I am not a black man. I cannot know what you must have thought when you watched me cross to the other side of the street after seeing you coming my way. I am not a black man; I cannot know how I made you feel.
You are not a white man. You cannot know why I felt compelled to cross the street after seeing you. You cannot understand my despair. Because I cannot understand it.
I am not a black man. I cannot know your fear when you saw a police officer approaching you, knowing you had done nothing wrong, not knowing what the next moments may bring.
You are not a white man. You cannot understand the relief that came over me when I saw the same police officer walking down that street, walking towards you. I knew you had done nothing wrong. But I knew that the next few moments would safely carry me off this dark street, carry me away from you. But you are not a white man, so you cannot understand my eagerness to flee.
We were on the same street in the same town at the same time.
You are a black man...I do not know your name.
I am a white man...you do not know my name.
So what do we do now?
We are different. Not just the color of our skin, it is more than that. The world wants to tell us that all is equal and all is fair, but you and I both know that is not true. Because we are different. We come from different places and different pasts. Our futures are different, because you are black and I am white. Yet the world says, all is equal... all is fair.
So what do we do?
I could try to understand how you feel. But I am not a black man, so my understanding would only be imagined. You could try to understand how I think. But you are not a white man…another masquerade would prevail.
So what now?
We are different. Let us understand that.
We come from the same God. Let us understand Him.
We walk on the same soil, the soil of a country blessed by God, bought by blood, the blood of blacks, whites and so many others. A country healed by understanding.
Christ Jesus razed a path for you and I to walk. He shoved aside prejudice and in its place he sat good will. He kicked away fear and in its place he offered comfort. He took hatred to the cross and in its place he showed us love.
You and I could walk this path with Him. We would forget our fears and prejudices, our differences and our hatreds. We could talk about our pasts and hope for our futures. I would tell you about my children and you tell me about yours. We could make plans for our families, our town, our country. We could rejoice and sing songs lifting Him on high...
But the street is not the path.
The street is dark.
You are on one side; I am on the other.
I am not a black man. You are not a white man.
So what do we do now?