My Take on Race: From a White Girl in a Multicolored Family {Guest Post}

By Jodie Pine | blog

I was blessed to grow up in a multi-colored family. My “twin” is my biracial brother, younger than me by two months. I have another brother, adopted from Brazil, who is a month older than my biological sister. And she is just 1 ½ years younger than me. My parents had their hands full.

Living in Arkansas in the 1970’s, our unique family experienced misunderstandings and discrimination. Because we were not all welcome at the city park designated for whites, we frequented the “black park.” The local Boy Scouts chapter refused to let my brother join. And I can still remember the fear I felt as we witnessed a KKK cross burning in a friend’s yard. What’s the big deal about skin color, I wondered? Why do some people think whites are superior?

I can recall how proud my sister and I were in the blazing hot summer of 1979. All four of us kids were on an outdoor swim team and, to our great delight, our skin turned the same beautiful shade as our brothers. No longer that sickly pale color. We could actually be called brown. And brown was good in our eyes. We wanted to be like our brothers, not different from them.

Then we moved from Arkansas to a North Carolina mountain town, which was predominately white. It didn’t affect my sister and me much, because we looked just like everyone else, but I’m sure–looking back now–that my brothers were constantly aware of being the minority.

During my freshman year of college at UNC-Chapel Hill, I lived in a randomly assigned suite with eight girls. Seven were black and then there was me. I learned so much during that transformative year from my roommate Sheletha. And even though it was uncomfortable at times to be the only white girl, I’m so thankful God gave me an opportunity that many white people are not privileged to get: to experience being the minority.

After college, God gave me another opportunity to be a white minority by living in the beautiful homogenous land of China. Involved in education, my husband and I raised our three biological children there, who can identify with the image of an egg: white on the outside and yellow on the inside. We adopted our two Chinese boys in 2013 and moved back to the US after 20 years in East Asia.

Last year a Chinese American friend asked me how our boys were doing in American public school, dealing with race issues. I responded that I didn’t think it was a big deal for them and we hadn’t really talked about it much. My flippant comment later made me realize how much I still live in my white privileged world. Another Asian friend at that time encouraged me to join a transracial adoption group to learn more about how race issues affect my children every day.

She wrote, “Society will tell them they’re not white. Society will treat them differently. Don’t be afraid to talk about race and racism. It will benefit them more than you know it. And it will let them know you are not there for the whole ‘I don’t see color’ ideology, because that just means you don’t value where they come from and who they are.”

Growing up as a white girl with brothers of color, and now mothering two sons of color, I am saddened to realize that I still can be sheltered under my white privilege umbrella. I’m therefore incredibly thankful for friends who have challenged me, with their probing questions, to step out from under this umbrella into the world that people of color live in. I have come to see that attempting to better understand the effects of racism on my family and friends will be a lifelong choice.

When we step into someone else’s shoes we gain a different perspective. A better understanding. While will never be able to fully enter into another’s life experience, we can move a step closer.

And we can grow deeper in our conviction that all people are wonderfully and fearfully made, handcrafted by God. Intentionally passing that belief on to the next generation, we never lose hope that–united across the racial divide–we can make a difference in this world.

Martin Luther King Jr. beautifully expressed this view:

“The whole concept of the imago dei, as it is expressed in Latin, the ‘image of God,’ is the idea that all men have something within them that God injected. Not that they have substantial unity with God, but that every man has a capacity to have fellowship with God. And this gives him a uniqueness, it gives him worth, it gives him dignity. And we must never forget this as a nation: There are no gradations in the image of God. Every man from a treble white to a bass black is significant on God’s keyboard, precisely because every man is made in the image of God. One day we will learn that. We will know one day that God made us to live together as brothers and to respect the dignity and worth of every man. That is why we must fight segregation with all of our nonviolent might.”

The reality is that people born into a life of white privilege will never experience the kind of fear and anger and discrimination directed toward those born with black, brown, or yellow skin. And even though it would be easy to do, I strongly believe that privileged white people cannot shut the door, turn the other way, and ignore what is happening right now all around us. We must join together to fight against injustice. Fight for those who face mistreatment every single day of their lives. Mistreatment simply because of the color of their skin.

Even if it’s not our personal battle, it must become our battle. The people suffering from injustice are our brothers and sisters. Our sons and daughters.

Surrounded by different skin colors…

So much beauty in the color. If we choose to see.

So much racism. If we choose to label.

Injustice seems to be growing in our world today.

How do we fight it?

How can we celebrate the diversity of colors and see past the skin to what is in the heart?

So that we can discover the unity in our humanity.

And realize that we are all people wonderfully and fearfully made,

handcrafted by God.

So much alike underneath our different colored skin.

With human hurts and human dreams.

