Black slave overseer, torturing a fellow slave in front of the man's family

Imitating The Enemy: Do Black Men Hate Each Other?—Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas

The Apostle John warned us about the importance of unity—with Christ and each other. 

If we are not united to Christ, we can’t be united with each other. 

Jesus himself even warns us in Matthew 10:34 that following him will bring division. But that division should be between those who follow Him and those who don’t. Believers should be unified among themselves—especially the men who are supposed to be leading households, tribes, and nations. 

That’s our greatest sin: Too many Black men reject Christ. Because of this, we reject loyalty to our families and to each other.

This divided attitude has triggered generations of broken families and cultural destruction. Our history of rejecting God goes back to the slave trade, or even to Deuteronomy, depending on your views about our ancestral heritage. 

It’s amazing that the colonists from Europe were from different countries and cultures: Portugal, Spain, France, England, the Netherlands. They didn’t even speak the same language, yet they had enough unity to colonize half the planet for over 4 centuries.

Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu, author of Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys

“…80% of the world’s population has color. That means only 20% of the world’s population lacks color…We’re only a minority when we allow ourselves to be divided up from our brothers and sisters in Nigeria, in Jamaica, and in the United States…Now, the question is how can so small control so much? That’s why I respect them so much. Think about it. If you have a gang, you have one gang with 80 people, and another gang with 20. And the 20 gonna win? The only way they can do that is by controlling the mind…”

— Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu, 1987 lecture on his book Countering The Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys

This is what we’re up against. 

If Black men don’t build an unbreakable solidarity with Christ, with our wives, and with each other, then we’ll continue to be the underdog on everything that gives a man stability — wealth building, family structure, and spiritual strength.

Our history shows a pattern of how this division among Black men has played out:

1. We exploit each other

David St. Vincent gave an excellent synopsis of this in his article on Medium, titled  The Original Sin Of Men With Black Skin. Read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt: 

“…The evil enterprise of the trans-Atlantic slave trade could never have existed if men with black skin had not sold other men with black skin to men with white skin. So any “stealing” “kidnapping” and “tearing” was an inside job… Getting real about that fact is our first step in taking total responsibility for eliminating every vestige of slavery that African Americans are stained by to this very day…While Europe grew richer and more powerful, Africa depleted and demoralized its own most valuable resource: It’s people. African monarchs and tribal chiefs weakened themselves by literally selling out the people…So what in the hell happened? How did these fabulous kings and queens, and mighty chiefs and brave warriors fall under the thumb of their inferior neighbors to the north? How is that possible? There is only one way: fratricide. The killing of one’s own brother or sister.”

African traffickers received 40 slaves in exchange for this umbrella.

These Black men were human traffickers of their own people, in what is modern-day West Africa. They didn’t exchange people for wealth-building assets like land, raw materials, or water sources. Africa already had plenty of that. They sold people for worthless gift-shop trinkets:

  • 40 slaves for an umbrella (like in the picture)
  • 10 slaves for a ceramic pot
  • 40 slaves for a small cannon gun (so you can capture more people)
  • 100 slaves for a big cannon gun (so you can capture a lot more people) 
  • 20 slaves for a mirror
  • 10 slaves for coral beads
  • One man sold his wife and child for a two bottles of gin

They so loved these scavenger whatnots from white people, that they were willing to destroy their own people for them. Proverbs warns us:

Do not envy the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.
— Proverbs 3:31

Ezekiel 23 gives a graphic warning of the type of annihilation this envy can cause. Go read it and notice the similarities to Black people’s history.

This carried over to the plantation. Sociologist E Franklin Frazier recounts all the divisions that enslaved Black men created—or complied with—during slavery, even when they outnumbered the white population. This was written in his epic book about the looming crisis for black families called The Negro Family in the United States, written in 1939:

  • House slave vs. field slave
  • Full-blooded black vs. mulatto vs. quadroon
  • Slave for a rich family vs. slave for a poor family
  • Married to slave woman of a rich family vs. married to slave woman of a poor family
  • Literate vs. illiterate
  • Slave for skilled labor (tailor, shoemaker, etc) vs slave for unskilled labor (cotton picking)
  • Methodist vs. Baptist vs. Presbyterian
  • Americanized vs fresh off the boat

The Europeans must have laughed at how easy this whole colonization thing was. 

