What I Need from You Right Now: An Appeal to America by a White Father of Black Sons

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This is not as much a political post as a personal piece.

Today is a sad and confusing day for me. I sit stunned by the surprising news that Trump won the Presidential election last night. This news has stirred in me both sadness and anger. I am in protective parent mode. As a white father of black sons, I fear the racist influence that may increase in this country, infecting and emboldening others with hateful, hurtful lies.

Initially, I felt repelled from my friends who voted for a racist President. I was torn by the fact that many who voted for Trump love Christ like I do. As a white father of black sons, I am indignant. Yet, I am also aware of the destructive potential of the emotional cocktail brewing in my heart. If I’m not careful, I will lash out with the same attitudes I renounce. Not attacking violently, but verbally. In spite of this internal battle, I refrain from reacting in revenge, knowing that such responses never build up the kingdom God wants to create through me.

I have some requests though. As a father of black sons, I need a few things from you.

What I need from you right now is….

Understanding, not defensiveness.

Empathy, not fact checking.

Compassion, not condemnation.

What I need from you right now is this: That you would mourn with those who mourn. That you would take a moment to imagine how this political news affects those oppressed by prejudice. That you would step inside the mind of a parent who fears the future maltreatment of their children. My wife and I face such fears, now more than ever. We are not alone in this.

Most of all, what I need from you right now is that, regardless of your political views, you don’t give hatred a foothold in your heart. If our new President incites injustice, stand for what is right. If his rhetoric reinforces racism, resist with love. Regardless of the leanings of our new leader, don’t align with attitudes that demean and divide.

I will work hard not to retaliate against racism in the ways I denounce. I will not let my anger disunite me from others. I will work hard to love all people, even those whose votes may cause my family undeserved suffering. In the words of Martin Luther King, “I have decided to stick with love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

-By Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C

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3 thoughts on “What I Need from You Right Now: An Appeal to America by a White Father of Black Sons

  1. Grant

    My story with racism goes back to childhood days, when I was the recipient of real racism, not words, but bodily harm again and again. Whippings by wet towels in the gym locker room by gangs of black students. Sucker punches knocking me out and laying me flat, by a black student, for doing nothing other than walking to class minding my own business. Beat up by gangs of blacks at my locker. In the City of Oakland. And yet when our family moved away, I became best friends with the only black student in my new high school. How does this happen? Because you see, when someone else is racist or speaks racist things, that does not incite racism in return. It didn’t in me. Saying such things seems to take away the responsibility each person has to control their own choices. It is like saying people are mere sheep, when actually, we are all individuals with personal accountability.

    So I read your concerns over Trump here, calling him a racist that makes you super concerned, and you bring up blacks and MLK etc., and I am at a loss to remember anything that Trump ever said about blacks that was racist in any way? Can you give some example of that?
    Also, as far as Latinos are concerned, I am at a loss to remember some specific example where Trump denigrated all Latinos? I understand he spoke of illegal entry, and we all know that is a very specific and small percentage of all Latinos who are in the USA. So how is this racism to call out what HE thought was a concern over illegal entry? and his generalizing about the relative lawlessness of those crossing the border? It is lawless, so how is this racism? Are we restricted from speaking the truth about people, because those people might CONFLATE the criticism as racism?

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    1. Grant, I am so sorry to hear about the abuse you experienced growing up. I also agree that we are responsible for our own choices. I do believe that having an appointed leader who has made racist remarks can embolden those who are also racist. Here’s one link on Trumps’ racism (included in the original article – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-racist-examples_us_56d47177e4b03260bf777e83). Also, I do not think it is a coincidence that Trump has made picks for his upcoming team that have racist histories – http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/15/us/politics/donald-trump-presidency.html?_r=0. I am concerned about all of this, as a father of black sons, as a Christian, and as an America citizen.

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  2. Teri Stevens

    Did you see this? I love the MLK quote:

    “I have decided to stick with love . . . . Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

    Love you,

    Teri

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

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