***WARNING: LONG POST***PLEASE READ NONE OR READ ALL, LEST YOU GET UPSET FOR JUST READING A LITTLE BIT AND NOT THE FULL CONTEXT.*** 🙂
So my husband and I have been doing a lot of praying…and talking…and soul-searching…and seeking…and surrendering this week. I oftentimes use my social media and blog platforms to be real and raw. I believe that an authentic heart and open communication can help do a lot of good in prompting helpful, kind, and respectful dialogue. And this type of dialogue, I firmly believe, helps us become better people and a better world.
We are new to the topic of racial discrimination. We’ve both known it exists, but we both strongly believed it was amongst a very small percentage of people in this country. Under this presupposition, we’ve felt frustrated with all of the media coverage on the topic of racism lately, as it’s felt like a tool that’s been used to bring division and stir up hatred.
We have both, personally, been bullied. I remember being made fun of in sixth grade for how I walked. I also remember a whole locker-room full of girls making fun of me in seventh grade. David remembers being punched in the arm multiple times (with bruises left) back in middle school. We both have personally experienced cruelness. We just hadn’t experienced or observed it based on skin color.
Does that make sense? So since we had not been introduced to it, we have not felt called to speak against it. To clarify, if either of us ever saw someone (of any color) bullied or hurt, we’d stick up for them. But we have not proactively spoken against racism.
Another caveat, is we have other passions. We try to stick in our lanes. He has a passion for medical freedom and to help educate others about injuries many children have received who weren’t given fair informed consent when it comes to vaccinations. This is a growing passion that God’s also been putting in my heart this year. Likewise, I have a passion for orphans. I long to see those without a mother or father grow up in love and know they are cherished creations of a God who sees and knows them. This past year, we’ve also been growing in a passion for the cause of sex trafficking and trying to educate ourselves more on this social injustice. We put our money where our mouth is. Thus, we prayerfully give to causes that support these issues we are passionate about, and we speak openly about these issues.
To be honest, it’s felt a little intimidating this week to speak from an honest heart of the topic of racial discrimination. I always only want to be honest, and so I am. I choose to be vulnerable on my posts, because I feel like I can use my platform to help people. But I’ll be honest with you. On this topic, I’ve come to realize we will always offend someone, unfortunately.
If we are silent, whites are called passively violent and supportive of racism. If we speak against the illegal rioting and looting, we are called haters. We’ve been told that as whites, we have no voice on this topic and should shut up. Today, David wrote a super humble post, affirming racial injustice, and he was scolded for not standing up for police. It truly has felt like a lose-lose situation no matter what we say or don’t say.
So that’s the reason for this loooooong post. I want to open up my heart. I want to help bring a bridge to help bring about reconciliation, even as I am learning and growing as a human on this topic.
With all my heart, I feel one thing I’ve learned this week is we all need HUMILITY. Anger, name-calling, and condescending tones don’t really help us move forward. I’m going to be honest here: most of the African American individuals I’ve dialogued with this week have been very gracious and patient in their communication with me. Most of the unkind or condescending comments I’ve received have come from those who share my skin color, (though a few of you have also been very gracious and patient)! I’m not quite sure why this is; it’s just an honest observation I’ve made. But for each of us, I think we need to come to the table with a generous, patient, and humble heart if we want to truly help make the world a better place and not just try to prove our points and be right.
I feel like I’m in a somewhat unique position to speak: I love black people; I’ve never seen and never spoken out against racism; and I have started to take the time to dialogue with and learn about racism and what others are going through.
To my black friends, you are beautiful. And you’ve been through hell and back. And you are strong and resilient. You are powerful. You are mighty. You are loved. I’m so sorry you have had to deal with people like me…who have been unintentionally ignorant. And I’m sorry you have had to deal with truly mean people, too. I’m so sad that you’ve felt unheard and under-noticed. That makes God’s heart so sad. I want to help be a voice for you and stand in the gap for you.
To police officers who serve us so well; thank you for your bravery and service. I’m so sorry many of you are being unjustly treated because of a handful of “rotten apples among the bunch.” I am VERY appreciative of the security I feel knowing that I can call on you in any emergency. THANK YOU!
I believe with all my heart that the rioting and looting is awful. But as I’ve listened and engaged in dialogue, I’ve also grown to realize that the reason many feel that whites ought not speak out against it is because we have not walked in the shoes of those who are suffering. People want to feel heard and understood; they don’t want to feel lectured by outsiders who have no idea what you are going through.
I want to encourage all people to realize this can be a complex topic; it’s not all black and white (no pun intended). It’s a journey. I’m on a new journey of trying to learn and educate myself. God has called me to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God.
So I want to first off, publicly say I’m sorry to anyone I may have unintentionally hurt by being ignorant and quick to judge. My heart has been in the right place, as has others who’ve believed like I have. But I must repent and change the direction of where I’m going on this journey. I want to walk with God and be his ambassador on earth. That means, I need to learn how to love people as they need it. Right now, from what I’m gathering, my black friends need to feel understood; they need to feel acknowledged; they need to feel empathy. I’ve not done a good job of that, and I am truly sorry for this.
