What will it take for white folks to see the privilege we carry due to the history of racism in our culture? I have a particularly Christian angle to this question. It seems to me that the task is spiritual rather than political. When Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus not only is he given the physical gift of sight, he receives spiritual vision clear enough to choose to follow Jesus on his way to Jerusalem.
Those of us who are white need to clear our vision to see how we benefit from white privilege. We must learn African-American history to begin to see the systemic racism our generation has inherited. Our church library has many books for you to borrow including Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, in which she argues that the African-American migration in the 20th century was motivated by racial violence, not simple economics. Listen to voices from other cultures – films, television, magazines. Challenge white friends who use the excuse that their school or community or church is predominantly white so they can not engage in the work of anti-racism. Encourage them to make the effort to foster friendships across racial and cultural divides.
In worship at Tri-Con on August 14th, you will hear my personal story of learning to see racism more clearly. Christianity teaches us the gifts of humility, forgiveness, listening, grace and unconditional love. As we draw near to Christ, our hearts open to others with justice and love. In him, we have all we need to make changes as we dismantle institutional racism.
Rev. Cindy Maybeck