I’ve tried to gather together some resources and some things I’ve learned about racial reconciliation into one post. This is especially targeted at white people. Most of these are things I’ve learned from other smarter, more seasoned people of color. Hopefully you’ll click on links and read their words yourself! 🙂 And please share ideas below of things you are doing (or wish could be done!)
Listen: Listen to voices you don’t usually listen to. Here’s a twitter list of people who are pretty active in working for racial justice in America. Not all of them are working from a Christian perspective, but many are. It’s pretty obvious if you go through the member list who is who from people’s twitter handles. Let me know suggestions of who to add. Read what they’re tweeting. Read their blog posts. Listen to their podcasts. And brace yourself. People are tired, and people are angry, for good reason. Be willing to listen with empathetic ears to that pain. A great thoughts by Jamar Tisby here, and here’s an article by the reformed African American Network here on what white evangelicals can do right now. Also, if you’re in Christian leadership, go find a mentor who is not your race. At the same time, we need to be careful as white people that we don’t just expect black people to solve all our problems for us. We can’t just dump on them “I feel terrible about racism, tell me how to solve it!” So take some steps to educate yourself a bit before just dumping on people. 🙂
Read some books:
To start: White People looking for an introduction to racism and privilege, here’s a GREAT, easily readable book (with reflection questions!) that can get you started. Jody walks you along her personal journey of understanding racism. If you’re kind of scared or overwhelmed with this topic, it’s a great start. Here’s another great book by a Christian who’s working for criminal justice reform, full of stories, a book hard to put down. Also, know your history. Walking with the Wind is a powerful memoir of the Civil Rights movement of the 60s. There are many more.
Further down the road: For those of you looking to push yourselves a little further down the road: Disunity in Christ, Roadmap to Reconciliation, Radical Reconciliation, Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria, and Between the World and me (not Christian perspective, but a must read for anyone interested in this topic) and the New Jim Crow.
Pray: We are not fighting against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces. We’re fighting against blindness, ignorance, and systems of injustice. We need the church’s conscience to awaken. People who have been in justice work the longest all talk about the massive spiritual work of prayer that is needed to tear down injustice. Praying is not doing nothing. Also, see if your church would be open to doing more corporate prayers of confession for injustice.
Support: Support the work that our black and brown and other friends have been doing already, day in and day out forever. We’re not here to save the world. We’re here to join with what’s already being done, to suffer with. We have the option to back out of this conversation when it gets tiring– people of other races don’t. Pay to send a friend on a retreat for Women of Color. Use your resources and your voice to amplify the voices that are already out there but aren’t being heard. Use the re-tweet button. Don’t let your church start it’s own special program before they’ve seen what else is already happening and joined with that. Accept leadership from people of color.
Get active: Start a small group at your church and work through “Pondering Privilege” together. Call your pastor and ask what your church is doing to help immigrants, then get involved or start something. Invite friends to go to World Relief events. Give money. Get your church to reach out to a local Mosque and show them the love of Jesus by praying for their protection from violence. Host a Civil rights trip. Become a tutor for refugees at your library. Do whatever you can to help your church move towards seeing racial justice and social justice as important areas of discipleship.
Find Role Models: If you’re white, sometimes you can feel guilty, or overwhelmed like “everybody hates my people, we’re all terrible!” So go find some white role models that are doing good justice work. Listen and learn from them. Read Fire in the Heart, or check out the website and some of the work the activists are doing.
PS: Also, this is a very “racism” focused post, but the same holds true for all the minority groups who are hurting right now.
What are you actively doing right now to promote racial justice at this moment in the US? Please share ideas and thoughts below! If you’re a person of color, or a minority feeling afraid, what do you want people to do?