Dear White People
Dear Fellow White People,
We need to talk. Racism is alive and well in this country, and it is up to us to fix it. If that seems a little dramatic, let's take a step back and address some hard truths about our history:
This country was built on the backs of black people who were treated as commodities for economic gain. Even if racial discrimination had ended with the new laws of the Civil Rights Era, as many like to claim, it would still be preposterous to expect that these systems, beliefs, and inequity could be simply washed away.
Sadly, injustice and discrimination are still prevalent today. Just talk with people of color...and really listen to what they have to deal with every day. Or, read the news and you will see racial inequality everywhere: the water crisis in Flint, cases of unethical treatment by mortgage lenders to minorities, the disparity in our public education systems across the country like this one in Detroit, and the issue of mass incarceration and its lasting effects on families and communities of color.
If these problems were happening in affluent white communities, we would be outraged and would act swiftly to find solutions.
We can create a different future for our children and a new system that includes everyone. But, we have a lot of work to do and it isn't going to be easy or comfortable. We must first acknowledge the legacy that we've inherited and the ways we have been conditioned. It is the only way to separate out our individual intentions with the historical shape of this country, and move from numbness and complicity to become actively anti-racist.
We also must reject the ridiculous notion that by working to create an equal system for all people, we are somehow losing what is rightfully ours. Instead, we miss the full potential of humanity and the richness of different experiences, perspectives and friendships.
Injustice is easy to ignore when it isn't happening to us. But, we are called to put the needs and pain of others before our own, and fight for equality for all of God's children. I pray that our faith and desire for true connection would transform from belief to action---that we would help others without condition or judgment. Stand against hateful speech or violence. Stand for social justice. Stand with people of color and those who face discrimination or injustice.
“Just as you did to one of the least of these, you did to me.” – Matthew 25:40