The Divide Between Us | And Where I Stand

Since the events in Charlottesville on August 11th, 2017, I have been searching for words. I’ve been searching for answers; for a sense of peace. But all I’ve felt is pain, heartbreak, restlessness, and anger.

As a white, 20-something female living in a progressive state on the West Coast, these issues do not slap me in the face every day. Sadly, I can go an entire week without thinking about racial tension and racial reconciliation. It’s not in my face and it’s not something I am forced to think about on a daily basis. That’s a privilege. It’s my choice to engage in this conversation. It’s my choice to speak up for my brothers and sisters who face hatred every single day. It’s my choice to have conversations about race. And I pray that with every day, I choose into the hard, raw, heartbreaking conversations that need to be had. Because if I don’t, I continue to fuel white privilege, white shame, and white fragility.

I also have a choice about what I do when events like this occur. Will I shy away from the topic, fearful that I might offend someone? Will I become blind to the issues so I don’t have to feel uncomfortable? Will I choose to be ignorant and not face the sin of my ancestors?

I have a choice. This is my privilege. How will I use it?

This is what I’ve been thinking about for weeks. This is what I’ve been praying about and lamenting over.

HOW do I respond? Here’s what I know:

I know that silence is never the option.

I know that I will take a side.

I know that my God is bigger.

And I know that I have a voice.

This is what my voice will say:

I am for Jesus. He is the one I look to for answers. When His heartbreaks, may mine do the same. When He fights for justice, let me be by His side. When he mourns, may I mourn beside him.

The Jesus that I know fought against injustice, stood up for the poor, defended the case of the persecuted, and broke cultural norms.

The Jesus that I know wasn’t afraid of making others angry for the sake of being comfortable.

The Jesus that I know was gracious and humble.

The Jesus that I know led with love and served with kindness.

The Jesus that I know took a side and stood up for truth.

The Jesus that I know wasn’t afraid of death.

The Jesus that I know was merciful.

That’s who I want to follow. That is who I will look to. He will be my guide and I will do as he did.

I will stand against hatred, racism, and bigotry.

I will fight for others.

I will use my voice.

If you’re a white person, it’s your responsibility to speak up and act right now. Your silence or apathy towards the events in our country are only fueling the problem. When you turn your eye and claim that you’re not racist, but do nothing about it, you contribute to the issue. When you watch the news and feel angry, but don’t use your privilege to fight for others, you miss a huge opportunity for reconciliation. This is a white issue. And’s about time we started to act like we knew that.

It's also important for you to actually talk to our brothers and sisters of color. Do you ask them how they're doing? Do you apologize for systemic racism? Do you own your own "whiteness"? I challenge you to think about this. 

There is one more thing I must say here. And it’s something I hesitate to confess. But here’s the thing. If I respond to the people who identify as white supremacists, neo-nazis, or members of the KKK with hatred and disgust, how am I any different?

Jesus never responded with hatred.

We must first look inward to see the bias and privilege we have in our own hearts. We must realize that we are no different, unless we respond with love. It’s a hard pill to swallow and I’m not doing the best job, but I’m trying.

If you’re looking for resources about how to stay educated about topics like racial reconciliation, I suggest you look into this website.

In addition, this article was very helpful for actionable steps to fight hatred.

I also just heard about the Seeing White podcast series from Scene On Radio and I already three episodes it. I dig it.  

Shout out to Tiffany Han for directing me to the above resources.