I, Danny Wolfe, hereby condemn condemnations. Every day recently I am getting an email from a well meaning organization, more often than not an organization with whom my values closely align, who issues a well-written, albeit wordy, condemnation against murder and racism.
To be clear, I am against racism and murder. Very much so.
According to the dictionary on Google, a condemnation is, “the expression of very strong disapproval; censure.” I more than disapprove strongly of murder and bigotry. I abhor murder and bigotry.
What I do disapprove of strongly, however, is the implication that I don’t disapprove of murder and bigotry unless I make a statement, declaring to the world that I do.
To be fair, the approach of some organizations issuing “reflections,” or “statements of solidarity or sympathy” to the Black community are beautiful ways to express our condolences and sorrows for the unspeakable tragedies that the community is going through. In the same way that it is vital for individuals to make a “shiva call,” or to call mourners who are grieving to let them know that they are thinking about them and are there for them, it is also important that we as a community express this sentiment to the Black community who is suffering and grieving, and it is appropriate for us to mourn alongside them.
But here is my problem. When an organization issues a condemnation against something like murder or various forms of bigotry, this is how it comes off to me: “You might have thought that we are indifferent or in favor of killing people for no reason, or hating them due to their race, religion, etc… Lest you mistakenly think that, our organization is here to tell you that in fact we do not support murder or bigotry. So we condemn the specific murder and accompanying hatred.”
Personally, I find it slightly offensive that it is necessary to issue a condemnation against blatantly evil acts. I, for one, do not feel the need to issue a condemnation when a person gets murdered. Murder is evil. You shouldn’t need me to tell you that.
I hope my lack of an official condemnation won’t lead you to think that I think it is okay to murder anyone.
Because I am, in fact, against murder. I am against racism. I am against bigotry.
And I wish I didn’t have to issue a condemnation to let you know that.