***

About Jodie:

As a mom, I juggle two different kinds of parenting — long-distance to our 3 adult kids (who are white on the outside but very Chinese on the inside) and our two adopted Chinese boys at home who have special needs. Since being back in the US, my husband has taken up cooking Chinese food, with a specialty of Lanzhou beef noodles (where we used to live and where our boys are from), giving us a taste of “home.” You can follow our story on my blog. I am also on Instagram and Facebook.

Sign up for my newsletter by February 28th and be entered to win a copy of Beyond Colorblind! (U.S. residents only)

Sign up for my Mid-month Digest and Secret Newsletter Here:

How is God calling you to enter the race conversation? 

This month we’ll be discussing racism, privilege and bridge building. If you’d like to guest post on this topic, please email me at scrapingraisins(dot)gmail(dot)com. Yes, this is awkward and fraught with the potential for missteps, blunders and embarrassing moments, but it’s necessary. Join me?

I’ll go first.

(Consider joining the Facebook group Be the Bridge to Racial Unity to learn more about how God is moving in this sphere.)

If you are a writer, consider using the hashtag #WOCwithpens to showcase the writing of our black and brown sisters of faith every Wednesday specifically, but anytime as well! You can find the explanation for the hashtag here.

If you’re a white person who’s new to all of this, I compiled some resources to start you on your journey (because I’m not much farther ahead):

70+ Race Resources for White People

80+ MORE Race Resources for White people

**Contains Amazon affiliate links

Interview with On Ramp Hosts Shane Blackshear & Kerri Fisher (+BOOKS!)

A few years ago I started listening to a podcast called Seminary Dropout. The host was thoughtful and the guests were usually influential authors and interesting voices in Christian circles. Shane Blackshear and Kerri Fisher started up a spin-off podcast back in 2016 called On Ramp that’s meant to be a starting point (an “on ramp”) for those just entering the race conversation. Season 2 was released in December of 2017. As I’ve really benefitted from the podcast, I reached out to them and Shane and Kerri agreed to answer a few questions for me. I’m excited to share this interview with you!

1. Could you tell us a bit more about yourselves? Where do you live? What’s your day job? Who are your people?

Kerri: Well, my name is Kerri Fisher. I live in Waco, Texas. I work at Baylor University as a full-time lecturer in the school of social work. My people? Hmmmm, members of the Branch Church in Abilene and Doxology Church in Austin (both now defunct in the literal sense but alive in the supernatural sense).  Also, I suppose, my people are writers, readers, comedians & other creatives/contemplators as well as my literal family The Charles Fishers and all my chosen family accumulated over the years. That’s as brief as I can be if I am to be accurate and appropriately inclusive.

Shane: I’m Shane Blackshear. I live in Austin, Texas. I host a podcast called Seminary Dropout in addition to On Ramp with Kerri, and I work in real estate. My people are my wife Kate, my two kids Margot and Amos, and my church family of Austin Mustard Seed.

2. How do you two know each other and how did you decide to start this podcast?

Shane: We met and became good friends in college, and have been ever since. Through my other podcast, Seminary Dropout I had some eye opening conversations with people who are, in my opinion, some of the greatest thinkers in the area of race and racial justice. Meanwhile I think Kerri had also been working through some issues on race through her own family history and her career in social work. We’d talk about this stuff when we saw each other here and there. At some point the idea popped into my head and I asked Kerri if she would do a podcast with me on race through the lens of our Christian faith. The rest is history.

Kerri: Yes, Shane has relayed this accurately.

Shane Blackshear and Kerri Fisher, the hosts of On Ramp

3. For those of us who have no idea what goes into producing a podcast, what is the process involved in creating it?

Kerri: It is hilarious for me to answer this question first. I want to say, “I have no idea?” For my part the process is thinking and talking with Shane about what we want to communicate, then going to Shane’s house to record and then sending academic or other research support for any claims I have made during the recording. Shane can now explain everything cool and technological that I actively avoid learning.

Shane: Kerri’s downplaying her role. The planning part is one of the most important steps. Also On Ramp couldn’t exist without the academic and other research, and Kerri with her academic background is much better at that part that I am. We’re big on truth at On Ramp, so obtaining reliable information is everything. Beyond that, the technological stuff is pretty boring, but basically I set up the mics, mixer, and recorder, do some sound editing, write show notes, and upload the audio file. I should probably do more promotion afterwards, but by the time I get to that part I’m exhausted (Please tell your friends about this show).

4. Do you have a favorite episode? Why?

Shane: It’s hard to pick, partly because they all kind of blend together and partly because I’m proud of them all. Actually the first one stands out to me. That’s where we got to really lay out our vision and heart for On Ramp and what we wanted it to be.

