I wonder if I'm only person on the planet who remembers the old talk show “Forgive or Forget”. Basically the show brought two people together, one of which had seriously did wrong by the other, and seeing if the person who got wronged was willing to forgive the other. After some counseling from the host, the decision to reconcile was left up to the person who got wronged (as it should be). If they were willing to get past whatever happened, they would be waiting behind a door on stage for the person; if not, the door would lead to nothing. Looking back I wish more people had seen the show; maybe then they would stop expecting Black people to "forgive" their wrongdoings, when they really want them to forget them.
Take this page image. It took about a day for the police to find Dylann Roof, the terrorist who massacred the innocent people in “Mother Emmanuel”, and take him to Burger King. It took even less time than that for the families of the victims to be rounded up and brought to confront Roof, only for many of them to say how they forgave Roof for his actions. Now I know what most of you are thinking; “What’s your point, Marcus? Aint that good that they forgive him?” Short answer: Hell no! Yes yes, I know that it’s the good, Christian thing to do to forgive your enemies and love them unconditionally, but we have to be 100% honest with ourselves: where has forgiveness gotten us this far?
We were asked to forgive Zimmerman, and he tried to make money off that forgiveness and beat his wife with it. We are asked to forgive people for their racist language (just take your pick) but it just keeps coming, hell some want us to forgive the racist system itself, from its symbols to those who benefit from it. Christians pride themselves on the art of forgiveness; being able to forgive those who have wronged us and show examples of God’s everlasting love to others is (usually) a powerful way to convince others of His goodness. It also frees us up from seeking revenge or carrying its burden with us, which is not in the teachings of Christ. However, these ideas hit a snag when you realize that the people you are forgiving have absolutely no interest in seeing God’s love in you; they can’t even see you as human, let alone a Christ filled being. You then get caught up in another burden: trying harder and harder for the approval of other people by being “more forgiving than thou”. I mean think about it, whenever we see someone not get angry with another person for something they’ve done to them what do we say? “They better than me” or “I’m not there yet”. We’re still competing with others and being envious of their ability, even when we try to pass it off as being “Christ-like”. I’m not a bible scholar, but I don’t think that’s helping the cause.
Neither is constantly forgetting racism. Most of the people who call for “forgiveness” don’t really care if you forgive them or not; they want you to forget what’s happening and go on with business as usual. They want you to say you "forgive" them and go back to buying everything you need from Wal-Mart. They want you to forget and keep spending money on movies, comics and games with nothing but straight white men in them and so on. That’s why racists get so angry at people like Deray and Shaun King who constantly remind you of the wrong being committed by them; they keep business from going on like normal. I mean, why else do you think the government is following these people? Forgetting is what most really want black people to do with racism, that way they won’t have to face the wrongs they’ve done. That’s why “Stop talking about race” and “You’re a reverse racist/race baiter/SJW” are such popular phrases; as long as we don’t forget injustices they people behind them have to deal with them.
You may be saying “Well Marcus it’s not just white people saying this! Black folks say we need to forgive too, they can’t be wanting us to forget what happened!” Try again. As I’ve said before, it’s entirely possible for Black folk to be against other black folk and only want them to be quiet and respectable all the time. It’s also very possible that fear keeps Black people telling each other that we need to “forgive”. I mean think about it, if we didn’t forget we would likely be doing what many of these activists do day in and day out; getting slandered in the media and arrested. Who wants that for their friend? Their family member? Their lover? Many Black people (especially older ones) believe the safest way to live life is to never bring up the wrong that white people do and stay out of their way. For them, this “forgiveness” that is really forgetting is a survival tactic. It makes sense and honestly you cannot be angry that some people just don’t have the fight in them that is required when you decide to stop forgetting wrongdoing..
But for those who do? We must strive for true forgiveness; and it doesn’t come cheap or easy. Another thing I learned from the show “Forgive or Forget” is that the person being forgiven must face the wrong they have done. They can no longer hide from or deny it, they have to own up to it for the other person to forgive them. We must do the same. We have to make white folks, homophobes, misogynists, and everyone else own up to their wrongdoing and realize that they have a part in oppression as well. Simply saying “I forgive you” without making the person realize how bad what they did was is useless; it’s like just beating your kids and never telling them what they did is wrong. They’ll keep doing what they want and just take the (small) beating to do it. True forgiveness does not require the abused party to be quiet or respectable about their pain, but it does require the abuser to hear and actually internalize what the abused is feeling. Only by doing this can we really make progress, and only then could racists expect us to be on the other side of the door, waiting to reconcile.
What do YOU think? Is the forgiveness working or are we really just being tricked into forgetting? Leave your questions, comments & concerns below and don't forget to like, share and subscribe!