Even today, Christ-following Black men tear each other down and break fellowship with each other over dumb things like denominations, social status, fraternities, and doctrines that aren’t even mission-critical for salvation. 

2. We keep the divisive mindset going

John Berry Meachum, who this ministry is named for, also called out our tendency towards internal conflict in his guidance for Black men coming out of slavery in 1847, instructions that still apply today.

John Berry Meachum urged Black Men coming out of slavery about division and the need for unity

I ask the reader, if it would not be to the glory of God for us to endeavor to train up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? Then, if you think so, let us feel it a duty enjoined upon every son and daughter of our race, to endeavor to become united, that we may throw our mites together, and have schools in every state and county where the free children are in large numbers. How can this be done, unless we come together as a band of united brethren, and make agreement that we will no longer stand in opposition one against the other, but that our hearts and souls shall be united together. The principle that we have been living under is the old African principle, kingdom against kingdom, and nation against nation. Let every colored citizen wage war against that old African principle that was the means of throwing the first colored man on the American soil. Will you hold that principle any longer that has been your downfall? Come, brethren, let us proclaim union in every breast. Let all become peace.

— John Berry Meachum, An Address to All Colored Citizens of the United States, 1846

Scriptures About Unity Among Christians

Galatians 5:19-23

19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Psalm 133

133 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!

It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing—
Life forevermore.

Matthew 12:1-33

12 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!”

But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. 10 And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him.

11 Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. 14 Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.

15 But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. 16 Yet He warned them not to make Him known, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

18 “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen,
My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased!
I will put My Spirit upon Him,
And He will declare justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not quarrel nor cry out,
Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench,
Till He sends forth justice to victory;
21 And in His name Gentiles will trust.”

22 Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. 23 And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”

25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.

3. We still operate in division

There are plenty of Christ-following men who have unlearned the patterns of our past and are productive members of society. We love our wives. We take care of our families. We serve in our communities. 

But we aren’t united. 

We aren’t collectively setting an agenda for our people and executing it. We’re living in silos, not in community.  We don’t make plans to live in closer proximity to each other. We are not the loudest voices addressing our biggest challenges, like income stability, closing the literacy gap for our 3rd graders, and protecting Black girls from sex trafficking. Some of us are involved in these efforts as individuals, but we’re not coming together. Black Christian men have not become a unified force for His glory. I’ve heard that even Christian rappers have beef with each other. I really hope that’s not true.

I hope this can be a space for us to start sharing information and putting some plans in place for action. 

How Can Christ-Following Men Unite? Here Are 4 Ideas:

  • Start with repentance. That means acknowledging where we have failed Christ, each other, and our families. Then, we go on a journey of turning away from the behaviors, beliefs, and influences that led to the failure. We stop having beef with each other over things that don’t matter for salvation and leading our families. We work to rebuild damaged relationships, especially with our wives, and other men who are following Christ. Here’s a great example of that:
  • Attend a Bible study. If there’s not one near you, start one. If we aren’t teaching other young men then other toxic voices fill the gaps, like Nation of Islam, Five Percent Nation, Hebrew Israelites, and their newer equivalents, the Red Pill, Black Manosphere. These might be false worldviews, but they have an audience. We can start to fill that gap, even if it’s a backyard or basement meeting.
  • Start focusing on buying land and property near other Black Christian families. One key pattern is that the Black men who were most successful after emancipation focused on buying land, building homes, growing food, and starting businesses—together. Black Wall Street got started because two friends wanted their own community, so they bought land and started developing. The women often focused on starting schools. John Berry Meachum told us this was our best bet back in 1847. But the racial terrorism ran us to the cities where three generations of Black men got stuck in low-skill, low-wage jobs that eventually disappeared.
  • Start supporting businesses and programs that target Black children, either with your time or your money. Our children are our responsibility. For example, I love the Black Boy Literacy Initiative by Salem Baptist Church in Chicago. It should not be all mamas and grandmas giving to this program. Black men should bankroll this to the point where these little men have leftovers. 

This is just one example. If you have others, leave it in the comments. 

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