Botham, Kanye, and Muffin Tops

Like why, when I share my faith it’s called intolerance
But when they share their hate it’s called scholarship

– Sho Baraka, Kanye, 2009

It was a powerful moment when Brandt Jean forgave and embraced the police officer who murdered his brother.
My Facebook feed exploded with praises and prayers and calls for more radical acts of forgiveness.

Yet, I was a bit troubled by it.
Not by the act of forgiveness.
I don’t want to diminish or demean the courageous and powerful and humbling actions of Brandt Jean.

Part of the uneasiness was how fast the white Christians jumped on to praise Brandt’s courage and testimony (some who didn’t even know how Botham was murdered).
There’s a bit of exploitation happening here.
It’s something that us persons of color have to endure and navigate through in churches — particularly communities of faith where we are minorities.

It’s taking the things that agree or bolsters the majority, all the while ignoring everything else that comes with it.
It’s like looking at a muffin and then just taking the top off and leaving the rest of it behind.

The reason I feel this way is that some of very people who praised Brandt’s powerful act of forgiveness will lose their sh*t if I were to bring up the name “Kaepernick” in their presence.
Colin Kaepernick knelt during the National Anthem as a sign of protest. He was protesting the very thing that got Brandt’s brother, Botham, killed:
Police officers killing unarmed black folx.

Because things like this happen way too often and thankfully, no one was killed.

And look. I know how this can come off as anti-police.
Which, truthfully, is annoying.
I hate the way our culture tries to make everything binary. Things in the world are rarely this or that. We try to over simplify complicated things.
In no way are all police officers evil.
The majority of them don’t want to hurt anyone and most genuinely want to make the community better.
But we need accountability system to keep the few unhealthy ones honest and accountable.
It’s not anti-police to want police to have a system that holds all officers accountable and an outside agency that investigates misconduct.

To praise Brandt’s act of forgiveness yet — yet — can’t forgive Kaepernick for protesting the exact reason of Botham’s death… I don’t know how to process that.

Which sort of brings me to Kanye.
It’s been interesting to see how he’s (generally) widely embraced by the white Christians and the Christians of color are … wary.
Look, he is what he is: a prosperity gospel preacher.
He’s not that different from the Duplantises and Princes of the televangelist world — except he has street cred.

But all those (white) people fawning over Kanye never say much about Propaganda, Lecrae, Sho Barak, or even Kendrick Lamar.

Lecrae gained the ire of white Christians because he had the gall to post his truth:

Please take 6 minutes to watch this work by Propaganda

Or the song at the beginning by Sho Baraka.
And why black history always start with slavery
So even when I’m learning they still putting them chains on me

Because, they don’t fit into the colonialism narrative.
Sometimes, the best minorities are the ones that shut up and go along with the majority.
Even in churches that have the best intentions.
I know I’m not the only Christian of color that — when we bring up racial/equality/equity it’s often met with at best, uncomfortable shifting; at medium, eye rolls; at worst, annoyance and accusations “ugh, why do you always have to bring up race? We’re all colorblind here. You’re the only one that sees color.”

Like all Christians: Kanye will do good and Kanye will do some damage. Kanye will be Kanye.
He’ll love Kanye above all else.
He’ll refer to himself as God’s Greatest Creation.
He’ll sell his church’s apparel for ridiculous amount of money.
Maybe he’ll go through with the name change and legally be Christian Genius Billionaire Kanye West — because that exudes servanthood.

On the same side of the coin, Kanye will do things like this:

The thing that will remain consistent is that Kanye will be Kanye.
Don’t be too surprised (or upset) if he goes outside of the white evangelical narrative that so eagerly wants a token.

I think that’s what gets to me at the end.
It’s like persons of faith who are all about reconciliation.
Yet. You can’t have reconciliation without justice.
But justice is a stickier issue; justice makes people uncomfortable; justice makes things “too political.”
We just want the muffin top without the entire muffin.
And if you watched Seinfeld, you’d know that the muffin top without the rest of the muffin is no good.

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