Evangelicals & Meritocracy
There has never been a more advantageous time to be an African American in American since the days of Reconstruction.
This statement is a truism along the lines that water is wet, and the Sun will rise in the East and set in the West tomorrow like clockwork. Yet, when I made what I believe to be a pretty obvious observation, you would not believe the howls of protest I get on a regular basis.
What I find so troubling are the howls of vehement protest that come from the very African Americans who have put in the hard work and reach the advanced level in their chosen profession. My fraternity (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.) has a long and hallowed history of men accomplishing incredible historical feats. Men like Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr (Civil Rights), Thurgood Marshall (Supreme Court Justice), Paul Robeson (Civil Rights & Drama), Duke Ellington (Legendary Jazz Musician), & John Johnson (Founder of Johnson Publishing), W.E. Dubois (Civil Rights).
Of course, I could recite many other names, and I will not fail to recognize very prominent men from the other African American fraternities and the accomplishment of men who have not pledged a fraternity. However, my main point is my fraternity brothers who dispute my thesis only do so at the expense of not being taken seriously. The evidence is too overwhelming.
In recent days I have seen my college roommate become the second African American General in the entire history of Illinois. I have seen a member of my college chapter become the first African American President of Louisiana State University, one of the premier schools in the nation. I have seen another member of my fraternity become an accomplished author and well respected in his chosen field of vocation.
My very own younger biological brother (who also happens to be my fraternal brother) celebrated his promotion to a newly created position because of his excellence in his company. Yet, all I hear from far too many are incessant cries of systemic racism, systemic racism, and systemic racism. I hear it in almost every conversation when the conversation addresses the subject of race. No matter how much achievement we see occur, the battle cry remains cries of racism.
Now, for the umpteenth time (yet I know not for the last time), I readily acknowledge racism still exists. News flash: RACISM will always exist. It will always exist as long as humans are human, and Jesus Christ has yet to return. Thus, racism will remain part and parcel of the human, flawed project just like all the other isms, i.e., sexism, ageism, antisemitism, colonialism, to name just a few of the maladies associated with living in a severely fallen world.
My primary angst is the dissension overwhelmingly comes from men who posit faith in Jesus Christ. I would submit there is a significant cognitive dissonance when individuals posit their allegiance to the Lordship of Jesus Christ yet lament about the woes of racism. The very same Jesus Christ who is the Second Person of the Triune God. The very same Jesus Christ who arose on the third day after His death and triumphantly declared God the Father had granted Him all powers, both in Heaven and upon the Earth. The very same Jesus Christ who the writer of the Epistle of Hebrews reveals ever lives as our Great High Priest.
My frustration is how do people claim to be following Jesus Christ yet major in crying woe is me. Jesus Christ promises He will be with us until the end of the age. Still, far too many Evangelicals spend so much time and energy lamenting about the proverbial Man or sometimes derisively referred to as the White Man.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, my angst is why would I fixate on external obstacles that really serve as no fundamental obstacle to my flourishing as God has ordained for my life. In the final analysis, barriers may be real, or they may be imagined, but when adopting an Evangelical-grounded worldview and grounded in the Word, Evangelicals would not care one iota about anything external forces. A grounded Evangelical would awake every day expressing supreme confidence that whatever Christ has ordained for them will necessarily come to pass. They would heartily proclaim and affirm what Job affirmed when Job said,
Then Job answered the LORD and said:
2 "I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?'
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
4'Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.'
5I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
6therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes."
So, here we have God inspiring the author of the Book of Job to reveal God can do all things and that no purpose of God can be thwarted. As a committed Evangelical country boy from Mississippi, I seek to take God at His Word. I believe nothing and no one can block what God has just for me. I just published a book, and I will achieve whatever my blood, sweat, and tear afford me based on my merits. Of course, the chief consideration for my success will be God’s Will, but humanly speaking, none of my destiny is adversely impacted by any actions of any mere mortal or even any of the Adversary’s minions.
What about these other non-biblical truisms:
If God be for me, He is more than the world against me!
God plus me make a majority!
Your arms are too short to box with God!
What about this declaration from the veritable Word of God:
He who sits in the heaven laughs; the Lord holds them in derision (Psalm 2:4)
These are just some of the expressions that quickly come to mind I have heard and used through the years. These expressions reflect the confidence believers heartily express ubiquitously in their regular Christian speak, but it appears it is all bluster with no real substance to their daily living.
Many, especially many in the African American community, lauded Al Sharpton (I refuse to refer to him as Reverend) for his eloquence at the George Floyd trial. However, I submit there was no Gospel at any point during Sharpton's eulogy, and Sharpton did or said nothing to advance the name of Jesus Christ. For every Derek Chauvin (and I deplore Chauvin's reprehensible conduct, full stop), a thousand African American miscreants create far more danger in the African American community than any handful of racist cops could ever do.
When will the African American influencers hold a press conference addressing the African American on African American criminal pathology that takes place on a daily basis? When will the average African American quit their lazy thinking and look inward instead of upon external options that do not really affect the day-to-day life of the African American community?
It is astonishing when African Americans like Candace Owens, Dr. Carol Swain, or Terry Crews dare express an opinion that does not align with the talking points of organizations like BLM. Yet, many chose to vilify these Conservative African Americans' voices as if the entire African American community is a monolithic voice. As if the Bible mandates that every African American align themselves with the ideologies of the Democratic Party.
I reject Affirmative Action because it has not worked. Instead, I advocate Meritocracy because it levels the playing field for all. I advocate School Choice because it allows the free market to control access to quality education. Finally, I advocate the necessity of Personal Agency because the American Dream flourishes best when every American rises or falls based primarily on the merits of their efforts.
I posit Frederick Douglas struck the exact right chord when he so famously uttered these words:
Everybody has asked the question,” Frederick Douglass said in an 1865 speech, “‘What should we do with the Negro?’ I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall. . . . And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs.
In conclusion, I desire only for my peers to judge me solely on the merits of my contribution. If I rise, then to God be the glory. If I fall then, let me fall. If I fall or fail, it only confirms to me that my pursuit was not the Will of God. That would not be the end of the world. In fact, as a grounded Evangelical, it would only signal that God has something else in store for me. Something that will most certainly but for His glory and my good.
The one thing I must not do is give Satan too much credit that he can block God’s blessings for me. You see, if the Holy Scriptures retains its rightful position in an Evangelical worldview, then the Evangelical would remember the Word when it says
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[a]) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Again, racism is alive and well on Planet Earth. No one should ever dispute that reality. Racism will remain part and parcel of the human enterprise until Jesus Christ returns to establish His rule upon the Earth. Evangelicals should and must lead the way to address and combat racism whenever and wherever it is found with all of the resources the Body of Christ can bring to bear.
Yet, it is high time the African American community ceases with the overemphasis of racism as the root cause of the pathology in the African American community. I posit the African American community would be wiser to address the 77% fatherless rate in the African American home. I posit the vexing issue is not racist police or systemic racism. The vexing problem is African Americans accounting for more than 35% of all abortions in American, but African American females only making up 6% of the U.S. population. The malady in the African American community is the African American-on-African American murder rate is three times the rate for Caucasian-on-Caucasin and Hispanics-on-Hispancis murder rate combined.
As always, let me know what you think. But, until then, keep your hands to plow and seek to serve for an Audience of One.