Can We Pause and Just Lament Together?

by | Jun 3, 2020 | Research, Uncategorized | 85 comments

Time to Lament George Floyd
Merchandise is Here!

What is happening in the United States right now, and around the world, is a wake up call and a time to lament.

Yesterday I was on FaceTime with my oldest daughter Rebecca as she got her baby Alex out of his crib from a nap. He snuggled into her, and she was laughing about how he was such a cuddly boy–how he is learning to crawl, and he crawls so fast to her so he can be picked up.

We were made for connection. That is a basic human need. We are made to be relational, to be part of a community.

And most of all, we are, all of us, made in the image of God.

This last week has been a wake up call to me, and to much of the world, that many do not experience that “being part of a community”, and connectedness.

Too many are treated as “the other.”  And let’s not sugarcoat it. It is because of white supremacy.

And in the U.S., African Americans are heartbroken and are crying out to be heard.

Right now, it’s time for us to listen.

I don’t have anything to teach today, because I am on this journey, too. I want to learn. I want to listen. I have always thought of myself as someone who is not racist, but watching the video of Amy Cooper last week reminded me that we all are racist in some way. We all have our blind spots. And it is time for all of us to be humble and to confront them, as George Floyd’s death so brutally reminded us. 

And it is time for those of us who are privileged to listen to those who have been the recipients of that racism. I read this on Facebook from Will Odom, a friend of mine, and it resonated:

The phrase “White Privilege” is being thrown about quite a bit lately. I will admit that when I first heard this term a few years ago, I didn’t fully understand what it meant. To be honest, it offended me. I presumed a lot without trying to educate myself. White people are particularly bothered by this term, and it seems to make them uncomfortable. So…Part of the problem is the way that many are defining white privilege. It is not saying that someone’s life wasn’t hard or that someone else’s life was easy. It’s not saying that someone’s life didn’t have challenges. It doesn’t mean everything was handed to someone on a silver platter. It means that the color of your skin was not an obstacle that you had to overcome. For example, I can jog and walk into a new construction house without fear of being hunted down and shot. It doesn’t mean I didn’t struggle or have problems. It means that my problems were not complicated by the color of my skin. Which for many people, that is not the case. Use the word ‘advantage” if that helps.

Canada doesn’t have the same racial history as the United States, though we have our fill of shame. Whether it’s the Africville cruelty in Nova Scotia, or the treatment of Chinese immigrants in the early 1900s, or the internment of the Japanese in World War II. But most especially for us, it’s the treatment of Native Canadians. My husband has been doing clinics up in a native community in Northern Ontario, and he goes to listen and learn. That should be our posture.

There is so much weeping right now, and that is appropriate. It is time to lament.

It is time for those of us who are not victims of racism to look honestly at our history and ask ourselves two questions:

  1. What has the history of my country, church, or province/state been like for someone of a different race?
  2. How am I myself blind to the prejudice around me today?

I don’t have any words of wisdom for this. I think we should listen to other teachers on this topic–African American, Native Canadian, and others. But I encourage us to listen, and to lament. And I wanted to take a day off of the regular content of the blog and just say that I am praying with my American readers. I am praying for America today. And I am praying that we will listen to the voices that have been crying out to be heard–truly listen, and enter into their pain, for we are all connected. And we are all in the image of God.

Joanna, who works on the blog, was really affected by Billie Holiday’s song Strange Fruit when she first heard it in college. I listened to it, too, and it seems appropriate as we mourn. But for those of us not in America, let’s remember that this is not just an American problem. Let’s be humble together. And lament.

I know the riots are scary–I can only imagine. And I don’t have a good answer, or any answer, really.

But I just know that watching the two videos last week broke my heart, and I think we need to sit with that for a while. That’s why I wanted to post this, even though I’m not American. It was just too sad, and too important, to not say anything. 

Please, then, let’s not turn this political in the comments. If it does, I will turn off the comments. I’m Canadian, not American. I write as someone just watching, and I don’t want to get dragged into any ugliness. Rather than fighting each other, let’s listen to those who are weeping, and let’s lament together.

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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85 Comments

  1. Ketsia Gustave

    Hi Sheila,
    As a Black woman and follower of your blog, I just want to say a HUGE THANK YOU for this post.
    In the past few weeks I’ve tried to engage in conversations with White Christians about this, but in several instances, proving me wrong was more important than actually listening and trying to empathize and understand. People demanded statistics to “prove” that racism is behind the disparities in many institutions in our country, such as the healthcare system, criminal justice system, and education system.
    When I provided peer-reviewed journal articles for them to read, some still refused to try to learn.
    Other Christians prefer to be silent and post Scriptures about how only God can bring peace, forgetting that WE the Church are His hands and feet, and He expects us to take concrete action to help the oppressed. Many times in the Bible the prophets rebuked God’s people for not taking action to help the voiceless.
    This is NOT a political issue. It’s a heart issue. It’s a sin issue. And we need to call it out wherever we see it, especially in the church. Each person should examine themselves and ask God to point out their blind spots in terms of racial bias, prejudice, and failure to take action.
    Here is a link to resources on anti-racism for anyone who is ready to learn:
    bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES
    We love you Sheila!

    Reply
    • Anon

      Thank you so much for sharing that link! Such a rich resource. I’ve bookmarked it and will work my way through slowly.
      I’ve been watching an online discussion this week, and one very vocal person was arguing ‘all lives matter’, ‘peaceful protest’, ‘I’m not racist but…’ etc, etc, etc. She was very graciously challenged to educate herself and provided with some resources to do so, but said she wasn’t interested.
      Today, she’s been back to the discussion to ask for forgiveness – after ‘closing down’ the conversation, it kept nagging at her until she started looking into it, and she’s now had a complete change of heart.
      I hope this encourages you that your conversations may yet bear fruit, even if you’re not seeing it just now. Praying that hearts will become softened and repentant among the white Christians you’ve been sharing with. xxx

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        That’s lovely! Thank you for sharing that.

        Reply
      • Ketsia Gustave

        Thank you so much for sharing such an encouraging and powerful story!

        Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you for those kind words, Ketsia. I’m so sorry for the turmoil you must be going through right now. I’m so very sorry.

      Reply
    • Rachel

      Ketsia, thank you for sharing! God has opened my ears to this in ways they were not before.
      Sheila, thank you for posting.

      Reply
    • Madeline

      Ketsia, I am so sorry that so many are refusing to listen. That’s so hurtful.
      Thank you for sharing the link, I will look at it and spend time educating myself so that hopefully I can be a better ally and a better Christian. It probably sounds really hollow right now, but there are still those of us who stand with you. Again, I’m so sorry.

