrote in the journal while in Charleston County’s jail. The systems of white supremacy demand forgiveness from blacks even though white supremacists have done nothing to reconcile or promise stop their behavior. The expectation that black people will always and immediately forgive the violence done to them by the world, or individual people, is a demented ritual.
The relationship between blacks and white supremacy is one that lacks acknowledgement and reflection.
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