I’ve been intentionally having dialogue with some of the African American friends in my life, and I’ve received some feedback. It varies, depending on whom I have talked to. I have permission to share some of what I’ve learned. I’d like to offer some perspectives:
Here is what one friend shared, who’s chosen to stay anonymous:
“I think there has never truly been peace. If you were attacked or violated in any way, would you have peace with the person who attacked you? Especially when they refuse to acknowledge they did wrong and continue in their wrong. Rather, you learn to cope, you try to forget. As an African person, I experience racism all the time, and the system we live in has allowed those that commit it to get away with it. Often times, I have to ask myself was that because of skin color or was that person was having a bad day? Did he tell me I can’t come in here because I am not dressed well or was that racism? Did they treat my child that way because of his color? I can’t go to this neighborhood because they treat me poorly, all these questions I ask myself daily. We’ve learned to shrug it off to say we are better and if we speak up, they ask where is the proof and the person always denies it. So no, there has never been any peace…. It also takes advocacy speaking out and reaching out. Just as Christ has. Take a look around, what can you do, how can you support.”
Here is what another African American friend has shared, showing a different perspective:
“I do believe racism exists to some degree with every culture on this earth, but it is confined to the heart of the individual and not a culture as a whole. I do not believe that the majority of this nation has a racism problem and I believe “racism” is being used by the deep state to fan the flames and stir up riots and division. I personally have never experienced blatant racism in my life. As I told Dr. Jockers, when situations like this arise, I look below the surface and search for the root of the issue. In this specific instance with George Floyd, I believe a lot of questions need to be asked. So, you had a Caucasian police officer who killed an African American male. Was this just a man killing another man, or was there racism in the officer’s heart. Did the officer verbalize racist language to George Floyd, or did people just see a Caucasian officer kill an African American male and stick a racism label on it….leading to SOROS taking an opportunity to mobilize his rioting forces to bring division in this nation at the worst time? Also, where is the outrage concerning black-on-black crime? Chicago is a war zone of black-on-black crime….silence. This is where I think outside the box that we are programmed to think in…. I believe for the Church we are to be bridge builders and not get wrapped up in the emotions of the world system and allow our strings to be pulled, but we are to see this situation as God sees it and we are to display His heart to every nation and culture and remember who we are in Christ. One Big Family!”
Here is what another dear African American woman in our lives shared, which shows the deep pain the recent events have caused to resurface:
“Hey guys. Honestly it’s crazy out there and I’m just taking it one day at a time. I don’t have all of the words to express how I’m feeling as it’s not one specific emotion. My heart aches to see my people angry and hurting as we are re-triggered every time something like this happens.
As I said above, I don’t have all of the words necessary to express how I’m feeling. Because “I made it,” I’m on the outside looking in but I still feel their pain and the pain of the generations before them that hoped by 2020 we wouldn’t still be having these conversations.”
These are just a few of the written forms of communication we’ve been blessed to read this week. We’ve also had face to face conversations and polo video and text messages to learn from others.
I witnessed a dear friend crying–no weeping—last night because of the heavy oppression she’s suffered as a black woman. It was a moment of soul-searching for me as I listened to her story. Afterwards, I got to kiss her beautiful cheek as we hugged.
This is complex. And I’m only at the beginning of my journey toward understanding and learning. But I want to urge others to join me in this journey. If you are white and have grown up thinking like me, it’s been offensive to hear the term, “white privilege.” But after talking to my best girl friend (who’s a beautiful African American), I’ve come to learn that the statement isn’t meant to be derogatory. It just is a matter of fact…which I was never before aware of.
One African American preacher, T. D. Jakes, gave this example: He compared white privilege with pastoral privilege. It’s not meant to be a mean insult; it just is. Part of him being a pastor means he gets treated in a special way because of the position he holds. He compared this to white privilege. It’s not saying that whites are spoiled brats. He’s saying that in our society, having white skin allows one to have special treatment. This made a lot of sense to me and helped me accept that phrase, which was making me cringe just a few days ago.
I truly wish we could all be Color Blind. (Check out the song by D. C. Talk.) I’ve always called myself color blind and took pride in it. But my great friend helped me understand that the reason I can be racially color blind is because I don’t have to constantly question if I was treated poorly because of my skin color.
This is so much I’ve written, and I’ve only started to scratch the surface. I am in prayer mode…trying to figure out what to do with what I’m learning, in the midst of also staying focused on the passions God’s been building in my heart for years.
But I wanted to take some time out of my day to share a piece of what God’s been doing in me, in hopes it can help us bridge the gap that has been created. I never aim to intentionally offend; I long to be a servant our our great and awesome Lord. I want to love like he loves; and I want to love each of you well in the way that I communicate. I hope this has been a blessing. Much love.