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Ketsia, a number of people have shared that link on Facebook after seeing it here, but I’m getting questions about whether it’s in a blog post or something more shareable? Do you know?

      Reply
    • Laura

      Ketsia, Thank you for being willing to try again after we have shut our ears over and over. I’m listening.

      Reply
  2. Sharon Overmier

    I so agree with everything you have said. I have never thought of myself as racist. I’ve had friends of all colors of brown since adolescence. And I now have several family members who are
    As a matter of fact, I feel like I have always been accepting of and respectful of people of color. However that doesn’t excuse the fact that I am indeed a “recipient of ” white privilege.
    It angers me, as I’ve always been a fighter for the “underdog”, the picked on, the bullied.
    Yet because I am white, I don’t have to walk around with fear for my life, for being judged-or NOT judged because of the color of my skin.
    I will never understand the pain, rage, hopelessness, fear and betrayal that people of color feel every minute of every day of their lives.
    These are the days I am embarrassed to be American, embarrassed to be white, embarrassed to be Christian for the way these 3 categories are conducting themselves.
    I don’t know how to help. I want to help make the changes to make this place anti-racist and it seems as though prayer is not enough in this circumstance.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s exactly how I feel, Sharon. In my high school, white was the minority. Most of my friends at school were different races (and many of my crushes were, too). I like to think that I was “colorblind.”
      And yet being colorblind is also a privilege. It just meant that I didn’t have to think about color–but many of them did. And that’s really the problem, and I don’t know how to solve it.

      Reply
      • Krista

        As a white adoptive mom of a black son, I have learned that being colourblind is not actually as good as we thought it was. We actually need to notice the differences, really see them, and celebrate them. Colourblindness often makes us afraid to even comment on differences or ask questions about them.

        Reply
  3. Anon

    It’s sad what is happening right now and as you say people in the church must look inside and see the racism that can be there. We need to be honest with ourselfes.
    I live in Europe. And while the country I live in isn’t like America there is racism here too. Even amongst people in the church. We have had many immigrants come to my country, I myself am a second generation immigrant. And sometimes the attitude of some Christians is racist but I don’t think they notice it. I talk about Christians who pray and read the Bible. Who really wants to see revival. But when they talk about immigrants talk in a very condescending way. They seem
    To mean well and are in general good people but there is something there that isn’t right.
    I say that because I also have had racist thoughts. It may sound weird as a black man and a second generation immigrant. But God convicted me about this when there started to come a lot of immigrants from African countries to my church. A lot of people in our church was against the services with Africans that were held in a certain part of our church. And I thought they were bad but God showed me that I also had racist ideas. He showed me how I thought less of those who were from these Africans countries. How I though the they were dumber than me a “European”.
    It was really crushing to see my own racism towards those who I claimed were my brothers and sisters. God convicted me about the thought I had and reminded me of it as often they came and I asked God to change me. And he started to and thankfully those thoughts started to disappear. And I could see them as brothers and sisters and don’t think less of them.
    That made me realize that more of us in church need to be honest about our views about other people. About what we really thinks it’s horrible to see our own evilness but that’s the only way we can change.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you so much for your humility. We all need to examine ourselves.

      Reply
  4. Chris

    Sheila. Very good post. Summarized how I feel about all this rather well. I have a book recommendation for you. Its called “Tomlinson Hill”. It gives an interesting perspective of how we got here.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, Chris. I’ll take a look!

      Reply
  5. Ina

    This.
    It is hard, but vital for us white people to recognize and counteract the casual racism in all of us. And,yes, I really do mean ALL of us. I remember the first time I realized I was racist… during my schooling to become an ECE we had an assignment to read through a list of descriptions of people,imagine we were meeting them in the street and then write down our impressions and actions. It was… uncomfortable and eye opening. Now I try to speak up when I hear casual racism at family gatherings and such. You get tired of being called a snowflake liberal but I’m pretty sure the PoC are far more tired of being discriminated against!
    One other thing that I’ve carried with me to my parenting from my training:
    Representation! My kids have dolls of different races. They have books with diverse characters both in race and ability. One huge thing we can do is actively raise anti-racist kids. Kids that see colour and difference and celebrate it!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Very true, Ina. I usually try to think about the images I use in posts and make sure they’re inclusive, and have a good mix, but to be honest I don’t think I’ve been paying attention for a while. I need to be more cognizant of that.

      Reply
  6. Anonymous

    I am Canadian and white and didn’t think much of race until I had the opportunity to do some work on issues involving First Nations people. All I can say now is we have a deep history of racism in this country, and historically much of it done in the name of god. We as a the Canadian church need to be so much more aware of this. Thanks for your post, for not letting Canada off the hook

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, the First Nations experience is just generational trauma after generational trauma. It’s so heartbreaking what they have endured, especially with residential schools.

      Reply
      • Cynthia

        Thanks for this post, and for acknowledging that as Canadians, we aren’t perfect and have our own problems with the treatment of First Nations.
        24 years ago, as a medical student my husband went up to Moose Factory and Kashechewan, and it was an eye-opening experience. It had never occurred to him that there were places in Canada where people don’t have easy access to clean tap water and other really basic fundamentals, and he was appalled to learn about the horrific experience that many had with residential schools and the multi-generational damage they caused. Cultural genocide is a strong term, but sadly it is accurate.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Oh, Cynthia, Keith’s going up to Moose Factory regularly now, too! It’s funny how much our lives have intersected, isn’t it?

          Reply
  7. Active Mom

    I had a friend who explained that for her it wasn’t the blatant racist comments she received occasionally. It was the subtle behavior. As our families spent time together I was shocked. She was right. One example is we both had large families, we were going to go to the beach with our kids and stopped to pick up snacks etc. The cashier commented on my large family (it happens a lot) with the question “Are you catholic or something?” I just smiled and said nope and walked off to wait for her. Those questions were common my friend and I both got them a lot. So, as I was waiting for her I was chuckling to see how she handled the question, (she had 1 more than I did) the cashier is ringing her up and he asks “are these all your kids?” She laughs and says yup. He then says “wow how many different dads do they have?”
    I was shocked. She just had it roll off her back but I let that cashier have it. When we got outside she explained to me that those types of comments happened all the time. My heart broke. We lived in an area that was really diverse, higher income and family friendly. If my dear friend had to deal with that I can only image how much worse it could be for others. I am praying for peace today and that the church will wake up and fight to have all of Gods children be treated, loved, equally. Calling it out in our own ranks is always a good place to start.

