Re-Educating Myself (On Race, America, Learning, and Loving Others)

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This is Dawntoya, my only black friend, and by friend, I mean I’m still getting to know her because she doesn’t even live near me. But, on our way to Thailand, we had some wonderful conversations on race. Also, I need more diversity in my life.

Well, we’ve had quite a week here in America (I mean, more than a week, but this week I’m finally starting to pay more attention).

Most of you know what I’m talking about, but in case you don’t, Alton Sterling was killedthen Philando Castile was killed, and then these officers were murdered.

These events are just the new ones in a long line of shootings that have caused a community of people to feel unheard.

I’m finally listening. And what I’m hearing/learning is this: We have a problem. So I want to get quiet and listen and learn so that I can love. And so that I can teach my children how to love well. For the past few days I’ve been thinking and praying and talking with friends and reading up on race in America.  I want to understand. I want to be someone who is willing to get uncomfortable in order to lean in to a perspective I’ve never had. I’m seeing disparity between black voices and white voices all over, and I want to understand it; I don’t want to ignore it. I want to say, “Teach me.” Or better yet, “I will take the initiative to learn so I can understand, so I can love and be on the side of justice when necessary.”

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” -James Baldwin

I’m going to go ahead and preface this right now by saying if you have all this race stuff figured out, ignore this post. I do not have it figured it out. I thought I knew a lot more than I did, but the truth is, I don’t know.

If you want to learn along with me, I’ve gathered some resources and you can check them out below.

Here are the questions I’m asking as I read and listen to these perspectives: Could this be true? Is it possible I don’t have clarity on some of these issues that I thought I had? If this is true, what does it mean? How can I go forward? How can I love? These are my questions.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34

Start with this —-> Senator Tim Scott (R) Delivers Talk on Race

“…the vast majority of our law enforcement officers have only two things in mind: protect and serve. But we do have serious issues that must be resolved. In many cities and towns across the nation, there is a deep divide between the black community and law enforcement. A trust gap. A tension that has been growing for decades. And as a family, one American family, we cannot ignore these issues.”


Next, this —-> What is systemic racism? 

A conversation about systemic racism from two Christian men. Once you get past the intro, this conversation gets real, and WHOA, the stats. Excellent and so helpful. Please, please listen.

“I think if you’re a white person or person in the majority and want to understand the perspective of many minorities, you’ve got to know the ins and outs of systemic racism.”

“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” Luke 6:31

Begin watching this —-> O.J.: Made in America (This really helped me to understand the O.J. verdict, for right or wrong. And yes, it makes sense to watch it in light of where our country is at right now.) Sidenote: There is a poignant moment in the documentary where a white news man is talking about how obvious a certain argument for the prosecution seemed to him, until his black co-worker shared how offensive the argument was (and she explained why), and he said, “This is why it is so important to have diversity in the workplace.” It was a big “Aha” moment for me.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9

Video:

How Can Blacks and Whites Stand Together on Racial Injustice?

“Rather than being reactive, Onwuchekwa encourages people to be proactive—initiating conversations, seeking clarity, desiring others’ perspective. In short, he says, the ideal posture should be that of a student.”

Skin in the Game (Andy Stanley interviews two African American men race and what’s happening in our country)

“Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:17

Talk:

We Need to Talk About an Injustice 

After the speaker explains what he does for a living, challenging injustice (he goes on to list all the things he’s working towards), Rosa Parks says to him, “That’s going to make you tired, tired, tired.” And her friend leans over to him and says, “That’s why you’ve got to be brave, brave, brave.”

Articles/Blog Posts:

Will You Weep With Me?

What Shootings and Racial Injustice Mean for the Body of Christ

Humility is the Key to Understanding Race Relations

Will Christians Constructively Converse About Systemic Racism?

An important read on what racism really is: “That is racism. Once you let yourself see it, it’s there all the time.” (some language)

Death in Black and White

Books on My Reading List:

Divided by Faith

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Between the World and Me (consider reading this review first)

Reconstruction Updated Edition: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877

The Mis-Education of the Negro

The Souls of Black Folk

On Twitter? Here are some black voices to follow:

@dawnthom

@LatashaMorrison

@redrev

@Burns23

@ThabitiAnyabwil

@JemarTisby

@austinchanning

@amenabee

@CSCleve

@bj116

@LeonceCrump

@BDTSpelman

@RAANetwork

@thederekminor

@humblebeast

“We want Justice. We want the country we love to treat us equally. What we DON’T want is violence and bloodshed of any person.” –Derek Minor

“When the world looks at the world and says “What’s going on?”  The answer is clear. Sin is going on. Pain, injustice, violence, hatred, and death are going on all around us. And yet, when the church responds to what’s going on we also remind the world that in Jesus Christ —Grace is going on. Mercy is going on.” –Tony Carter

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Black Lives Matter does not mean “black lives matter only.” It means “black lives matter too.” It’s a contextualized statement, like saying “children’s lives matter.” That doesn’t mean adult lives don’t matter. But in a culture that demeans and disparages them, we understand we have to say forthrightly and particularly that children’s lives matter. In the face of a historic and contemporary context that has uniquely disparaged black life as not worth valuing or protecting in the same way as others, they are saying black lives matter just as much as every other life. Ironically, saying “Black Lives Matter” is really a contextualized way of saying, “All Lives Matter.”” –Mika Edmondson

“Church: Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray.” –Humble Beast

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.” 

Proverbs 3:5-6

Love, SM

Sarah Mae

Sarah Mae spends her days home-making, home-educating, writing, reading, and drinking salted caramel mochas. Her family embraces life in the beautiful Amish country-side of Pennsylvania. She is the owner of the community site Allume and the co-host of the national Christian women’s social media conference.