RACIAL RECONCILIATION: OUSTING RACISM WITH LOVE

” God created the human race, humans created racism.” -Jane Elliot

Racism. We all are somewhat scared of and responsible for this word. An upsurge in protests snowballing across many countries in the wake of George Floyd’s murder is shaming racism and racists. Topics that were once sacrosanct are now public discussions. The world is waking up to the damaging effects of institutionalized and systemic racism that has plagued “minority races” for decades. In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, activists and protesters are stamping their feet down, pumping their fists in the air demanding equality for all races. These measures are certainly drawing attention to the issue but unless conscious steps are taken by every individual, it “may” be a waste of time. We may not be responsible for racism but we sure do have our work cut out in achieving its deconstruction.

Living in imperfect societies as Christians compels us to do the one thing we’ve been called to do – Love. The famous one-liner, “if you can’t beat them, join them” isn’t a Christian mantra, but rather debunking it is what we are called to do. We can’t stand up to racism by inciting hatred or shrinking into our holes but by loving people of all ethnicity and language like Christ did, unconditionally. Mike Todd in his sermon on racial reconciliation expatiates on a commandment God gave us; “love your neighbour – not your black neighbour, or white neighbour, or affluent neighbour”. The knowledge that in Christ, there are no divisions based on race or ethnicity would be more effective if it were truly practiced rather than stated.

Prejudice, discrimination, structural and institutionalized injustice can be demolished with racial reconciliation which upholds love, tolerance, inclusion and respect as its tenets. Recognizing the problem and actually believing it is a problem is a good place to starting the journey of racial reconciliation. We ought to have a level of self awareness rather than feign ignorance on the issue, only then will we see it as a social problem that needs to be tackled.

Racial reconciliation is not just the sermons but the conscious and consistent love for people, not because of the colour of their skin but because they are human. Love encompasses everything we need to fight racism. There is beauty in diversity, I mean the world will be so bland if everything existed in one shade. Accepting and embracing this draws us closer to the fulfilment of the revelation John had when he saw people of all race, language, nation and tribe worshipping God in harmony.

Reconciling races is possible when we’ve been reconciled to ourselves. No race is inferior to the other, therefore you are not inferior, the spirit in you is not the spirit of fear but of love and that eliminates all fear. We are all worthy of respect and equality and because this decades-long monster has eaten deep into our societies and institutions does not imply we have to settle for and expect less. We are to celebrate our ethnic identity and uniqueness, whether we be African, European, Asian, American, Australian, Biracial, Multiracial, we are God’s ingenious handiwork. We love God and by transforming into His image, we become love and in turn, we love others.

Self-examination reveals who we inherently are. There are social, religious and institutionalized constructs and biases inculcated in us from our childhood which may be discriminatory, this can unconsciously lead us to perpetrate the myths and stereotypes we grew up feeling were normal. Racial reconciliation means evaluating our beliefs and theories about people different from us and ultimately deconstructing the prejudiced, bigoted ones.

The one way racism can be ousted is through love, the God kind – agape. Sure activism raises awareness but treating everyone equally starts from an individual making the choice to love. And how best can we love except we have love in us? There is one who loved us all so much He gave His life for us and if we let Him in, then we too can love effortlessly, regardless of who it is, White, black, brown, red.

In a world where hatred and strife is growing, may we choose to be symbols of love.

IfiokAbasi Okop and Steven Kator Iorfa. ©2020

WILL YOU BE?


The trickle of salted water
Opened up the flood gates of its tap
The fiery gaze of hurt and pain
Like boiling blood
Will you be the hands to wipe off?

The bleeding of the shape I call love
The grief of the cut in two
The loss of the pieces fixed to it
Will you be the one to mend?

Like stones hurled at one
The weight you can’t bear
The pricks it leave behind
Of fear, of poor esteem
Will you soothe my ears?

Steps higher steps above
In doubt and fear
With skills but no grit
Will you be the one to urge on?

My love my perfect
Imperfectly perfect
Frail, grace and calm
Will you hold my hand?

When my eyes are covered with fear
And my hands quiver in despair
When my Feet drown in doubt
Will you be my Anchor

When the day wears a black gown
And the Sun refuses the smile
Hiding the face of the moon
Will you be the voice hope?

Oraegbu Philipa Ada
Olaoye Adeleye
© 2020

TALE OF THE HEAVENS

Far away
Away as the waters that once finds its dwelling at shore

How far is far
Are you talking about endless oceans or a stary sky?

I have lost my rhythm at the sound of the endless ocean
Scared to trace the pathway
Which I once trusted as the Broadway

The way to the Broadway can be deceptive
But we are receptive to the leading of the rhythm within
The one that leads to the path of life

The path of life
The crown of eternity
Grizzled with Gold and emerald
Joining the Herald
The cherubs and seraphs in the song of redemption

The very redemption that liberates
The one that exposes me to my strengths
The joy is unending
This song ushers me to rivers of living water

Most times I hear more about angels singing
But poetry is hardly talked about
Does the angel write?
Is poetry their kind?