    Reply
    • Kristen

      That is terrible. There was no excuse for such a question and attitude on the cashier’s part. I am appalled, but so glad you spoke up.
      Your friend’s point about subtle behavior is valid. My last semester of undergrad, I had to write an essay about my experience with race relations and ethnicity, and I chose to write about the time that my cousin married a black woman and introduced her into our all-white family. I wrote about how we all went out of our way to make her feel welcome and like a part of our family, and how we all acted like we didn’t notice the difference in her skin color. If you had asked any of us, we would have said we weren’t racist at all, and in the traditional sense of the word, I suppose we weren’t. However, by trying so hard to be *inclusive*, I think we wound up being *dismissive* of her experiences as a black woman – experiences that not only made her who she was, but that also could have taught us a lot. The conclusion I came to in the essay is that yes, we are all equal, but we are not all the same, and to act as though we are all the same is to do a great injustice to those of different ethnicities – it is to silence their voices. Unfortunately, my cousin’s wife passed away from cancer several years ago. It saddens me to think how we could have done better by her – how I could have done better.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        This is so interesting. It’s what I’ve been thinking about, too. Colorblind shouldn’t really be the goal–it should instead be inclusiveness.

        Reply
        • Anonymous

          Thank you for fostering this discussion today. There is a tremendous amount those of us who have not walked in our brothers and sisters shoes have to learn about what confronts them on a daily basis.
          I too used to think of color blindness as a goal. I think the term coined by Pastor Derwin Gray of being “colorblessed” better speaks to what Gods goal would be. Recognize and celebrate the diverse beauty of his creation.
          For those who are interested Pastor Gray leads a large multi-ethnic church and has written and spoken extensively on the need for the church to overcome its racial challenges in order to better reflect gods heart. His material would be a good addition to the items other have shared.

          Reply
          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            I like that! “Color-blessed!”

      • Madeline

        That’s a really good observation, Kristen. I think it says a lot about you that you were able to learn from that experience by reflection.

        Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, yuck. How awful. I’m so sorry that your friend had to deal with that!

      Reply
  8. Jane Eyre

    A quick note on Amy Cooper: the woman is a loon. She has a former co-worker whom she claimed to have an affair with, stalked, harassed, and sued. By all accounts, she fabricated situations and then filed suit based on those. Woman knows how to work the system to her advantage.
    What she did to Christian Cooper is abhorrent, as is what she did to Martin Priest. I would be wary of extrapolating too much from her. Imho, the biggest lesson is how she’s made it to age 41 in increasingly successful roles without someone deciding that she’s too whacked to be a good employee.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Interesting. I hadn’t known that background.

      Reply
    • LDub512

      I’ve been reading here for about a decade but don’t think I have ever commented.
      I do think Cooper has some issues, but what is important is that she KNEW she could weaponize race, and if she had not been caught on camera, would have gotten away with it.
      As a black woman, I have seen a number of white women use tears and faux distress to endanger black men and women’s livelihood, credibility, and safety. As a matter of fact, in communities of color we know that this is such a common ploy that there are memes about white women’s tears.
      For African Americans in particular, we know that white women’s tears and cries for help historically have led to death by lynching. The lynching of young Emmett Till is perhaps the most famous example. After holding up the story that this young boy had made a pass at her, which led to his lynching, Carolyn Donham admitted on her death bed that she had lied. She lied for DECADES. I understand there may have been issues in her home, but she used Till as a distraction in such a way that it led to his destruction.
      It might be comfortable to see Cooper as a one-off because she had a history of fabricating situations, but trust me: She is not. She’s a new Carolyn Donham and there are many others like her.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yes, that’s kind of my feeling as well. The fact that she went right to the African American thing shows that it was deliberate to weaponize race. She may have been a psycho in other areas of her life, too, but she still managed to be considered a good employee/fit in with her community. And those are the people who can do the most damage.
        Thanks for commenting for the first time! 🙂

        Reply
      • Jane Eyre

        [editor’s note: This comment has been deleted, because I’m afraid that it went too far and was hurtful on a day like this.
        I do appreciate Jane Eyre’s presence on this blog, and many of her comments have made it into our podcasts, but this one was not appropriate for today, and I don’t want to inflame or hurt anyone more than they already are today.
        Thank you.]

        Reply
        • Elsie

          Jane, LDub is making an important point here. Regardless of Coopers individual issues, what she did speaks to a larger issue of white women participating in a racist system against black Americans. The point isn’t about how often this happens but that the fact that we live in a society where this can and does happen.
          I’m a white woman and I understand that it can be uncomfortable to think about the ways that white women (including myself) contribute intentionally or unintentionally to oppression of POC. In addition to what LDub explained about how white women have used their race to threaten black men, there are unfortunately many ways that white women have not been inclusive of the concerns of black women when advocating for women’s issues.
          Recognizing this is an important first step in learning to break patterns of thinking and behavior that are racist. It’s also important to distinguish between racism as a system of power verses personal prejudice/bigotry. Although some people are actively bigoted, often it’s that we fall into racist ways of behaving because we haven’t educated ourselves – we are all unfortunately caught up in racist systems and it takes intentionally and growth to work against that both in our own selves and in society.

          Reply
      • Laura

        LDub512, Thank you for taking the effort to put all of that into words. I am listening.

        Reply
  9. EOF

    I was in a longterm bi-racial relationship in the 90s, and I was shocked to learn how different my brown-skinned boyfriend experienced life. I loved him and his whole extended family dearly, but not everyone had the same color-blindness I did.
    In high school, kids in our predominantly-white school would give him a really hard time for dating me. They said he should leave me to be with a white guy, that I didn’t belong with him. (The irony was the same people who said that would pick on me or blatantly ignore me.) There was more, but it really opened my eyes.
    Honestly, given the racism I grew up around, it’s amazing that I was as color-blind as I was. When I was younger, I found out that one of my best friends was Mexican. I was shocked because I’d thought they were bad people since my family always spoke badly of our Mexican neighbors. But it was another good learning experience, and it opened my eyes more to racist ways around me. I definitely don’t want any of that ever creeping into my own life.

