It’s Time for Black Americans to Forgive White People. Or Is It?

By | November 30, 2016

Trouble Ive Seen Book CoverI run this community discussion (moderated) about white racism in America and the white American church, using the book “Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism” (Dr. Drew G. I. Hart, 2016).

We’re in the eighth chapter, and a question came up, offered by one of the participants. (For relevancy but not for exposure, this was asked by a white male in his 50s.)

Why don’t black Americans simply forgive white Americans for their actions? Their bitterness leads to their inability to move on. The Poles forgave the Jews after World War 2. Why can’t black Americans forgive white Americans in a similar way?

Now, I’m honestly not holding this participant up for any kind of ridicule. I think it’s a sincere question coming from someone who wants to know why it is black Americans cannot move past the past. Why do other people in other situations that include great griefs and great offenses seem to be able to reach a place of reconciliation and to reach a place of tolerance and even friendliness if not relationship.

I’m asking for feedback on what you think. If you are a white American Christian, of any age, I’d like to know what you think the answer to that is, and what it stems from.

If you are an American who is a POC (Person of Color), I’d also like to hear your opinions.

I’ll be honest here again—I’m interested in what you think the answers might be, as well as what the unstated presumptions are, because it puzzles me that there is such a great divide between what I think I know to be the answers and what my fellow white Christian Americans state are the answers, answers that do not seem to align with my own in nearly any case.