Let’s fight this injustice but there must be a better way — Afrika Mhlophe

Christian activist Bevelyn Beatty dumps paint on a Black Lives Matter in front of Trump Tower in New York City (PHOTO: Reuters/ israelnationalnews.com)

In America, we see what others might call a cathartic response in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. Americans of all ethnicities have taken to the streets to demand justice and an end to police brutality. Floyd’s death has struck something deep within the psyche of many people around the world, especially those who have suffered centuries of racial oppression.

Other people are quick to trivialise this issue by reminding us that “all lives matter”. They forget the fact that the prefix and descriptor “black” is meant to draw attention to the unique struggle faced by black people. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement exists as a result of this struggle. It was formed in 2013 following the acquittal of a white man for the fatal shooting of an unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Martin’s killing took place 50 years after Dr Martin Luther King Jr gave his iconic speech I have a Dream. King’s dream was for people not to be judged by their skin colour but by the content of their character. Some people think BLM, which has since become global, is an answer to this dream.

But this organisation has morphed into something more than what King had envisioned. Melina Abdullah, the co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter, recently revealed that it took her almost a year before she realised that BLM was “much more than a racial and social justice movement. At its core, it’s a spiritual movement”.

Abdullah and some demonstrators were recently involved in rituals where they recited the names of “those taken by state violence before their time — ancestors now being called back to animate their own justice”. Religion News reports that after each name “Abdullah poured libations on the ground as the group in return chanted ‘Asé’ “. The Yoruba term is “often used by practitioners of Ifa, a faith and divination system that originated in West Africa”.

In the same article, the organisation’s overall co-founder, Patrisse Cullors, is quoted as saying that she wasn’t raised with honouring ancestors. “As I got older and started to feel like I was missing something, ancestral worship became really important,” she said. On their website, BLM state one of their objectives is to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another”. They also aim to free themselves “from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking”.

The New York Post recently published an article referring to a newly-surfaced video from 2015. In it, Patrisse Cullors said that she and her organisers are “trained Marxists”.

Some Christians have the same view of Karl Marx as they do of the BLM. They think of him as someone who was only motivated by the idea of an egalitarian world. This means that those who want to co-opt such Christians into a demonic agenda simply have to hide behind the banner of equality. It is as if Paul’s warning regarding the Devil’s trick to masquerade is not being heeded by today’s believers.

Thankfully, not every black American is lining up to imbibe monolithic thinking. I recently watched a video featuring Bevelyn Beatty, an American woman who recently made a name for herself when she was videoed defacing a Black Lives Matter mural painted on the street outside the Trump Tower in Manhattan.

During this act, Beatty was heard saying: “They want to defund the police for black people. They are lying. No, we’re not standing with Black Lives Matter. We want our police. Refund our police!”

She said this in response to BLM’s main rallying cry — to defund the police. According to her bio, Beatty is a pro-life activist, evangelist, and co-founder of At the Well Ministries. She recorded a follow-up video with the caption: “If you support BLM, you hate black people, Jesus, and yourself.” In it, she called the BLM hypocritical because they ignore more significant issues facing black Americans — such as fatherlessness and the fact that hundreds of black men die as victims of black-on-black crime.

In contrast, only about nine black men died in the hands of the police in 2019. Beatty had harsh words for American Christians who are eager to protest for black lives but show scant regard for the 675 000 African Americans aborted yearly.

Now let me personalise this. I am a follower of Christ who happens to have a “black accoutrement”. I face a dilemma between right-wing capitalist exploitation and left-wing totalitarian Marxist ideology. I have faced racism and still do, and yet I keep imagining that it is possible to confront it without being blind to other evils brought on by organisations like BLM.

I refuse to accept that the tradeoff for racial equality should be my loyalty and relationship with God. There must be a better way.

8 Comments

  1. Well written Africa and I agree with your thoughts on it should not be a trade off of our Christian beliefs – the one or the other. May God grant us wisdom to be part of the solution honoring him and not part of the problem.

  2. As followers of Jesus Christ, we do not go left or right; or choose the mediocre center. The way is the radical alternative of laying down our lives to serve all through love that He demonstrates by His life and example, even the cross.

  3. Thanks for this Afrika.

    On the one hand I support BLM as a ‘message’. And that message is that black people ( all shades of black) have and still suffer from different forms of racism and inequality in SA – this needs to be intentionally addressed and rooted out of our institutions and organizations.
    On the other hand, the BLM “Movement” in the USA, appears to be pursuing a questionable agenda, – as clarified in your article.
    As a Christian, I’m not prepared to “sell my soul” to a Movement for the sake of populasim, pleasing sponsors and being politically correct-as many seem to be doing.
    Thomas Jefferson once said – “In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock”.

  4. Well said I fully agree with Africa as Christians we are a new creation in Christ Jesus old things have passed away.

  5. Thank you, Afrika, for another incisive article. I saw another take on “BLM”: “Black Lives Matter” – it also stands for “Baby Lives Matter”, protesting abortion. I can easily support anti-racist and anti-abortion slogans and programmes, but suggest that a better allegiance would be to “BLJ” – “Becoming like Jesus”. A positive message that embraces every worthy slogan, and eliminates every unworthy practice. (But of course it is not so newsworthy!)

  6. Africa, You are exactly correct in your standpoint. In fact, your relationship and loyalty to God is exactly the road to take. The fact is that if there is anything good, there are those who use it for evil and Black Lives Matter is a case in point, a great pity, but such is the nature of man. In the meantime, we need to take Jeremiah 6:16 to heart where thy Lord says
    “Stand in the ways and see,
    And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it;
    Then you will find rest for your souls”.
    I challenge you to do a word study on three words; faith, hope and patience, and if you don’t come right I will send you the teaching.
    Brother be strong and know that change is really coming. In the meantime just be encouraged.
    Blessings and Shalom Aleichem

  7. I just love the slogan “BLJ”.
    Becoming like Jesus is a simple solution all humanity should adopt that will solve all our problems.
    Pastor Africa thank you for the information.

  8. Right wing capitalist exploitation verses Left wing totalitarian Marxist ideology. Wow ! Please explain what you mean in simple words. Then I could better understand what you are getting at. I suspect that to be a Capitalist and a Christian is possible but to be have a Marxist ideology and be a Christian is not possible.
    Please correct me if you think i am wrong, and why. You can get my e mail from ANDRE if you wish.