    Reply
    • LD512

      People, please be aware that Jane Eyre is
      1) now attempting to gaslight me as a person of color,
      2) claiming that I have tears when I do not and thus attempting to make me look overly emotional, thereby
      3) invalidating my experiences and the experiences of other people of color,
      4) but that if I wanted to be emotional I should be allowed to without her censure,
      5) is ignoring history for presentism, which is how these issues continue, and
      6) thinks that statistics and quantitative evidence are more valuable that qualitative evidence, which she might call anecdotal, when it is actually evidence,
      7) using mental illness, as serious as it is, to minimize the dangerous actions of Amy Cooper, when what is important is that Cooper knew her pleas would be listened to in a particular way.
      These are common tactics. As a result, I will not answer any of her questions.
      What I will say is that I study race in the U.S. for a living. I have a Ph.D. in history and thus am well-versed in what I am talking about, including the history of lynching in the U.S. We must have historical context, or these cycles have the opportunity to continue. That is why people can say things like, “Looting leads to shooting,” and forget that historically, looting, when done by white Americans, has not led to shooting. Unless the shooting was white police officers at black people trying to protect their property. (And no, I do not condone looting in any form). For those interested, you can check out the Tulsa Race Riots and a number of others.
      Folks who want to learn might also check out White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo and The Making of Whiteness by Grace Hale, the later talks about the role of lynching and racialized violence in the historical construction of race in the U.S. That is important because race is a historical construction.
      Thanks for sharing my original comment, Sheila! I still stand by it. I also want to thank you to taking time to actively listen to black people’s stories and lament. I will go back to lurking mode! And I definitely won’t be responding to Jane Eyre!

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Please don’t feel you have to go back to lurking mode! I really appreciate you speaking up. And it’s good to “meet” you!

        Reply
      • Madeline

        Thank you for sharing, LD! I will check out those books, too!

        Reply
      • Elsie

        I’m so sorry you got this kind of response, LDub! To my fellow white folks, please, please, please don’t respond with defensiveness or arguments when a person of color shares how they or their community has been affected by racism. It’s really important to listen and think carefully about what they are sharing. My husband is Asian American and I attend an Asian American church so I’ve had the opportunity to hear a lot of unfiltered conversation about the ways people of color are affected by how white people respond to racism. I know a lot of POC who no longer talk to white people about racial issues because they get the kind of defensive response that we just saw. From what I have heard from POC, it can take a lot of emotional energy to share these things with a white person and getting a combative response can be exhausting and hurtful. So if someone takes the time to share these things with you, please listen and digest what is being said.

        Reply
  10. Madeline

    Thank you for this, Sheila. As others have already said, I really respect that you acknowledged that we all have blind spots, even if we don’t view ourselves as “racist.” I’m learning that it isn’t enough to just passively be “not racist.” I need to be actively anti-racist and that work needs to start with my examining myself.
    Thank you for praying for the United States. We really need it.

    Reply
  11. Stanley

    I would like to share my thoughts. I am white. I grew up in Texas. I was raised with the usual ideologies of the south. I am also an ordained pastor. Biblicaly, there are two types of people. Saved and lost. In my view, the church caries a lot of the blame for our current problems. We have neglected the message of the Gospel. We have failed to teach Jesus’ message of love. We have allowed greed to substitute for love. The police involved in this evil incident were greedy for power. The protestors who go beyond protesting to become looters are personally greedy. As I read and study the Bible, no one deserves anything just because they exist, on either side. Romans 5:8 says “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans chapter 8 tells us that we either walk in our sinful nature or in God’s spiritual directed nature. As far as I can tell, we cannot walk both ways. We, the church, ignore this. We no longer try to evangelize the lost. We no longer train folks in Godly living. Is it any wonder we have conflicts among people?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Stanley, I agree that what people need is Jesus. But I’m not sure that’s the message that is important today, because the fact is that many who claim Jesus have also been very complicit in racism. The Bible calls out injustice and racism, and it’s okay if we do as well–in fact, it’s imperative that we do. To reduce it to simply the gospel message almost sounds like we’re saying, “calling out racism isn’t important.” Jesus spoke up for the marginalized, and in the Old Testament, what God was often most concerned about was injustice. Let’s not forget that message as well. A gospel which saves people but does not address justice or how people treat each other isn’t the real gospel of Jesus. I don’t think we can call people to love without also showing them what love means. And to say that we are wrong on both sides kind of sin levels, which is not what Jesus does, either. I think this is time to call a spade a spade. Does that make sense?

      Reply
      • LDub512

        As a reflection on Sheila’s point, I will briefly share a story:
        I saw two white men talking in a coffee shop with their Bibles open. As I normally do when I see this, I got excited and went over to talk to them. After some pleasantries, the younger of the two looked at me, shared concern for his African-American friend, and asked me how I, a black woman, would respond to his black friend’s critique of Christianity.
        What was the black friend’s critique? Christianity was the religion of slave owners and their (ideological) descendants, who ignored and still ignore the cries of black people to be seen as equals and be treated with dignity.
        I was able to offer some feedback to the men on how to approach this topic with their friend and did so gladly. I don’t frame Christianity the way this young African-American man did. Their hearts were broken that their friend wouldn’t accept Jesus. I was also deeply saddened, but I also understood. I think that is why we do have to wrestle with the history of Christian complicity in systems that have injured people of color and note that love is an action and that action includes justice.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          So true! A Christianity without justice for the oppressed is a hollow version of biblical Christianity.

