Life + Culture

Outrage into Action

Image result for "good white people"After years of colorblind racism, we're seeing a heightened national awareness of how racism plays out in the United States. Largely in thanks to the protests in Ferguson, the persistence of #NoDAPL, the vision of the Dreamers, and so many others, conversations about race are once again taking place in 'polite society' and in the highest levels of public discourse.

At the same time, public statements of open bigotry have also been on the rise. A terrible backlash has given rise to new powers and principalities, threatening to re-entrench hate as a populist value. We face the threat of a "new normal" as the sentiments exhibited by our new president and many of his supporters become common place, indeed become the views backed by the government establishment.

Image may contain: 1 person, crowd and outdoorSo these days, there may be a temptation for "good white people" to rest in the assurance that we didn't vote for him, that don't subscribe to the same blatant ugliness, that we are more enlightened, and so are off the hook. We're a least better than that.

But unless our good intentions are converted to deeds, we remain merely hearers, not doers of God's word. It's time to turn our shock, our indigence, our moral righteousness into action. If we sit idly by, wringing our hands while we our own biases unchallenged, we miss the entire point.

Well-meaning white people have helped books like the New Jim Crow top charts, and movie protest songs have penetrated pop culture. But how is it affecting our lived reality and the steps we take each day to change the situation?

Where are your growth edges? Where are you still uncomfortable? What are the current limits of your support? Is it your time? Your money? Your social circles? What are the things you are yet unwilling to surrender for the sake of truly pushing back?

It is often more comfortable to sit on the sidelines, to made snide commentary and crude memes. But that is not what is needed in this moment.  Indeed, we are taught "let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action."

So in this post-post-racial era, ask yourself what you specifically can do. Identify the spheres of your own influence and take action. Do you have influence over hiring and firing at your workplace? Do you have a voice in your local schools regarding their disciplinary policies? How is your involvement at your church shaped by principles of justice?

How are you raising your own children in this society? Are you voting knowledgeably and responsibility all the way down the ballot? Do your public officials, both locally and nationally, know where you stand? Where does your money go when it comes to your daily spending, your investing, and your charitable donations?
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If we are each willing to take action within our own spheres of influence, then we will begin living into the values professed on our Facebook feeds...and in our Bibles. Together, we will begin actually living out our redemption, having turned from our old ways into a new life.

Let us stop passively moving with the inertia of racism, and begin walking against that trajectory into a new future of justice and wholeness that God intended.

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