Rhythms of reparative intercession

From “Silencing White Noise: Six Practices to Overcome Our Inaction on Race” by Willie Dwayne Francois III – Brazos Press

Replacing white noise with the rhythms of reparative intercession is part of dismantling White supremacy. Each succeeding chapter of this book identifies a feature of white noise and highlights one of the rhythms of reparative intercession that serves as a corrective. These rhythms invited us to become and child communities of reparative intercessors – people who dare to repair the harm of racism by faithfully speaking up and acting up on behalf of the unprotected, invisible, and disempowered when it comes to race. Each rhythm leads to various practices and perspectives to silence the white noise around us and within us.

The six rhythms of reparative intercession are:

  1. Cues to color: embracing difference as gift
  2. Momentum to encounter: confronting the histories of Whiteness
  3. Pattern recognition: honoring our interdependence
  4. Syncopated identity: exploring our fuller selves
  5. Pulse to risk: sacrificing our power and privilege
  6. Downbeat truth: naming our complicity in racism

Chapter 1 explores how the cues to color honor the ways racial uniqueness adds texture to the tapestry of human history and emerging possibilities. This rhythm replaces the white noise “I don’t see color,” acknowledging and embracing the diversity of difference as a gift to society. In chapter 2, we unpack the momentum to encounter, a rhythm challenging us to confront the histories of Whiteness that shape our world. Confronting the past while alive in the present rejects the white noise that allows us to feel that “It’s not my fault. Slavery was so long ago. Get over it.
In chapter 3, we mine the strengths of pattern recognition as a rhythm of reparative intercession that quiets the white noise that “I’ve had it hard too, but I worked hard.” This way of knowing and being appreciates our interdependence and shared futures. Chapter 4 presents us with the opportunity to interrogate the fullness of our identities. Cultivating a syncopated identity allows us to own our racial identity and its numerous intersections and courageously pursue cross-racial contact instead of asking, “Why does everything have to be about race?” Chapter 5 turns down the white noise that “It’s not my job to fix racism” with the pulse to risk our power and privilege as an act of holiness. We consider faith’s response to the call to end interpersonal and institutional racisms as abolition spirituality. In chapter 6, we make room for downbeat truth, a rhythm that harvests the discomfort of telling on ourselves – naming our complicity with racism – so that we can set aside the excuse that “I’m scared of the backlash.”