There is a logical reason that little reasonable debate can challenge the following assertion, ‘When it comes to forgiving whites for their unbridled and unprovoked attacks against them, African-Americans are the most forgiving population in the world.’
In fact, it seems that there is a segment of Black America that is overly eager to forgive whites regardless of their offense. This eagerness to forgive white folk for the evil that they do has led our people to offer forgiveness before the evil-doer asks for forgiveness. One only needs to look at the case of Charleston, South Carolina, shooter Dylan Roof; an individual who has never expressed regret or a modicum of remorse regarding his actions, yet many African-Americans have seemingly fallen over themselves offering forgiveness that he has absolutely no interest in receiving.
This well-worn pattern of African-Americans ranging from the victims of racist attacks to our so-called community leaders resurfaced with the case of Rachel Steigerwald, one of the six white female students at Desert Vista High School. Mrs. Steigerwald emerged to ask the nation for forgiveness regarding her role in a widely circulated photo that showed her and five of her classmates spelling out the racial epithet “NI**ER” during their senior picture day.
Although many within our community have applauded Mrs. Steigerwald’s request for forgiveness and participation in a local civil rights rally that was ironically occurring as a result of her deplorable actions. During the rally, Steigerwald stepped forward to reiterate that she was not a racist and had “…come here to say that I am incredibly, incredibly sorry. I have love for everyone in my heart. I am not a racist and I’m asking everyone for forgiveness.”
Predictably, Mrs. Steigerwald is not alone in her apologies as a Maryland teenager ridiculed for the production of a video disparaging the Black Lives Matter movement has received similar treatment.
During the aforementioned 30-second video the young man, who is a student at Mt. Hebron High School in Ellicott City voiced his feelings on many racial matters such as “who the ^$@$ cares about some black man who dies?…they are an inferior race, OK?” The video ends with the white male holding up a five-dollar bill displaying Abraham Lincoln, ‘the great emancipator,’ whom he characterized as a traitor to white folk.
Predictably, once his actions were made public, this young man, in a blatant attempt to save himself from pending punishment from school administrators stated via social media, “I am learning from this mistake and hope to gain forgiveness from those who I hurt with my words.”
If I could advise each of these offenders, I would tell them that they are wasting their time asking African-Americans for forgiveness because Black America’s eagerness to forgive those who do harm is so great that they forgive the moment that the offense occurred. This segment of our community operates from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., inspired position that ‘the best thing that you can make out of an enemy is a friend.’ However, it is imperative that whites understand that African-Americans are not a monolithic population and there is, therefore, another segment of our population that will never excuse such behavior and are extremely interested in doling out an appropriate punishment for such occurrences.
It is that community that has taken the prominent Abolitionists Frederick Douglass’ words that “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will” to heart. Rest assured that there is a large segment of Black America who is incapable of forgiving those who have done their people harm. These individuals follow Malcolm X’s admonishment that the only prayer they should issue in regards to their enemy is one asking the Lord to give them the strength to kill you for the evil that you do.