          Reply
  12. Bre

    Honest question here…how can I understand/see racism and correct my own racism and bias when I very confused and questioning reality? I know that that seems like a weird question and I don’t know how else to phrase it but…(and I don’t mean this in a political way at all; I just want clarity and help) I’ve been so overwhelmed by all the conflicting information, reports, opinions, and ideas. Everyone is saying that “the other side” (whoever that may be in the particular context) is gaslighting people and denying evidence/ making things up, things “have been disproved”, you can’t comdenm or be upset about X without also beliving Y/ being Z…I don’t know what the truth is, what God wants me to believe/see/do, what even REALITY is because I have no clue who or what to believe. I know that racism is real and evil and must go ASAP, but I’m so overwhelmed by confusion and fear at not knowing what or who to belive/trust and not understanding and not knowing what I can or should do to stop racism. It made my physically ill last night because I couldn’t stop worrying and thinking.
    This may be hard to awnser because part of my reaction may have to do with my Autism and Anxity, but I need to understand. I KNOW that I subconcious, racist biases that need to go but I’m so confused and have no clue how to address this. And I NEED to adress this…I have an extreamly sweet, innocent 13-yr old newphew who is black and he has suffered for years because of how God made him…he has wished to be blond and blue-eyed and been bullied in his very small, undiverse town because of his skin color. It breaks my heart and I’ve witnessed the stares and whispering whenever me and my parents (we are all white) go anywhere with him, like there is something abnormal about us being together. I can’t put into words how angry and sad these things make me and how pissed I am at myself for still being biased after knowing and seeing that racism is real and what it’s done to me nephew. I need to change because that’s what God wants, but also because of my newphew…this week he’s too scared to go to public places because of what happened and he’s normally such a people person. Sorry this is so badly worded and has misspellings; I had to say this stuff but I have to leave for work and am in a hurry. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Bre, I think this is what it comes down to for me.
      I think it’s perfectly valid to disagree on policy prescriptions–how do we help the underclass in the U.S. succeed? How do we get better schools for African Americans? How to we fix the criminal justice system? Here in Canada, it would revolve a lot around how do we fund Native communities or do we continue the reserve system? I think people should be able to disagree on policies without being accused of not caring about the problem.
      What shouldn’t be up for debate, though, is that there is a problem. For instance, in the Canadian context, I could agree or disagree with the reserve system; I could question the funding to chiefs or self-governance; but what isn’t up for debate is that Native Canadians have been disadvantaged; that there is generational trauma that they are dealing with; that they have been treated terribly in the past; and that there are structural challenges in our society that erect obstacles for them.
      I think the problem often comes that we get so wedded to our policy prescriptions that we equate agreeing with our policies with agreeing that there is a problem. I hope we can get to the point where we can recognize people of goodwill can disagree. But I think we will only get to that point when we first and foremost make the loudest statements about the evils of racism rather than about the evils of the other side’s policy prescriptions.
      Does that make sense at all?

      Reply
      • Bre

        Kind of…? I’m still confused.
        I know DO that, regardless of the 10,000 other things going on that are distracting from the main issue (riots, fires, shootings, beatings, violence, police brutality, police officers being killed, ect.) racism is very REAL and very much needs to change…I know that for a fact. Sadly, I honestly used to think that it was just a myth and people wanting an excuse to be violent and act out just made it up….yeah…I was very much a sheltered little white girl who was stuck in my own head and my flowery ideas of the world until mid-high school. My mom hammered a lot of truth to counter this stuff into me when I was little, but we really didn’t live in a very diverse area and I never experienced any of that stuff so I was able to think “Hey, things were awful back then in my history book because of hate and discrimination for a very nonsensical reason (How someone looks; the litteral way God made them is “wrong” and considered a justification to use and abuse them…that’s just so disgusting and wrong) but now that doesn’t exsist and everything is better!” Ha-ha-ha…if only that was the truth.
        That’s why I’m honestly greatful for my nephew, because knowing what he went through truly opened my eyes…at least a little bit, before now. That’s why I’m trying to work through my biases and figure this stuff out…it’s pretty shocking to realize the disonace of seeing racial bias/racism and also being able to downplay it’s exsistence that is going on in my head. Like, how can I have litterally seen how my nephew is treated when I’m right next to him and know that it’s racist and wrong, but also ignore/brush off racism in society as a whole? I don’t know if there is a phsycological or social thing behind any of my crazy, disordered thinking…still very confused and hurt by how junky the world is and not sure what I should do.

        Reply
  13. Come Lord Jesus

    [Editor’s note: This comment has been deleted. When a community is mourning because someone has been killed by the police, it is best to lament with them, not blame them for it.]

    Reply
  14. Catherine

    A friend with children from varied countries recently shared this explanatory video on systemic racism in the US:
    https://youtu.be/YrHIQIO_bdQ
    I would be interested in hearing from informed readers like LD512 and others of this is an accurate synopsis so that it can be shared with others.
    And agreed that it would be so much better to celebrate and explore our understanding of colorFULLness than Color blindness.

    Reply
    • LDub512

      I am still lurking! Since I was asked directly, I will respond: Yes! This is a concise explanation of systemic racism, at least as it applies to the roles of financial institutions in the United States, and how it trickles down. And it does a good job of highlighting white privilege and how it still benefits white Americans today. Many white Americans do not like to hear about white privilege and instead talk about the things they did to earn what they have. Indeed, many white Americans have worked very hard. But this video also shows how home ownership, which has been touted as the American dream, was systematically cut off for people of color for decades. Home ownership was key to many opportunities that white Americans have had and that black and brown people have been denied. Then add in gentrification …
      My work primarily deals with African-Americans, Latino/as, and Afro-Latino/as. Two books I would recommend are Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America and Lilia Fernandez’ Brown in the Windy City: Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in Post-War Chicago. Both do a great job of exploring the links between race, place/space, and opportunity and how every level of government – local, state, and federal – worked in concert to keep people of color in segregated and disadvantaged neighborhoods – even when people of color had the money to get out. To that end, folks might also consider Kevin Boyle’s The Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age. It is interesting to note that once a neighbor becomes about 20% people of color, many white people will begin to move – even today. This 20% is called the tipping point.
      I’ll also mention Jemar Tisby’s The Color of Compromise: The Truth About American Church’s Complicity in Racism. As a black Christian, this is on my reading list. I have a general understanding, but am looking forward to the specifics. Just Mercy by Brian Stevenson will give good insight into what has gone in the U.S. legal system.

      Reply
      • Catherine

        Thanks, LDub512, for your thoughts and book recommendations. I think I just saw that the movie, Just Mercy, is also streaming free this month on Twitter or one of those platforms. God bless and may His kingdom prevail.

        Reply
      • Laura

        LDub512, Thank you for all of your book recommendations. I have made a list of them to start chipping away at.

        Reply
  15. Kmmc

    « A child that is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth” – African proverb
    This is what is going on. All of this destruction stems from centuries of getting beaten, killed, denied rights.
    It boils down to this. I’m not saying that I agree with the looting or destruction of property…. but what did anyone expect? Cities are burning down. It’s sad but what did anyone really expect was going to happen? A nation with a horrifying history of racial slavery, violence, Jim Crow laws. Why are we so surprised?
    I don’t know what it’s going to take for white supremacy to stop since it is the basis of a lot of how countries functions. I LIVE IN CANADA BTW! It’s the reason why I get pulled over by cops for doing nothing wrong. It’s the reason why one of my brothers got routinely followed by a cop for months to make sure he lives in the neighborhood. It’s the reason why some of my patients I see at work have told me that I’m not like the « other » black people. It’s the reason why i’m followed sometimes in stores. It’s the reason why I have to always calm down to not look like the « angry black woman » stereotype. It’s the reason why, in high school, my ethics teacher agreed with a student who said that : « we all know that blacks are biologically more violent ». A student said that and the teacher agreed: I still remember the helpless feeling I had in this moment. And I remember the fear I had that if I spoke out, i would somehow « look violent » and confirm what the student and teacher were saying). It’s the reason years ago, I stayed calm and kept walking when a car slowed down near me and someone threw a snapple glass bottle and said: Ni**er, go back to your country. I just kept walking. Calling the cops would have been useless . I have always been afraid that calling them would give them license to do something to me instead of investigating the perpetrator . I stopped calming down when I realized that white supremacy means that regardless of what you do or how nice you are, you are still nothing more than a N***er to some people.

