Two summers ago, after a racist comment was made by our president, a pastor declared that we as Christians should always denounce racism, stand up and fight against it, and seek unity. I sat in a pew closer to the back, but that message was for me. It was for all of us sitting in the mostly-white congregation, but God knew I wouldn’t ignore it. Not because I’m trying to be a hero, but because He’d already planted that seed in my heart and I had friends of color whom I love and it was time I used my voice to say something.
But before you stand up against something so deeply ingrained in our society, you have to acknowledge it exists. You have to examine your own heart. You have to own your mistakes and be honest as you grow. You have to find a balance of grace for yourself and others trying to grow, but you also have to firmly stand against evil. And sometimes evil can be tricky to spot.
First, if you aren’t familiar with micro-aggressions, click on the link. Examine the stereotypes you’ve developed. Are you guilty? We all are guilty.
Now, read this article written by an amazing educator and speaker, who as a Black Woman, has faced our micro aggressive behavior more than once.
Can you see, feel, understand why we have to acknowledge this evil lurking inside our hearts, minds, and actions? When we see blatant racism happening we are quick to condemn, but what about the silent behaviors that are more real and even more harmful to our friends of color?
Maybe this is more fresh on my mind because two people, whom my husband and I considered close friends, decided we could not be friends anymore because I won’t stop listening, growing, and speaking up. As much as it hurts to lose good friends, it’s nothing compared to the daily mind games that our friends of color go through.
At any time, I could quit being so vocal and probably there are a few people who would like my posts on social media, again, and not feel uncomfortable around me, anymore. That’s my privilege as a white person. When it gets too hard and people are sick of me speaking up, and I start losing friends, and my feeling get hurt–I can just quit.
But that message two summers ago was for all of us. The truth isn’t pretty, it’s damning. I’m so angry reading about my friend’s experience at the airport and her car: how she had to justify she wasn’t stealing her own luggage or breaking into her own car!
So I am going to keep speaking up. And more importantly, I’m going to keep growing and recognizing my own micro-aggressive behaviors or tendencies. Not because I’m better than anyone, but only because I recognize that we all need each other, but we are so busy hurting each other and rarely acknowledging it. We have generations of people still being harmed by racism that too many people say doesn’t exist!!
My kids are watching. God is watching. One day I’ll stand before Him, and I refuse to waste the time on earth He’s given me, so I’m going to say something.