My Reflection on the Botham Jean Story

I was reading some posts by white people who seem to understand the systemic nature of racism. I agree with what they were saying. However, I felt like something was missing.

People always get all warm and fuzzy when they see black people forgiving their white perpetrators and yes, we need to forgive. However, that’s the problem. It is all one-sided.

Black people have to forgive.

Black people have to inform white people and prove to them the struggles and issues of racism that black people have to endure every day.

Black people have to protest, advocate and risk much for justice and equity.

Black people have to adapt their lives and be sensitive to the situations they are in constantly.

Black people have to give, give, give with no or little opportunities to receive.

Black people have to convince everyone else that we are worthy, have value and are due dignity, respect, just, and humane treatment.

People were so touched by the brother’s forgiveness yet upset with the mother’s critique. We see this all the time. I wonder if people realize that these collective reactions feel like a slap in our face. Yet again we are told, albeit not verbally, to suck it up and do the right thing. That thing that makes white people feel better and less anxious.

I am a person of peace but I AM TIRED!!!!!!

To those white people who are woke and understand the depths of racism we are dealing with, I say:


You must speak to everyone in your sphere of influence and even create larger networks and start informing everyone and having those hard conversations that are necessary

You must show up in a supportive and encouraging way – physically showing up at rallies and protests, materially showing up by voting for those who will help to dismantle this foundation of racism, whether they are in the party you typically vote for or not

You must risk as much as black people have to risk every day of their lives. Risk your family, your friends, your job, your community for the sake of justice and equity.

Matthew 23:23

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michael Holloway
    Oct 05, 2019 @ 14:35:59

    I appreciate this post very much. I will not pretend to understand what it is like to be continually having to teach us white people how to face the reality of racism. I will do my part, as best I can. I engaged in a long back and forth on Facebook with a friend of mine who is a lawyer who represents police officers. He kept saying the officer was being judged too harshly. I told him this is absurd; SHE SHOT AN UNARMED MAN IN HIS OWN APARTMENT. Also, I believe that had Botham Jean been white, he would be alive today. Racism caused his death (along with her lack of training generally). End of story. One other thought: if Botham Jean had mistakenly gone into her apartment and shot her and got the light sentence she got (let’s say he had a license to carry), there would be white outrage. For sure. Bottom line: I am glad she got convicted; she deserved it. I trust the jury, though. The system worked.


  2. Cindy Ford
    Oct 07, 2019 @ 12:31:26

    There are so many thoughts going on in my head about this. Two black men are now dead (the brave witness who testified at this trial was shot and killed just days ago), one white woman will only be in prison for 10 years (or less), for killing one of these men. We have seen countless black men and women incarcerated for longer periods, for far less serious offenses, and others who are killed before they can ever reach a courtroom. This young man’s forgiveness is admirable and I do not wish to take away from it, but too often, we white folks take these actions of forgiveness as permission to forget the injustice. Too often, black folks must step up and forgive things that should have never happened. Pam, I can feel the exhaustion in your words.


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