    Reply
    • kmmc

      People say to respond to the murder of Mr. Floyd with love, but it doesn’t seem to work. Hashtags, peaceful protests were done when police killed or beat or harassed other black people… and nothing happened. But now that property is getting destroyed, suddenly people are waking up. Police chiefs all around the nation are suddenly denouncing the death of Floyd (but they never denounced the killing of other black people when it happened). People responding sadly shows that a violent nation responds to violence. This is what it takes for white police, mayors, doctors and pastors to talk about racism. Where was this passionate outcry from white leaders when other blacks were dying at the hands of the police. It’s sad that it takes a city burning down to acknowledge the mess we are in. This is a 400 year old mess. Mold doesn’t destroy the structure of a house in a day. It destroys slowly, insidiously up until the structure is so rotten that you have to tear it down to build a new one. Tearing structure is painful, messy and tiring.
      I don’t advocate for violence .
      But what did anyone expect?
      Hopefully, we get to a place where we can at best, love each other, but at worst, still respect one another.
      I wished that violence could stop. On all fronts.
      I am comforted by Proverb 17:17
      « A friend loves at all times,
      and a brother is born for a time of adversity. »
      I see the outrage from white people. I see the white people who protest. I’m trying to quiet the angry voice inside saying : « Why didn’t these white people denounce and protest before…Maybe this situation would have been better a long time ago. » But I have decided not to let cynism cloud my eyes since the white people protesting have a lot to lose if white supremacy crumbles. They are protesting a system that benefits them. Maybe it’s my own prejudice, but I wasn’t expecting the support. I’m so used to white people, even friends, gaslighting me when I tell them about a racist experience I had. I’m so used to being belittled. But so readily understood by my black community.
      But I witness a sea of different colors fighting, marching and speaking out.
      I hope that it means that in this adversity, we stand as brothers and sisters.

      Reply
      • LDub512

        Thanks KMMC for sharing your stories. It is not easy to do.
        As I have mentioned before, I am African-American woman, but the first time I was ever followed around a store was on a high-school band trip in a store in Toronto, CA. I was shocked. The store was full of American teenagers, but I was the only one being followed. Finally, I turned around and looked at the young white woman and said, “Are you following me because I’m black?” She looked shocked, stuttered an incoherent response, and scampered away.
        In the fourth grade, I asked my social studies teacher why there weren’t any black or brown people in our history book. She also stammered a non-response.
        In the eleventh grade in my high school, the Harlem Renaissance unit was always the unit students did projects on. I suspect it was because my white English teachers had little to no training on the subject like they did Hemmingway, Keats, Shakespeare, etc.
        I have had white people touch my hair, without my permission, and tell me they expected it to feel like steel wool or straw.
        I have had white people look in disbelief as they heard my black colleague and I talk about our educational pedigrees.
        I have had white people stare at me while I read books.
        I have had white people assume that I am not the professor but rather the secretary or staff. (There is nothing wrong with either of these positions, but it was interesting no one thought my white male colleague whose office is next to mine was the secretary.)
        I could go on. All my black girl friends from undergraduate have at least two degrees, if not three, and yet we all have looooong lists of microaggressions and flat out racist experiences that we have had. So that shows that even education only does so much. Many people will see us and still not see us.
        Sadly, this includes many white Christians. I have served as the only black person in leadership in a local chapter of a major U.S. based parachurch organization here in the mid-West. I have served and loved on and with these women for three years. Not one of them has reached out to check on me in these times. Yet the organization claims that they want to see more diversity in leadership and in the organizational body. To quote my college students, “How sway?!” However, it is not in my nature to be deterred. It wasn’t in my ancestors. Nor was it in Christ’s. I’ll keep plugging away.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          I am sorry that happened to you in Toronto. That’s where I grew up, and that is not okay. Thank you for sharing.

          Reply
      • Laura

        KMMC, thank you for sharing your experiences. I’m listening. I join you in cynicism about the white voices who are suddenly speaking: How long until they just move onto the next cool thing? I’m sorry that that is a predictable response from people who look like me. It’s wrong for us to have little care about hurting others.

        Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so sorry, especially as a fellow Canadian. So sorry.

      Reply
  16. Arwen

    Sheila, your compassion never ceases to amaze me. I hope to meet you one day before, i die or you die or Jesus returns.
    Here is my favorite quote by one of my favorite pastors Charles Spurgeon. His comments about the Church regarding racism is the BEST i have ever heard. I’m more concerned about the Church’s attitude towards racism not the worlds. The world is fallen so they act fallen but the Church should know better.
    “It is the Church of Christ that keeps his brethren under bondage; if it were not for that Church, the system of slavery would go back to the hell from which it sprung…But what does the slaveholder say when you tell him that to hold our fellow creatures in bondage is a sin, and a damnable one, inconsistent with grace? He replies, “I do not believe your slanders; look at the Bishop of So-and-so, or the minister of such-and-such place, is he not a good man, and does not he whine out ‘Cursed be Canaan?’ Does not he quote Philemon and Onesimus? Does he not go and talk Bible, and tell his slaves that they ought to feel very grateful for being his slaves, for God Almighty made them on purpose that they might enjoy the rare privilege of being cowhided by a Christian master? Don’t tell me,” he says, “if the thing were wrong, it would not have the Church on its side.” And so Christ’s free Church, bought with his blood, must bear the shame of cursing Africa, and keeping her sons in bondage.” – Charles Spurgeon, 1860.

    Reply
  17. Blessed Wife

    [Editor’s note: This comment has been deleted. I don’t believe it’s appropriate to blame those who have been killed for their own murder.
    I understand there are differences of opinion on racism, but please–let’s just admit that racism exists, and lament that and sit in that for a time before we try to debate anything else.]

    Reply
    • Anon

      I don’t mean this to sound disrespectful, but I think you have missed the point. It doesn’t matter whether Mr Arbery was jogging or not, or whether he looks ‘intimidating’ or angelic in recent photos. What matters is that two white men shot him dead without trial because he ‘might’ have committed a crime.

