There are many writers these days who are talking about white privilege / white dominant culture / white supremacy. Their contention is that because white supremacy and white privilege are baked right into our culture and our systems, if we are white we are inescapably racists.
When I first read these kinds of claims, I felt defensive and angry. I wanted to argue with the writers. I wanted to claim that I have relationships with people of color, including my own granddaughter who is African American. I worked with many people of color on the streets as part of my career and many of them considered me their friend. They must be talking about “real” white supremacists, like the members of Oath Keepers or Proud Boys.
Another part of me, though, worried that maybe there was some truth to these claims that I was just blind to, or unwilling to see. I had to acknowledge that I have sometimes made judgments of people based on the color of their skin. The worried part of me felt shame and guilt for what our systems and culture have done to hurt people of color and for my own thoughts and actions that may have been harmful.
Another part of me wanted to claim that all of this talk is just reverse racism. I remember sitting with a Black friend many years ago who was talking about a woman in his neighborhood who got pulled over in a traffic stop just because she was black. I remember saying, “Not everything is about racism.” I’m embarrassed to tell that story now, in light of George Floyd.
As I examined these conflicting feelings and the stories I tell myself, I wondered, “What if the Sacred is embedded within all of these stories?” What would happen if I held all these internal monologues lightly – let go of trying to figure it all out – agreeing or disagreeing – judging myself or anyone else – trying to fix or change it – and went deeper into God’s presence – not out there – but in here, inside me. What are the spiritual practices that make me available for looking at my reactions to white privilege and white supremacy through God’s love?
I hope you’ll join me for 3, one
May 4, 11, and 18
7:00p.m. – 8:00p.m. via Zoom