If they ever wrote I wonder what colour the words displayed
But I think to myself, if Christ is a poet then maybe their is a trace that leaves clues

Maybe they write in blue
Or green, or pink,
No, I think golden, because of the golden scroll
Maybe not
Maybe black or brown or no color
Maybe their ways is a mystery to unravel

I think a greater mystery to unravel is the way they study their master through us, the chosen once, the once who have given themselves to the Word

It teaches me the true way of a living master
That conquered me in my rebellion
Adonai
That divided the river Nile

The Niles hear and see
They are receptive to the masters voice
Same way they can be with ours
Cause the signet has been placed on us

Imani Dokubo
The Alchemist
© 2019

Evolve

Man.
Lord of the earth, unknowing.
Born Heroes; living victims.
Black Panthers scared shitless.
Superintendents gone puny.
Sad.

Man.
So primitive. So common. Like dirt.
As is the sunrise.
Aye, it doesn’t make him, nor the sunrise,
Any less a miracle; any less a beauty.
But then…

Man.
“Ye are Gods,” I heard Him say.
Creators, made He you.
But it’s sad.
You only live as pawns on a chessboard.
And you die like mere scum of the earth.
Who knew the hashtag was truth, after all.
Men are scum, indeed.

Man.
Oh, man.
Pity! PITY!
I mean, you share a last name with Deity!
With Yahweh Himself!
Oh, that you knew thyself!
And, that, to thy sweet self, you be true.

Man.
Do not your dreams whisper to you
The destiny of your race?
Do not your superheroes, your folklores, your movies
Point towards mastery?
And power?
And love?

Man.
Does not your genius, your spirit
Nudge you ever so silently
To rule from the top of the rainbow?
To conquer the sky you’ve agreed is your limit?

Who has deceived you?
Oh, man!
“Evolve, man!
Evolve!”
Eternity screams.
Immortality beckons.

But no. You’ll read this poem, this call,
And just move on.
Sadly.
Oh!
Man!

Nonso John
© 2019

Void

You think you need something
you get it
And then you need another thing again
It goes on and on
Like a black spiral
You can’t stop
You are insatiable
You gorge, inhale, gather till your barns are overflowing
You stand, and look, and smile, with a satisfied air of pride
You acquire all your heart can think of
And then
Then….
Then…..
You feel empty again.
Your barn’s full on the outside,
But you are empty on the inside
You grope and grope
You catch nothing
You surround yourself with people
Addictions, achievements, to feel something
But
You feel even emptier
Like a far stretched desert land
Why Man, oh Why???
What’s the purpose of gathering
When it does not fill that void, that deep, dark void
WHY????

EMENIKE CHINWENDU
© 2019

I am here with you

I look ahead, I see the past,
I close my eyes and feel the beat,
Of the chest, I tried but tears dropped,
I challenge my mind, trained my faith,

But all this while,
No better days,
I am trapped in the center, the middle,
Life is hard, much harder when you fail,
I lost before, losing again,

The eyes of the sky is black,
And the womb of hell, blue,
I am ready to go, no more,
Farewell mingling toil and wine,

But,
‘Wait!’ dear farmer If you can,
Accept this hoe for your soil if you will,
For I am the end of all sorrows, a new dawn,

So stop and stoop,
Now till and till again,
Gather all worn out tools,
For I am here with you!

Ugwu David C
© 2018

Darling

Darling,
You can let me see the whole you,
You can stand bare before me half dark, and still soar if you’ll just let me show you,

I know life has left you stripped of all the things you couldn’t have,
Swept you off your feet from heights you couldn’t dive,
Dared you with shocks you couldn’t nerve,
Will you let me be it’s one slave that wouldn’t serve?

I’ll defy my master and dare to die,
If you will let your hands fall by your sides,
Let not the darkness cause you lie,
Cos I’m all black and still dare to fly,

To our advantage let’s stir the light,
That years from now when we add to age,
We would look back in time a time at dusk,
When unreachable seemed the giant’s tusks,
In a moment of shame and leap at once
we shadowed the form that birthed us,
Darling.

UCtruth

© 2018

Flying shadow

Black bird, d’you wanna fly?
D’you wanna take my blackness with you?
Would you rather take my darkness to the sky?
Or would you stay here too?

I’m caught in the midst of things I don’t wanna do,
Wings to fly I crave but don’t have,
I rend my clothes into halves,
And bare chested I stand in fear of you,

Lend me wings to fly,
No!
Take me with you to the sky,
No!
Heal my broken soul,
No!
Please make me whole,
No!

Flap flap flapped,
And off she went,
Flapped and leaving me a-trapped,
With my back bent,
And my soul sapped,

Black bird said no,
But at the horizon our shadows met,
And at the horizon my shadow flew.

Steven Kator

© 2018