I know a lot of white people, myself included, aren’t sure what to do or say to their black friends right now. In the past, many of us have said nothing. I NOW RECOGNIZE, THIS IS NOT THE ANSWER. I know it’s uncomfortable acknowledging that you have privilege for something you can’t control (your skin color), but you know what is a lot worse? …NOT having that privilege for the very same reason.
A friend shared an article* that I found really helpful so I wanted to share some points from it here. It’s time for white people to use our voices to ensure change, but also to let our Black friends and colleagues know we love them, we see them, we hear them, we support them and we’ll fight for them.
To support Black people right now, you can certainly donate to non-profits, call your local representatives to demand justice, and post about the issues on social media. But experts advise that there are also a few simple things that non-Black people can do right now to show up for their Black colleagues and provide support.
Some non-Black people stay silent during tragic times like these because they’re scared they’ll say the wrong thing. But this is about embracing the uncomfortable. We need to have the hard conversations. Remaining silent is no longer acceptable. Tega Edwin, Ph.D., a career coach in New York City says “Your Black colleagues are experiencing a collective trauma and trying to get them to focus on work right now is cruel. Even worse, is not acknowledging their pain.”
It is ok to ask your Black colleagues and friends how they’re doing during this time of yet another black man being killed and the ongoing protests and riots. When they respond; listen. Don’t change the topic, even when you’re uncomfortable. Career coach Stephanie Heath suggests talking to your Black co-workers right now just like how you’d talk to people who recently suffered major setbacks or disappointments. “Try not to approach them from a place of guilt, but as your fellow human who that has been suffering in silence,” Heath says. “Allow yourself to feel anger against ‘the system,’ and don’t treat them as a victim.”
3. Educate yourself on Black history and racism.
Don’t ask your Black colleagues what you can do to make things OK—it’s not their responsibility to explain how you can do better. Educate yourself about the history of race and racism and use honest self-reflection to see where your heart lies.
4. Use your voice to educate and demand change.
As a non-Black person, use your connections and privilege to educate those around you and fight for racial equality. When you witness racism or hear the off-colored joke or comment, speak up. It’s tough and it’s scary, but it’s time.
I’ve gone through so many emotions and had so many realizations over these past few days following the senseless death of George Floyd. I realized so many of us are naive to the pain and suffering of racism. Particularly here in San Diego county, we live in a bit of a bubble and, in some ways, can be sheltered…. naive to what was and is truly going on. We may not truly see and understand as it doesn’t directly impact our individual worlds.
On a recent news report, the reporter said, in a few days the white people will go back to their lives and “forget” that this is happening. We get emotionally charged in a moment, the shock wears off and if WE are not the ones impacted, we get on with our lives.
As Christians, we are called to love our brother, to love our fellow man. I believe we are also called to take a stand against injustice. We should never accept a fellow human being devalued or made lesser because of the color of their skin. Rich, poor, educated or uneducated, thin, overweight, smart or challenged with learning, whether you’re Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist, agnostic, gay, straight or whatever…. IT DOESN’T MATTER… we are all people and God calls us, no commands us to love. We all want to be seen, to be heard, to know that we have value. To be treasured. To be treated with dignity and respect.
I’ve also been thinking about where I judge. Where my prejudices lie. And how I can change it. I have to be more self-aware. To ask forgiveness where necessary and to shift. It starts with me and ends with me.
So, to the above I will add one more thing we can do:
5. Pray, and pray hard.
This is not a time for a quick mention at the end of your prayers. This is a time to be on your knees, praying for a nation that is broken, praying for people who are hurting, praying for leadership, praying for a voice of reason to emerge, praying for God to intervene. Only God can hold back our enemy, Satan and bring our country together. Raise your voice to Him in prayer.
It’s time to make a change… it’s time to be the change. Only light will drive out darkness. Only love dissipates hate. Only hope alleviates fear. It’s okay to be sad, to be angry, to be hurt, to want justice, to take a stand. I am one person. I may not be able to change this world, yet I can change myself, and when I change myself, I will impact my family, my community, and my workplace, which impacts this world.
I commit to do my part in being the change…
To see you…
To hear you…
To honor you…
To value you…
Trusting in Him,
*article referenced Link