For Black People Only
A black man told me a joke. The joke was an ironic commentary.
It was: “The black man is in jail waiting for justice. The
black woman is in church waiting for Jesus.” I said, “Yes,
and do you know what the difference is? Jesus is going to
come. Jesus will come before justice does”
My experience has been God does not fail. However, man
does and the system is made of people. The Book of Jeremiah
says that we should put our trust in God and not in the
“deceptive words to no avail,” (Jeremiah 8:7 RSV).
The system is run by people and people are handicapped
by human nature. Men of every race have wicked hearts
and to rely on their words and systems as a working way out,
is naive. The systems often promise idealistic abstractions that
it is not within the capacity of flesh to deliver.
Every system in every country promises noble abstractions
that may turn out to be worthless. The trouble is abstractions
are promised but real people have to deliver them. There’s the
rub. All those wonderful ideal abstractions that are
promised often boil down to the formation of a bureaucracy
to interpret and implement the abstractions. These
interpreters and implementers then become an insensitive
bureaucracy that costs a lot to deliver a little.
The various systems of the world promise abstractions
that are to be delivered through a bureaucracy and its employees.
The bureaucratic employees will finally become another ruling
nobility that is insensate and insincere and unforgivably slow.
The truth is that about one half the time
(I did not say all the time) the abstractions given the people
like “justice,” the “people,” “rights,” are just clap trap
words that get people’s hope up to let them down as they
did in Russia after the Tsar.
Do you think I mean only foreign lands? Of course I
don’t. When you go to court in America you may get
a “plea” bargain that means you plead guilty to something
you didn’t do. Is that justice? No, in those cases justice
is the clap trap word. Often slowness in justice makes it
a clap trap word talked about but not really there.
I would suggest where justice is talked, an injustice
will soon be.
For example; have you tried to get social security disability
for anyone? I have seen dying cancer patients, people in terrible
pain, refused a social security disability. The young mother
dying, the young man of thirty in terrible pain from arthritis is not old enough. Nonsense. Did you know you had to be older to merit
compassion? Does pain have an age that it cannot be felt?
The American poor have no adequate medical care! And
some of you tell me you are waiting for justice. Justice
is far too lofty a goal to even bring up! Jesus! Blessed
Jesus! I wait for the coming of common decency. This applies
not just to blacks but to whites also in many cases.
If there is to be justice, it must be brought in by soul-force,
working for it, always non-violently, knowing
the hearts of men, justice isn’t just going to blow
in on its own. Justice is a good abstract word to sling
around in a political debate, but, as I have shown,
it is an empty promise unless you make it take on
real meaning. The laws were nice, meaningless abstractions
on the books until Dr. King gave them teeth through
a non-violent movement. The abstractions may be there,
but you have to work to make them real as Dr. King did.
He made the abstraction, equality, real through
non-violent soul force.
God as I have known Him is a Spiritual Personality to
enjoy a relationship with. We are handicapped but He is true,
aided by His invisibility. He works through others.
He moves within a framework of laws ordering this world
physically as well as natural laws ordering this world
But the people who have worked with Him in and
from every generation, race and class have found
God is real and does not fail, although the end you want
may not be the end He wants. Therefore I feel safe in saying
Jesus will one day come. When He does, there
will be still be those waiting for justice from wretchedly
ineffective systems of justice and compassion.
But remember the churches are often but not always
the insensate bureaucracies of God. The church
can turn into just another wretched and fallen system.
that has happened before. The Book of Jeremiah will show
you that. But you need a direct relationship with that
Spiritual Personality who is God and who is available
to us. Scripture witnesses to God’s existence as do many
others. In saying so I am only one of a vast
number. As the Apostle noted, there are clouds of
Black men are said to be particularly disgusted with the
system. Let us give credit where credit is due. Very many
white people are too. There is an army of people of all
races disgusted with the emptiness and craziness of our
collapsing system. They just don’t know what to do.
My thought is the answer has to be non-violent and spiritual
evolution, not violent revolution, that makes non-constructive
Very often younger black men as well as younger white
men have turned to varieties of dope as a soothing medicine
for the anger they feel. Unfortunately dope and crime are
very self-destructive and tend to worsen an already bad
social situation. It sends the message: “if treated unfairly,
I will commit self-destructive behavior that is just another
name for suicide.” How does this profit anyone except the
dope dealers? Don’t you realize that delights the people
who hold a race or class in contempt? They then know
how to press your button to get self-destructive suicidal
behavior! The wicked hearts of white sadists will press
that button night and day. Bet on it! Live right if for
no reason than to spite them. Living right is the best
revenge a black man can have. It is also the most soul-satisfying. The most God satisfying.
Do not forget the black person has one great social advantage going
for him. It is the black Protestant churches. Does anyone think
for one minute the white churches could have organized and
carried through a successful non-violent civil rights movement?
No, the black churches worked together to organize their members
non-violently to be social saviors.
Black churches have a heritage of social progress that is higher
than many. Non-violence as introduced by the very great Dr. King
is a concept the nations of the world must incorporate after
hundreds of years of seething violence and viewing war and
massacre as the answer to questions. Violence is not the way.
Also the white people are giving up their once proud morality and
Christian heritage in droves. They are entering into single
families and step families, illegitimacy, giving up their
old Protestant work ethic. Renouncing morality as past and
spirituality as non-existent and dead while substituting
a variety of dope for God. Dope not God is the new way to
But you say, so what? Blacks have been
deep into some of this immoral behavior
for years. Yes, but you don’t understand. For many poor
black people this behavior represented a phase in the
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.