The Chaos of the World
BY JOSIE SCHUMAN | June 8, 2020
In these past few months, the world has descended into chaos with the arrival of a global pandemic, the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression, the continued struggle of our Black brothers and sisters for their lives, and the burning of cities across the nation. Tensions have been high, and people have reached their boiling point—and rightfully so.
The murder of George Floyd is yet another devastating, senseless loss of Black life at the hands of a White police officer. As I read countless news stories and posts on social media, I thought to myself, I can’t believe this is still happening. But the reality is, racism has never ceased to exist.
Although we have tragically lost 100,000 people to COVID-19 in just the past few months, racism has been killing Black people since the beginning of our country’s history, and White America does not seem to care. COVID-19 warranted an entire global shutdown while White privilege persists unchecked. Even now, many people are using their White privilege to condemn the violent actions of protesters without considering what provoked them.
In the struggle for racial justice, we ought to be fueled by righteous anger. “Even as Jesus turned over tables in the Temple, he did not hurt one single person or animal being sold,” said Ian Peoples, S.J., in a Jesuit Post article. “Destruction of property is not the destruction of life. We must not cite broken windows as equal to the broken body of George Floyd.”
Nobody wants to loot, burn, riot, or destroy cities. People have been forced to. Our brothers and sisters are hurt. They are outraged. They are desperate.
The very foundation of this country has created the conditions that allow this violence to occur. For centuries, Black people have resiliently fought for every one of their rights: to go to school, to work, to vote, to jog, to play, to breathe, to live. Yet, they continue to be silenced, oppressed, and murdered by the White majority. So what can we expect in response?
Amidst this chaos, I have struggled to find God. However, in this week’s readings, he seems to address us directly: “Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11-13).
God calls us to live in peace. But first, our nation must mend our historically-entrenched ways of perpetuating racism to benefit White citizens and oppress Black citizens. We must mend a system in which our Black brothers and sisters are killed at the very hands of those who are sworn to protect them. We must encourage one another to have difficult conversations about race, power, and White privilege that lead to radical anti-racist action.
We must agree with one another that Black Lives DO Matter.
Only then can we escape the pit of despair that our country seems to fall further into every day to begin to encounter what God truly desires for us:
Josie Schuman is a former ISN intern and graduate of John Carroll University. She is currently a member of the Urban Catholic Teacher Corp at Boston College, pursuing a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction while teaching 5th grade English. Josie is passionate about faith-based antiracist education and hopes to inspire students of color to use reading and writing as tool for social change.
When will we stop asking the question, Where is God in all this? God, through his son, Jesus, told us exactly where he is — suffering with our black and brown brothers and sisters, marching side-by-side with all who are horrified and seek justice, and wishing as we are that those in power would “wake-up” and see their evil ways. I experience God shedding tears and saying, “Why oh why have you forsaken me?”
As James Finley recently said, ” God is it presence that protects us from nothing yet inexplicably sustains us in all things. God depends on us to be there for and with others.” We are the vessels of God’s Love and justice and mercy. Let’s not ask where God is, rather, where are we in fulfilling Gods “ask” of each of us. God depends on us!
I fully agree with everything said in this post – Black Lives do matter – but Latino / Hispanic, Asiatic, Muslim lives ALSO do matter – Racism does not play favorites – Racism is all-inclusive –
Before Mass, we have been praying our “Family Prayer” which includes asking for an end to racism for 20 years. How did we expect God would answer that prayer? Think about that. It has to come from white people, like you and I rising up, speaking up, and lifting up. It is not their problem. It is our problem.
Beautiful article. Thank you. Blessings
Life is a precious gift.
Some of your statements are quite outlandish and border actual racism because you are not white, but it’s open season on the “bad white man” from a privileged generation. Here are some facts Black people are most likely to be attacked and assaulted by a Hispanic or Latino ( True ) Asians are more like to be racially abused by a Black person ( True ) Whites suffer more hate crimes then any other race ( True ) Asians and Whites are getting rejected by Uni’s and College for Black students ( True ) Black people always commit looting when protesting ( True ) Most Police incidents with Black people that involve a shooting, the Black person has resisted arrest ( True ) Black people commit 50% of crimes on US soil ( True ) USA was actually taken from Indians not Blacks ( True ) more White people die by the hands of the police and suffer more brutality than any other race ( True ) Uganda, Benin and Libya are still commiting slavery ( True ). The funny thing is Black people aren’t oppressed it’s people like you and the media that are stealing Black voices by not letting them stand up, it’s you assuming that Black people are weak and continuing fake virtue signalling, it’s you that hurt the Black community by taking needed resources, it’s you that agrees with looting that steals clothes,food,medicine and resources from innocent Black people and the term “White Privilege” is offensive and racist to me a white man and it’s nothing more than a anti white hate speech which is been normalized. Here is Black Privilege then “To say anything or offensive,loot, assault, damage, vandalize, ruin US history without been personally accountable aslong as it’s said or done to a white person or property with the false claim of a oppressed system” kinda insulting right ? The more I read this false agends the more I’m considering pulling funds and placing in to white/asian community and education only, it makes me feel sick that your paint all white people with the same brush nice racism and double standard message and this is what my kids are exposed to time for a change of school . God Bless hopefully God forgives you child.