      Reply
  18. AspenP

    One thing I wanted to add to the conversation as a children’s lit nerd & volunteer children’s ministry staff for my church: God’s Very Good Idea by Trillia Newbell is a wonderful Christian storybook about appreciating the diversity of God’s family ALL created in His image. It’s a great book for children to learn to appreciate the beautiful that we are all created the same and yet we’re all created differently.
    It’s a great way for families of any race to talk to their children about appreciating each other’s differences and how God came first all of us.

    Reply
    • AspenP

      Whoops…auto-correct kills me 😜🤦🏼‍♀️
      *appreciate the beauty that we are all created the same and yet we’re all created differently/uniquely (God is CREATIVE!)
      *God came for all of us

      Reply
  19. Kriss

    It is horrible and wrong that people have been and are treated differently just because of the color of the skin, or any other outward thing that is meaningless to what is on the inside. I agree with the one who posted that color blind isn’t the best term. The reality is we have many things that make us different from each other, and those seem like things that should be noticed and appreciated!
    I do find the term “white privilege” to be a bit demeaning. Maybe someone who is for the use of the term can consider my perspective and respond… When I hear the term used, it ends up coming across to me as “if you are white, you had a better life”. I know that may not be the intended message, but nevertheless that is the impression it gives, and I think it does matter that that is how it feels to hear it. I really do not like any assumptions about my life or the trials and difficulties I have faced made based on what my skin color is. It feels very demeaning and devaluing, and is reminiscent to me of the racism the term is used to counter.
    I wish the assumption had not been made that all people are racist. Maybe all people can be affected by it, but even if that was the case, it doesn’t mean all people are ruled or led by that spirit. If someone had some temptation to steal but inwardly rejected the temptation as wrong, they would not be called a thief. It is true that people have prejudices, but that can be about many different types of things. Although it can be easy to do, including for myself, I really don’t like blanket assumptions made about people.

    Reply
    • Madeline

      Hey, Kriss. There’s actually been an explanation of the term “white privilege” going around lately that says “white privilege doesn’t mean your life wasn’t hard, it just means your skin color isn’t one of the things that made it harder.”
      I know the idea of white privilege makes a lot of people uncomfortable but I think we have to have a term to use when talking about the fact that white people are advantaged in a way that others are not. Again, it doesn’t mean white individuals haven’t had any other disadvantages or misfortune in their lives, but as a generality, whites have a lot going in their favor that minorities don’t.
      I hope this response helps. If you’re interested in a longer discussion of white privilege, there’s an article on it in the resources Ketsia linked. I thought it was very relevant and thought-provoking.

      Reply
      • Madeline

        I would love to hear what LDub has to say about this! If you’re still lurking, please weigh in 🙂

        Reply
    • LDub512

      I will chime in here. I, many African Americans, and other POCs understand that the term “white privilege” makes many white Americans uncomfortable. I don’t think that that is most people’s goal – to make white people feel uncomfortable. In addition, many POCS know that there are white Americans who have endured hardship because of systemic issues (here I think about poor Appalachian whites) and because of individual challenges. However, white privilege does highlight that even if you as an individual did not (or feel you did not) reap particular benefits, much of how U.S. society was set up was that you would be able to.
      The video someone referenced above on housing discrimination is a great example. Banks systematically denied black people opportunities for home ownership for decades and instead gave them to white Americans, even if black families had the money to do so. This then made it easier for white Americans to send their kids to college and ascend the ladder of American success and build generational wealth (even though these days we see how problematic that is). We can also see this in education. In the south during segregation, black tax dollars often went to white schools giving them better educational opportunities and access to college. Even the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery, contained a provision for penal servitude and many black men in the south were gathered up for petty crimes and sentenced to chain change labor – criminalizing black actions and blackness and destroying black families. My parents and husband’s parents grew up in segregated D.C. and Mississippi. We are not that far removed from this history or its legacies.
      To be honest, I suspect this is why some wealthy whites disparage and ridicule poorer whites. In a system that was set up for white people to be successful, why aren’t some white people successful? What is interesting is that when some black civil rights leaders started to talk about ending systemic poverty and began to gain traction with whites, those movements were infiltrated.
      As a result, many whites who are suffering feel unseen and unheard. And then to be told they have privilege seems insulting. But again, just because an individual did not benefit, doesn’t mean the system was not designed for them to do so. I think they find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

      Reply
    • LDub512

      I’ll also say that when I teach about race and racism, I urge people to sit with that uncomfortability for a while because I think it has lessons to teach. Often times people get defensive, which is understandable, but it often comes out in ways that damage people of color. The other response it to jump to, “How can I fix it? What can I do so I stop feeling this way and feel helpful?” I tell them to sit with it for a few minutes.
      I do this for a few reasons. The biggest is this: In being uncomfortable, white Americans have the chance to experience what many people of color live with on a daily basis; yet we are expected to learn to accept that level of discomfort and soldier on, especially if we want to be seen as “successful.” I think once folks recognize that, it might give them the chance to have empathy for black and brown folks as opposed to sympathy. If you feel uncomfortable for five minutes when you hear that term, imagine how it must feel to feel that level of discomfort several times a month, week, or day, depending on your life circumstances as a person of color?
      I have spent almost my entire life being the only black person or POC in predominantly white spaces. I’ve developed a rather thick skin, which is sad, but it is what I must do to function in the world. However, there are times that things penetrate and I am left distraught for hours and days – something I can’t afford as a college professor with lots of students, including students of color, who need me. I live in a very white area of the mid-West and I have white friends and fellow believers I love, but they are people like me and can inflict damage – often unintentionally. The only place I feel completely safe is at home with my husband, who is also African American.

