So, what can we do? Where do we go from here?
Can I offer three suggestions?
First, if you’re white, listen to people, especially to people of color, who are willing to share about their experiences of racism. By doing so, you will become a more informed student of history and of place so that you know the stories, experiences, and the collective wounds of the people of color in your community. Such conversations can be uncomfortable and even triggering, but they create opportunities for deeper intimacy, greater understanding and a sense of kinship grounded in a shared commitment to the common good.
Second, talk to others about what you don’t understand about racism, and what you still need to learn. None of us has all the answers. All of us have unconscious biases and beliefs which when made conscious through our thoughts and actions, lead to feelings of guilt and defensiveness. Kenosis, or self-giving, calls us to surrender the ego and to acknowledge our flaws and limitations. Lean into vulnerable conversations with honesty, courage, and grace for yourself and others.
And finally, when there is opportunity for relationships with people of different races and cultures, enter into them as deeply as the other will permit, with humility, because in the end, it’s not right believing (orthodoxy) alone that will heal the racial divisions and wounds in our country, but also right loving (orthopraxis). The fruit of right loving is taking delight in the unique expressions of cultural diversity, including art, music, food and language.
From “A House Divided: Engaging the Issues through the Politics of Compassion” by Mark Feldmeir – Chalice Press