In the past year racism has been in the spotlight more than any time I remember in my life. From Ferguson to Cleveland to Baltimore to McKinney to Charleston, from police brutality to a white supremacist terrorist. It’s prompting some honest and difficult conversations. I hope you’re joining them.
These events and conversations are important to me. The fact is systemic racism continues to be a problem in America today. It’s not overt like it was during Jim Crow. It’s often subconscious. It’s often systemic. It’s often something we (I) don’t even realize we’re doing. But it’s there.
What’s so amazing about this moment right now is that we’re actually having those conversations. I’m completely shocked that the Charleston shooting has turned into a reexamination of the Confederate flag. In some ways that’s getting lost in the weeds, and if we think removing one symbol is going to change much we’d be mistaken. But it’s a small step of progress to recognize the oppression of our past.
People much smarter than I are weighing in on this issue and saying much smarter things than I ever could. So rather than ramble on, I’m going to link to them.
I’ll just close by saying I think we’re watching history happen. Something is changing in America right now. Let’s be a part of making that a change for the good of all people.
- Listening well as a person of privilege – Great series on how we need to approach these conversations. If you’re uncomfortable with all this #BlackLivesMatter talk or find yourself getting squeamish or put off–read this blog series.
- 11 ways white America avoids taking responsibility for its racism – Racism is rarely an overt, inappropriate joke kind of thing any more. It manifests itself in subtle, systemic ways that we too often ignore.
- White fragility: Why it’s so hard to talk to white people about racism – Or, ‘How dare you offend me with your oppression.’
- Confronting the truth – I’ve never endorsed anything Al Mohler has written before, but his article wrestling with the heritage of the Southern Baptist Convention (founded by slave-holding whites) while also trying to repent of its sins is powerful. It may not go far enough for some, but I’m shocked it was said at all.
- The cross and the Confederate flag – Another conservative I would rarely agree with: “The cross and the Confederate flag cannot co-exist without one setting the other on fire.”
- We need to talk about white culture – “This sickness is the cancer of unacknowledged bias and supremacy. It has been with us since our founding, and civil rights laws, personal achievements and trappings of success for a fortunate few African Americans have not made us well.”
- The complicated political history of the Confederate flag – and its resurgence during the civil rights movement.
- What this cruel was was over – A litany of Confederate quotes showing slavery and white supremacy as their cause: “The Confederate flag should not come down because it is offensive to African Americans. The Confederate flag should come down because it is embarrassing to all Americans.”
- The rich history of Emanuel AME Church – “This is a church that was burned to the ground because its worshippers worked to end slavery.”
- Is racism over yet? – Potentially helpful video talking about systemic racism.
I doubt I’ve lived this out very well this past week (or even months as this conversation has gone on), but it’s a powerful prayer to live up to:
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.