I’ve had a post rattling around in my head for several weeks now. Was it when I was diagnosed with PTSD? Or when I
got addicted to started using Voxer?
I’m not sure, but the post I was writing in my mind was about making my world smaller. About my need to cut out all the noise. I was going to tell you how I unsubscribed from all the emails, because really, I can’t afford to shop those sales anyway. And how I unfollowed almost every brand on Instagram for the very same reason. How I scaled back my Facebook feed by unfollowing (while still remaining friends with!) pretty much everyone. I unsubscribed from blogs that don’t pertain to justice or homeschooling because that’s all the energy and heart space I have time for these days. How I cut back on podcasts. How I just needed less noise because the needs around me – in my neighborhood and in my own home – were enough.
Then Alton Sterling. Filando Castile. The Dallas Five. And there was so. much. noise. The world felt like it just might implode from it all.
And I took advantage of my white privilege.
I knew, as I typed those words, I was exercising white privilege. My friends of color cannot unfriend racial injustice – they live it in their everyday lives. As the mother of children of color and a white woman bearing witness to systemic injustice in my black neighborhood, I do too. The difference of course, is I can minimize it. I can choose to avoid folly on Facebook. I can unfriend and unfollow and block people whose hatred I don’t want to expose myself to.
That’s white privilege.
A day does not go by when I am not keenly aware of it. Of the fact that my voice gets more airplay then my neighbors, that because my family owns a vehicle, I’m “above” the other mothers on my block. For the love, I homeschool my kids. If homeschool doesn’t scream privilege, nothing does. I give many of my privileges up. But, I’m learning some are so inherent I cannot put them down no matter how hard I try.
I can’t change the color of my skin. Many days I wish I could. Many days I feel uncomfortable in my own skin. But that’s another post for another day.
I’ve thought a lot in the last week about how I’ve exercised my privilege online. And how I’ve added to the noise. I’ve thought about what can be “done” to unearth the systemic injustice in our country that runs so deep it infiltrates the very land we walk on. I’ve watched as white friends ask over and over what they can “do.” It often feels to me like nothing and everything can be done all at once, but this is what I can do:
I will continue to call out racial injustice for what it is (sin) as I see it, when I see it.
I will continue to love my neighbors and friends of color, both in person and online.
I will continue to listen when people of color share their stories and experiences with me.
I will continue to affirm them by declaring #blacklivesmatter.
I will continue to educate myself on the history of our nation and racial injustices around the world.
I will continue to teach my children about the imago Dei and the inherent value in every single human being because all were made in the image of God.
I will continue to seek justice in the daily lives of my neighbors.
I will continue to be with and not just for my friends of color.
But you know what else?
I will continue to ask stupid questions.
I will continue to piss people off.
I will continue to feel ostracized by both the white and black communities.
I will continue to be misunderstood.
I will continue to feel alone (at times).
I will continue to be called names which shall not be repeated here.
As phrases like “white ally” and “racial reconciliation” float around the blogosphere, I have to admit, I have yet to find an online space where white people can ask stupid questions.
I want to be a safe place for white people to ask stupid questions.
Let me be really clear: I am not an expert on all things color or race or injustice. I am not a historical expert or expert of anything. But I’ve asked stupid questions – lots of them – and I’ve listened and I have been and continue to learn. I’ve seen racial injustice first hand. I’ve seen The New Jim Crow come to life in my neighborhood and I desperately want white people to join the fight against it. I don’t want to watch video after video on Facebook where my friends of color ask where white people are. I don’t want to read the heartbreaking words from my sisters who feel like we white folks don’t care about them. I don’t want to wake up tomorrow to another person’s name becoming a hashtag.
I know this small act won’t change the world, but I do believe it’s a prophetic demonstration. I do believe in being stubborn about hope. I do believe, no matter how dark the world is, that the Kingdom can actually come and God’s plan to bring it through His people is still being worked out. I am going to resist a hostile world which says justice and love and mercy and unity can’t be possible, that hoping and working for a better world because of Jesus is foolishness. I’m going to be stubborn about Love.
So ask me your stupid white people questions. I might not know the answer, I’ll probably send you some homework, and it’s likely I’ll quote the Bible. But I won’t judge you (at least not too much) and I genuinely want to come alongside you. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would prefer you email me so we can have some back and forth dialogue where you feel free to ask your questions. You can leave your questions in the comments, although I can’t guarantee someone won’t leave a snarky response because, THE INTERNET, but I promise to delete any hateful remarks.
Be stubborn about Love today Friends.