Whether true or not, media propaganda is designed to make people believe something over and over again about another culture, ethnic group, or specific demographic without personal interaction or connection with them. It chooses to intentionally shape the attitudes, values, and beliefs of another human being. It fuels on the process of teaching people to hate, develop stereotypes, respond negatively, and judge another individual without any prior knowledge or interaction. Ultimately, media propaganda causes people to think negative thoughts about another individual with the hopes that it will cause a person to blindly respond and act out towards someone simply because they are different. The more we ignore the perpetuation of media propaganda, the longer we will stay divided, and the change we so desperately seek will never come!
As a proud father of three African American boys, I would be lying to you if I said I don't ever think about the possibility of one of them becoming the next cover story or hashtag. I, myself, have experienced racial profiling and unlawful traffic stops by the police. However, I would also be lying if I said I believe all cops are corrupt and racist. As Americans, we have all witnessed first-hand the negative effects of media propaganda and how it has shaped the views, ideas, and perceptions people have when it pertains, in particular, to black males and police officers. I am not naïve to think that in 2016 there is no racism, discrimination, or social injustice, but I am wise enough to also know that a few situations do not represent the complete narrative of our country. I’m truly disturbed and disheartened by the latest actions in Tulsa and Charlotte. My heart goes out to the families of Keith Lamont Scott and Terrence Crutcher. However, I do not believe the answer is rioting and violent protesting. I believe the answer lies within the body of Christ coming together in a unified manner to facilitate a movement of reconciliation, healing, and accountability. Until that happens, our country will always be in a position of division because it is void of the presence of God.
I recently asked my oldest son Jaye, who is a junior at Kennesaw State University, how he and his friends felt about all of the events going on in society today. I thought his response was extremely authentic and pure, and would be very appropriate for this blog post. He believes:
“With the recent tragedies involving police brutality and gun violence, it's evident that racial tension has divided America and instilled a sense of distrust between black America and the law. As a representation of black youth, I echo the same frustration. I hate hearing countless stories of people of my color, who share the same background as me, having their lives cut short. I hate subconsciously feeling obligated to tip-toe around my real emotions involving race relations, and it’s also unfortunate we feel overly apologetic for the actions of a few bad seeds when it pertains to our race, like Micah Johnson, who assassinated Dallas cops. His actions are not a direct representation of black America as a whole, just like few racist cops are not the direct representation of white America as a whole.
We must stop using the crutch of stereotypes to shape our perspective on our fellow Americans. It's not possible to co-exist as Americans if we don't trust one another, respect one another, and recognize that there is a serious problem that is crippling our society. We have to start holding each other accountable for our actions. We also have to be sensitive to the circumstances our society deals with on a day to day basis.” – Jaye Wallace
I agree with my son. If we want to truly be ambassadors for Christ and change agendas within our culture, we must choose love and highlight Jesus. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
Here are 5 practical ways you can help your local church navigate through this conversation:
- “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” – John Maxwell. Your leadership must first model transparency and openness before you can engage your local congregation.
- Address the elephant in the room. Admit what you don’t understand, but acknowledge the reality that there are issues that need to be addressed.
- Don’t promote or perpetuate any of the stereotypes shown in the media. This false reality prevents us from moving towards unity.
- Your cultural context determines your perspective. Be willing to broaden your perspective by engaging other ethnic groups by hosting joint events, services, activities, or discussion panels.
- Choose a Christocentric agenda. Have Jesus be seen as the focal point over your political or personal position.