Is Racism Worse Than Murder?

We probably wouldn’t know Ahmaud Arbery’s name if he hadn’t been killed by two white people. When black people are victims of alleged murder, our reactions are often measured by the skin colour of the perpetrators.

When the level of outrage over injustices against black people is precipitated by the level of melanin in the perpetrator’s skin, what does that say about us? What does that say about what we think about racism and murder?

Last week, Black Lives Matter became a trending topic on Twitter for the first time in 3 years after the release of the horrific Ahmaud Arbery video. However, over the last three years, 8,000 black Americans were murdered by other black Americans—and though more than half of these murders remain unsolved—Black Lives Matter didn’t become a trending topic on Twitter for even one of these thousands of victims.

Victims of black-on-black crime tend to be irrelevant black murder victims to us. The skin colour of their killers do not give many people the opportunity to virtue signal. Their names do not trend on social media for several days. Their names only appear briefly in local news and local newspapers.

However, at least they have a name—at least their murders get mentioned in our local news. There is a group of black murder victims whose lives matter even less to our society—black pre-born babies.

Black pre-born babies are considered the most irrelevant black murder victims in our society, and naturally, black pre-born babies are the biggest victims of murder in America.

Over the last three years, in-between the last time Black Lives Matter was a trending topic on social media in 2017 and last week—1,000 black people were killed by white people, 8,000 black people were killed by other black people, and 1 million black pre-born babies were killed by abortion.

Therefore, why is the least prevalent type of alleged murder against black people the most protested in our society?

I think it’s largely because many of us hate racism more than we hate murder. Too often, it seems like the only injustice against black people that we think is worthy of our attention is racial discrimination. Therefore, we continue to be apathetic about the alarming rates of black-on-black murders and abortion.

If Ahmaud Arbery’s killers were black—if Ahmaud Arbery’s killers were black men who hated him because he was a member of a rival gang, his name wouldn’t trend on social media. The only kind of sinful hatred that seems to grieve us is racism.

But racism is just one of many ways we refuse to love our neighbours. Racism is just one of many types of hatred. You and I are guilty of the same sin racists commit: hatred.

If I hate my neighbour because of his height, I’m just like a racist. If I hate my neighbour because of his political views, I’m just like a racist. If I hate my neighbour for any reason, I’m just like a racist.

In fact, if I hate my neighbour because he might be a racist, he and I share the same sin.

When we understand racism from a theological perspective, we’ll know white people who unjustly kill black people are no different than black people who unjustly kill other black people. A Black person who hates another Black person for any reason is no different than a White racist.

And we need to remember every murder is produced by hatred and anger. In fact, the Bible says: “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer (1 John 3:15).

Therefore, we shouldn’t be selectively outraged over certain types of hatred and murder over others. We need to humbly and lovingly confront hatred and murder wherever they happen—in our streets, at abortion centres, or in our hearts.

The post Is Racism Worse Than Murder? appeared first on Slow To Write.

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Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

The post A Plague of Giants appeared first on Elitist Book Reviews.

The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

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