A couple of weeks ago I wrote about what I was finally learning about white privilege. You can read that post here. Let me continue this conversation by saying emphatically that I DO NOT have this all figured out. And I’m sure I will make missteps and mistakes on my quest to learn more and do better. But based on the response I got to this topic, I thought I should update you on where I am headed as I’ve continued to seek the opinions of other believers in Jesus Christ.
In the previous piece, I admitted that I was at a personal loss on what I could do as one person of little influence to make positive changes in the area of racial reconciliation. But through prayer, thought and study I have devised a punch list of first steps that I am taking. Maybe they will help you too.
- Listen. I plan to allow others who are different than me to have their feelings. Even if I don’t understand them. I admit that in the not-too-distant past, I had a hard time believing many stories I heard of racial discrimination. Please forgive what I am about to say, but I want to be transparent with my level of ignorance and naivete. I honestly thought that most people who got easily offended by matters of race were carrying a chip on their shoulders from ancestors past. I cannot tell you how much it pains me to admit it, but I thought we could irradicate hate if we all just learned to “let it go”. I understand now how hurtful and short-sighted my views were. And I hope that confessing my shortcomings and asking forgiveness is a step toward healing. In a climate where we tend to shout our opinions over the voices of others, I vow to do a lot more listening and a lot less dismissing.
- I am evaluating all the circles I move in. Here are the questions I’m contemplating. Maybe you should too: Do all of my “peeps” look like me? Is my church racially diverse. What about the other places I hang out? For the most part, we tend to gravitate toward those who are most like us. It’s comfortable. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but we miss out on how much we can learn from others’ perspectives when we never branch out. I’m not suggesting we all pull a George Costanza and force a cross-cultural friendship just to prove we can (see the Seinfeld episode “The Diplomat’s Club” for reference). But we should look for ways to shake up our routines enough to meet other’s who are racially, economically, culturally and religiously different. You never know what worlds it could open up.
- I’m broadening my consumption. I’m not talking about food. I’m talking about what I feed my mind. I realized recently that most of the books I read are written by white women. What about you? Who are you reading? What kind of music do you listen to? How about TV shows, podcasts, radio programs? What about movies? One of the hottest cinema tickets right now is “The Blank Panther”. The reviews are beyond amazing and everyone who has seen it has raved about it. And I love super hero movies. But I’ve been reluctant to see it. I initially couldn’t figure out why, but I think it is simply because the people don’t look like me. So I’m afraid I won’t relate. And I think I’m missing out! So I’m going to go. Have you seen it?
- Lastly, check out Be the Bridge at beabridgebuilder.com. This organization is doing amazing things to equip God’s kingdom here on earth to work towards racial harmony.
That’s all I got for now. I’m learning new things every day. And I hope this message encourages you as well. I would love to hear your thoughts on things you are learning and how your eyes and ears are being opened to the world of beautiful colors and ideas. Be a part of the conversation by commenting on this post so we can all learn together.