“This is a message those other White people need to hear.”

In fall of 2015 I was part of a panel forum exploring the history and future of progressive faith communities at the intersections of gender, mass incarceration, and sexuality. During the question-and-answer time, a White attendee approached the microphone: “Rev. Francois, thank you for your talk. You rightly identified the insanity of racism in our criminal justice system.” I nodded in anticipation of a question that might lead us toward practical approaches to confront mass incarceration. “You are preaching to the choir here. This is a message those other White people need to hear.” This person, and most certainly other attendees, viewed the two-hour discussion on dismantling racism as an event for other White people – the real racists. The constant hum that racism is someone else’s responsibility allowed the participant to deny any personal accountability. 

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