The Principle of Black Agapé
Is a Black business more trustworthy than a Black one? Is a Black politician better for the Black community than a white one? Is the emerging pattern of Black local government leaders no longer seeing it necessary to hire Black leaders in places like Washington, D.C. and Prince George’s County, Maryland good or bad for the Black community? One cannot answer these questions simply by checking on the race of the people involved. One has to go deeper to the motivations of their hearts and the effects of their actions. But, what standard should we use to measure people’s motivations or actions by? I propose that we use Black Agapé.
Some Christians will recognize agapé as the special altruistic love that God has that is often referenced in popular passages like, “For God so loved [agapé-d] the world he gave his only begotten son.” (John 3:16). Agapé is the love that seeks to do what is best for the one who is loved. In John 3:16, God did what is best for us by sending us his one and only son to die on Calvary for our sins. Agapé has nothing to do with sex or emotion but everything to do with intentional action for another’s benefit. Black Agapé, as a standard, measures the intent or action one takes regarding the Black community by is it best for the Black community.
When someone interacts with the Black community are they seeking to exploit it, oppress it, or serve it? Most illicit pharmaceutical salesmen, drug dealers, who sell drugs in the Black community are themselves black, however, their actions do not meet the standards of Black Agapé. One of the most prominent black ministers supporting Donald Trump is Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Church. A longtime ally and participant in the Religious Right, he has become a vocal advocate for the President. Just before the 2016 presidential election, he wrote an open letter urging the black church not to be duped again and encouraging it to vote for Trump. Does the white supremacy espoused by Trump and the white Evangelical position pass the Black Agapé test? It doesn’t. The agenda and positions are not Biblical. They are not in the best interest of black people. While Bishop Jackson is a dark black man, Black Agapé does not appear to be the motivation for his positions.
The question must always be, what is best for the community. That may not be the same thing as what is best for the business, politician, or even preacher. It may not be even what many in the community want. Sometimes brutal honesty about the Black community’s failings is necessary when many would prefer to forgo the discomfort of honest introspection and focus on what others have done or are doing to the community. Here what is best is healing and growth. Like the alcoholic who cannot get sober until he will admit that he is a drunk, the Black community cannot overcome many of its problems until it admits that they are in fact problems. Black Agapé should always be the principle value of those who serve, lead and attempt to speak for the community.