As the outspoken pastor of Manhattan’s Hillsong Church, Carl Lentz hasn’t been one to shy away from commenting on the Black Lives Matter movement. So when the Evangelical leader sat down with Oprah for an interview on “SuperSoul Sunday” over the weekend, Lentz took on a similarly poignant topic: racism.
Addressing the rising tensions over police shootings of African-Americans in this country, Lentz explained how the root cause of racism ― which he says is ignorance ― can lead to such violence. “Ignorance is a lack of information, which creates insecurity,” he says. “Insecurity creates defensiveness. Defensiveness creates attack.”
What’s frustrating for Lentz is how this defensiveness makes it impossible to have an open conversation about continued violence against the African-American community.
“White people can be so defensive about this subject,” he says. “Are you really trying to say that this isn’t an issue?”
Some do try to make that claim, and even Oprah says that some among her circle of friends held that viewpoint since 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in 2012. “Everybody thought that was an anomaly ― not everybody, but some of my white friends,” Oprah says. “They were saying to me, ‘This doesn’t go on all the time.’ I go, ‘It does.’”
If it was just that one situation, it would demand a reckoning STILL.
Lentz then offers a response to those who dismiss any of the many deaths of African-Americans as isolated incidents that don’t warrant a larger discussion.
“To the ignorant white person who says, ‘That’s not real! It doesn’t happen a lot!’, let’s say, ‘What if it was just this situation? Is it OK to have a conversation?’” Lentz poses. “Because if it was just that one situation, it would demand a reckoning still.”
The big problem in the United States, he continues, is that we don’t want to sit at a proverbial table and confront the inconvenient truths about race in a constructive way.
“At the table is where we find common ground,” he says. “We have to be able to talk about this.”
“SuperSoul Sunday” airs Sundays at 11 a.m. ET on OWN.
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