Racial tensions will naturally run high when a majority refuses to acknowledge “the world is becoming browner” and large numbers of voters rally around a white man “wanting to win back America,” according to pastor and police chaplain Paul Anderson.
Despite a high profile in large churches and national organizations, a graduate degree, civic prominence in Raleigh, N.C., and a highly accomplished family, Anderson knows that in the public eye he is not just “a gentleman” but a “black gentleman.”
That is an important distinction for him and other African Americans because there “are people in law enforcement who still have issues with people of color,” he said.
As the senior volunteer chaplain for the Raleigh police department — whose chief is a black woman — Anderson is a strong advocate for police officers. He conducts a training block for new officers in which he leads discussion about why they want to be in law enforcement, about the sacredness of life and about considerations an officer must make when he or she is confronting people.
Anderson, 54, is president of the Raleigh Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, which conducted an open dialog with the NAACP and Raleigh police at Mount Peace Baptist Church on July 11. It’s important that policemen and women be “peace officers,” preserving and protecting the peace in whatever jurisdiction they serve, he said.
“They’re trying to do their best, but unfortunately, like in ministry, we have some people who are not where they should be,” Anderson said. “Unfortunately, they are the ones getting the lime light.”
Still, speaking as he drove to Charlotte, N.C., to visit his 95-year-old mother for her birthday, Anderson bristled with energy and resentment, thinking of a rash of white police officers killing unarmed black men.
He recounted campaigns for equality and justice from the 1950s and 1960s and said the “unconscionable” things that happened to demonstrators then have “never stopped happening.”
He remembers one of his brothers being arrested by the National Guard while simply walking across campus. Anderson has been pulled over for simply “driving while black.”
Anderson noted the contrast: “When a white man carries a gun in public, he’s just carrying a gun in public. If a black man is carrying a gun in public, he’s getting ready to rob someone.”
“We’re not at the point of civil war. But people seriously need to check their emotions.”
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SOURCE: Baptist News Global