To My White Brothers & Sisters...
Written by Megan Lietz, RCCI Director
To my White brothers and sisters,
I know many of you share these feelings, but I write to you today to ask, what are you going to do about it?
Too often, when we see the fruit of racism born in our nation, we say we disagree with it, even post on social media about it, then go back to life as usual until racism rears its ugly head in a way that reaches our world. In this moment of disruption, I ask you to not go back to business as usual. Rather, ask the Lord to trouble your heart, speak to your spirit, and lead you into a lifestyle of action.
Understanding the Systems at Hand
Whether or not the officers who killed George Floyd knew of their biases or these legacies or the larger system of which they are a part is besides the point. Their actions functioned to uphold these realities. That’s how the system is designed. It is so effective in dealing death, that one need not know the evil they are participating in for them to perpetuate it.
White brothers and sisters, we are upholding these unjust systems. Because they are self-sustaining, in not acting, we are allowing them to thrive.
The Need for Disruption
We must allow ourselves to be disrupted. For it is by first disrupting ourselves that we can disrupt the systems that maintain the status quo.
The fact that we can gloss over the plight of our Black and brown brothers and sisters is a result of our privilege. Being able to continue with business as usual stems from our confidence that we will not have our life stolen from us by the very officers who are sworn to protect and defend. Black and brown people, however, cannot avoid feeling the swell of emotions and recurring trauma when they hear of the murder of another person who looks like them.
As White people, we need to wake up and pay attention. I know we’re in the middle of a pandemic. I know discussing racism is uncomfortable. I know that thinking about our complicity in it evokes feelings of guilt and denial of responsibility. Taking action raises awkwardness, vulnerability, and fear.
We must push past our discomfort.
We must give God our emotions. The preservation of our comfort is costing people their lives, and this is unacceptable.
I challenge you to wrestle with these hard realities. To sit with the gravity of what has happened and allow yourself to feel.
What does it say about our spirits if we let the deaths of our Black and brown brothers and sisters pass us by? What does it say about our idols? What does it say about where our allegiances lie?
Systems of racism must come to an end. We can’t end them on our own, and they won’t be dismantled in our lifetime. We can, however, choose to disrupt ourselves in ways that contribute to the disruption of racism.
My Prayer for My White Brothers and Sisters
I pray that God would bring a holy disruption into our lives. That we would no longer be satisfied with the status quo. That we would be disgusted by how the power and privileges we have come at the expense of people of color. I pray that the Lord would so trouble our spirits that we could not go back to business as usual, but that we would be compelled, by God’s mercy, to live lifestyles of liberation and justice.
I pray that we would examine and educate ourselves in ways that don’t place the burden on Black & brown people. That we would speak up in our communities, challenging the perspectives of those who “don’t see color.” That our own humility and vulnerability would call into reflection White people who think they are “getting it right.” That we would raise uncomfortable questions around the dinner table. That we would disrupt the politeness and silence that has allowed racism to thrive. That we would give our money. That we would volunteer our time. That we would advocate for policies that work toward justice. That we would vote - even against our seeming best interests. That we would show up for our Black and brown brothers and sisters. That we would put our own bodies on the line.
How will you respond? What might God be calling you to do to continue his redemptive work in the midst of racial injustice?
I pray that you would know God’s love for you and how he desires to use you to contribute to collective liberation, justice and shalom.