I quit racism.
And I would have that option because my skin is white.
In fact, I could go through life and not ever even ‘start’ the topic of racism, and it would leave my life fairly untouched.
I lived that way for about 23 years of my life. blissfully ignorant, vaguely unaware.
But here I go teaching Acts 10 and God’s heart for ethnic, cultural and religious reconciliation. Here I go researching passages like 2 Corinthians 5. Here I go visiting 25 countries around the world. Here I go living in Fresno where only 39% of the population is white. Here I go having Filipino, Hispanic, African-American, Japanese-American, Hmong and bi-racial housemates for the last 6 years. Here I go dating a Mexican Salvadorian man.
Here I am confronted by my privilege.
And I have a love / hate relationship with the topic.
I hate the prejudice it reveals in me. The tainted worldview I’ve acquired, the taste of power I”m inadvertently accustomed too. I hate how I get defensive of my culture and my roots when others are just sharing their feelings and experiences. I hate grappling in the dark to define my white culture and struggling to not come off wrong. I hated the straight-up attack of being called ‘Racist’ to my face by people I cared for. I hate seeing the pain of my brother as they share experiences of discrimination. I hate the racist remarks made around me. I hate the propulsive systems in place that promote further inequality in economics, education, job opportunity, housing etc… I hate the ignorance of well-meaning people.
I love the release of anger and stored up tension, the beginnings of healing. I love the ability to share your story and be heard and validated. I love the freedom and responsibility that knowledge brings. I love seeing people realize their privilege and be challenged to become an advocate. I love seeing people empowered to pursue justice. I love hearing people speak out in courage. I love seeing people change. I love hearing how people question the ‘way things are.’ I love reconciliation.
Its a terribly difficult topic. Its passions run deep, its aftermath can scar or heal the soul. I’ve been scarred, it makes me want to quit. I get so tired of fighting, sometimes I feel beaten. Sometimes I quit for a while- I have that option you know. But what a cheap escape, running away with tail between legs. My brothers and sisters have no such option, to stop fighting, to take a breather. As a Christian, what so deeply hurts my African-American sister, should hurt me; what wounds my Asian brother should wound me.
To relentlessly fight for reconciliation, and not out of anger or rebellion or guilt… but to fight for justice and equality remembering us each made in the precious image of God? Lord, grant me help, I cannot quit.