      Reply
      • Kriss

        Hello, Ldub!
        I agree that there are many truths in life that need to be faced, and it takes courage to face them. In speaking what we believe to be true, we sometimes make others uncomfortable. These lessons have been hard won for me.
        It is not okay that any person is or has ever been treated differently simply because of the color of their skin. It is not just for someone to be hired/fired/disqualified/qualified, etc, based on something so superficial versus their actual merit. I love Dr. Martin Luther King’s line,”I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

        Reply
      • Kriss

        To LDub Continued:
        The issue I have with the whole idea of “white privilege” is that it seems to be stripping an individual to nothing but the color of their skin. Even if generalizations can be made based on statistics, it doesn’t mean that it applies to all. How can anyone address me without knowing anything of my story and decide that I have benefited in life simply by knowing my skin color? You wrote that “In being uncomfortable, white Americans have the chance to experience what many people of color live with on a daily basis.” That assumes that there is a level of discomfort that I have not experienced. If I break a leg from falling, I have pain from a broken leg. If someone else has a broken leg from something falling on them, it would be very impolite for them to come up to me and say, “Well, you don’t know about the discomfort I am experiencing because it didn’t happen to you the way it happened to me. You may have fallen down, but you didn’t have something fall on you. So you don’t understand the pain I feel.” Maybe not the best analogy, but an attempt anyway to get across how I feel. I feel that each person should be viewed as an individual, not as a skin color. When you are a person that has spent their life having to swim against the current, to have someone tell you that at least you have your white privilege does not sit well. And then my view seems to be rendered as less valid because of the color of my skin. I’d be interested to hear if you have any thoughts or a response to that!

        Reply
        • LDub512

          Thanks for your response! I will say that we must really move beyond the “I Have a Dream Speech.” You might be familiar with his other thoughts, but for those who aren’t: By the end of King’s life, his views had shifted so we have to view him in his totality. Look at his speeches and writings right before his assassination.

          Reply
          • Kriss

            Hey LDub-
            I don’t know what else he said or wrote, but I doubt I would agree with all of it. I don’t even know the whole speech. I just really like that line and I think it speaks to an ideal that I wish we could all strive towards.
            I would like to hear (or read, rather!) if you have any response to the second part of the message I wrote!

          • Rebecca Lindenbach

            Hey there, Kriss, this is not a debate forum for political issues. This is a post meant to simply lament with the Black community for the injustices they are facing.
            If you are interested in debating, this is not the place for it. LDub said to check out something, and you brushed it off, so this seems more like a debate than an interest in listening/learning. Please respect the purpose of this post and refrain from debates about this on this post. Thank you so much! 🙂 If you are interested in actually listening and learning, then maybe look up the various links and resources referenced in these comments already since so many have already done the work to lay out that information for you.

          • LDub512

            Regarding the thoughts that white privilege strips people of their individual experiences, I hear you and I acknowledged that in my previous response. I said that I think that is why many white Americans feel unheard and unseen.
            So, I will ask you a question that will perhaps move us towards a solution: What term would you use to describe the ways in which the United States, by and large governed by white men, has used skin color to systematically provide greater advantages for other white people and disadvantage for black people and other people of color that accounts for a) individual experiences, b) systems and institutions, and c) that said institutions and systems used skin color (as well as gender) as defining features? I’d also like to hear if other folks have thoughts.

          • Krissi

            Also, if there was something particular about Martin Luther King that you felt relevant to share, please do. What I meant by the comment just now was that I wasn’t referencing the line in a way to endorse or not endorse his entire life’s work. I have read and learned about him years ago, but to get into more depth I would want to learn more. I was sharing the line, because it really stands out to me.
            Like I said, I’d really appreciate knowing your impression/response to the rest of what I wrote!

          • Kriss

            Rebecca, I wasn’t meaning to brush off LDub’s comment. When I first read it I took it to mean that she didn’t agree with where Martin Luther King went with his thoughts, etc, after the referenced speech. I was writing back to make clear that I was not endorsing everything that he had ever said, so she wouldn’t take it that way. Then when I thought about it a bit more(after I sent it), I realized she could have meant she was more supportive of his later thoughts. So I then messaged her again and said something about that she maybe had something about it she felt relevant. (That message ended up saying it was held for moderating, or something like that).

      • Kriss

        Hello LDub!
        Looks like Rebecca wrote that my posts were getting too political. I felt like the points I was making were personal, but I understand that as the moderators of the blog they have the right to make that call. Because of that I am not going to attempt to respond to the points that you brought up in your response.
        I have been thinking lately how I learn and grow so much more when I exchange ideas with people whose viewpoints/experiences are different than mine.
        I appreciated the exchanges with you, and wish you well! Too bad we couldn’t go out to coffee together to discuss further!

        Reply
    • LDub512

      Finally, I’ll leave a book recommendation. Check out Ira Katznelson’s When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in 20th Century America.

      Reply
      • Madeline

        Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experiences, LDub. I’m still pondering everything you said. I’ve probably been one of those who are too eager to fix the problem rather than sit with my uncomfortable feelings. I wonder if a related response from whites is to judge other whites really harshly in order to feel separate from them. We (white Americans) can escape any feelings of guilt or association with the oppression of African Americans if we judge other whites without reflecting on our own position in life. I don’t know if that makes any sense or if there’s already a term for it that I don’t know.
        Thank you for showing us so much patience in teaching us. I’m sure you’ve had these conversations many times before.

        Reply
        • LDub512

          Madeline, I actually do think that is what happens and is part of why some folks are so eager to be allies. Others I think genuinely want to help or have mixed motives – as humans often do.
          But I also do think there is something fundamentally different about people who are willing to acknowledge they have privilege and either try to divest themselves of it (to the extent they can) or use the privilege to help others.
          For example, I am a college professor and I sit on numerous committees. I have less power than a member of administration but more power than a student. Instead of complaining that I don’t have the same power as admin, I use the privilege I do have to advocate for students, particularly students of color, international students, and those from the working-class. I also willing acknowledge that the way college and university systems are set up, I am going to have more power than a student. The question is what do I do with that power? I don’t know if that makes sense or answers your question exactly, but that is what came to mind.

          Reply
          • LDub512

            I would also like to just say that in general, it is okay to be uncomfortable about these things – for all of us.
            I think the real question we can ask ourselves as individuals is: Am I willing to be uncomfortable so that someone else, particularly another brother or sister in Christ, can heal? This applies to everyone, but I do think that given the particulars of George Floyd’s death and the legacies of racism it is most incumbent on white people to ask themselves that. And to sit with your honest answer. For some folks, the answer will be no. If so, ask yourself why.
            As for me, I am uncomfortable talking about all of these things. I don’t always like the responses I get, but I do try to hear them, particularly of those with genuine hearts. Because I realize that while racism and white privilege impact people of color disproportionately, they also damage white people. I am committed to seeing both groups heal.

          • Madeline

            You make some really good points, LDub. Fascinating, really. I need to spend some time reflecting on my own motives.

          • Madeline

            I’m still thinking about you comments, LDub, and I’m wondering if you would mind elaborating on your point that racism also damages white people? Are you referring to whites being disliked by other groups or maybe the fact that racism is enabling white greed and power hunger? Or maybe something completely different.

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