This won’t take long.

As a lot of you reading may know, at the beginning of this month, John Gray and several other prominent African-American pastors had a meeting with President Donald Trump regarding criminal justice and prison reform.

It couldn’t have gone any worse…for the pastors, that is.

Ever since the meeting, the internet has been the skewer used to roast these pastors over a racially-fueled bonfire. Many angry black brothers and sisters threw their share of accelerant on said fire, essentially accusing the pastors of being “Uncle Toms” and getting coozy with the “enemy”.

I don’t approve of the name-calling…but I understand their angst about the situation.

As optimistic as I would like to be, it’s hard for me to believe that any real progress was made as a result of the meeting itself. No disrespect to the President, but his administration doesn’t exactly have a good track record when it comes to racial issues. So, it’s certainly understandable that many African-Americans viewed the meeting as nothing more than a publicity stunt.

On the flip side, however, there are also those who praised the pastors for being willing to meet with the President at all, citing the many biblical examples of prophets who prayed for unjust leaders and spoke truth to power. Add to this the castor oil that many in the black community don’t want to swallow: whether we want to claim him or not, Donald Trump is the President of the United States…and it’s going to take collaboration with him on certain issues to see some of the changes we want to see.

My gripe with this whole thing is that, as usual, neither side seems to want productive dialogue with the other. The preferred method of dealing with most social dilemmas nowadays is to stay on our side of the trenches and blindly hurl mortars and grenades at the other side.

It’s just easier that way, isn’t it? Sure it is.

But the blind tossing of incendiary words only serves to make the problem worse…and create more casualties than needed.

When will we learn to stop our verbal bombardment, step out of our trenches, and actually speak to instead of at each other? When will we humble ourselves and be willing to admit that the other side is actually worth listening to?

When we will stop trying to oversimplify complex issues? When will we admit that there are some issues that aren’t simply black or white? Maybe, just maybe, some issues are black AND white…as in, there may be validity to both sides of the argument.

And only cooperation from both the black and the white side (pun intended) will bring about a viable solution.

I just hope we can begin to realize this sooner than later.