Kerri: In general my honest answer is that I always get a kick out of the ones where we get a little giggly, it reminds me of our college glory days and its sweet to have that recorded. As for a specific favorite, I agree they all blend together a bit, but I remember really liking our first episode of season two more than I thought I would because we got “Jesusy” and I am always nervous to suggest  or have the appearance of suggesting that I have a better idea than anyone else who Jesus is,  or how to be a Christian,  or how to navigate this human experience, but as I re-listened to that episode I must say, I felt touched at what we stumbled on together about the holiness—the otherworldliness of laying down privilege. It made me feel warm. And I hope it did for others too.

5. What was the hardest episode to record? Why?

Kerri: I would say for me generally the hardest episodes are when I am sharing personal things about what it means to be a person of color rather than academic considerations. My childhood self is very shocked and appalled at how frequently I am telling the truth about the challenges of oppression and privilege—she was very happy to ignore race and its consequences, so sometimes that still creeps up in episodes like the one from season two about being a black woman in white evangelical spaces. In the moment of the actual recording though, the hardest episode for me was the final episode in season 1 where Shane and I processed our own relational and podcast related hiccups related to our own identity-related behaviors. Even though those hiccups were very minor, I still felt shaky as we discussed the impacts of privilege and oppression in our own very real relationship. I think that’s crazy because Shane and I have been extremely close friends for over 15 years and there are still ways that talking about race can feel awkward even for the two of us.

Shane: The episodes that require the most vulnerability are always hard. I see my role in this podcast as one that is first one of a listening posture. As a biracial woman, Kerri has the lived experience of having racism directed at her as all people of color do. As a white guy, my lived experience is one of privilege. So my hope is that I model a listening posture, and a willingness to lay down my privilege as much as I can and be a champion of Kerri’s words and experience. That’s not easy, so while I can’t nail it down to a specific episode, the times when I’ve needed to be quiet and acknowledge & lay down my privilege are not comfortable.

6. What are your favorite/go-to books about race?

Shane: I love this question. I always love recommending books because they say it so much better than I ever could. For me these books make up my required reading list when it comes to matters of race in no particular order:

The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander

The Myth of Equality, Ken Wytsma

Let Justice Roll Down, John Perkins

Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism, Drew Hart

Disunity in Christ, Christena Cleveland

Red, Brown, Yellow, Black, White—Who’s More Precious In God’s Sight?, Leroy Barber

 

Kerri: Oh boy. Yes to lots of Shane’s suggestions. I also really have been touched by at least portions of each of the following:

The Souls of Black Folks, W.E.B. Dubois

Dreams from My Father, Barack Obama

The Hidden Wound, Wendall Berry

The Color of Water, James McBride

Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness, Toure

The Devil’s Highway, Luis Alberto Urrea

Negroland: A Memoir, Margo Jefferson

I am eager to read:

The Potlicker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South, John T. Edge

Where the Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir, Amy Tan

The Warmth of Other Sons, Isabel Wilkerson

7. Have you gotten any push-back or criticism from listeners? What kinds of things?

Kerri: I have been really surprised, relieved and grateful for how kind and supportive our listeners have been to us. I think we’ve had a few people who wanted to hear more theology or more or different content on a certain race-related concept but that is to be expected and as long as it is delivered in a gracious manner it is encouraged. We are very interested in what our listeners are interested in.

Shane: Like Kerri I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the lack of criticism, especially harsh criticism. Unlike a written blog post, you can’t skim a podcast. I think people who would be harsh critics just don’t take the time to listen. The criticism we have received has been scattered. Someone took issues because we “changed the definition of racism”, but the definition we used, “prejudice plus power”, is the definition that relevant professionals have used for a long time. Someone else gently asked why we haven’t talked about oppression towards women, which is a subject I think we both care about deeply, but we can’t say all truths in the world at the same time. On Ramp is specifically about race through the lens of Christianity so we focus on that. So the criticism has been light and for the most part respectful. I assume that if On Ramp picks up steam the longer it’s out there, we’ll start to receive heavier push back.

8. As this interview is published, the much-anticipated Black Panther film is about to come out. In your opinion, what is all the buzz about? 

Shane: There’s another podcast that’s great (and I have to admit more popular that either of my podcasts), called “Truth’s Table” hosted by three black Christian women. It’s fantastic! In the first episode I happened to listen to the women just talked about how excited they were for Black Panther. The trailer had just come out and they were dissecting every frame. Their excitement was contagious.

There have been over 55 feature length Marvel & DC movies made since the year 2000 and none of them have featured a black main character. Even Ghost Rider got 2 movies in that time, and Ghost Rider is terrible.

People of color are not only under-represented in super hero movies, but in all media, and when they are represented it’s done poorly. Too often people of color are represented as criminals or people with low morals, or they’re the black best friend stereotype existing for the white leading characters benefit. The general story of Black Panther is an empowering story of a man and a society who don’t need help from white people. The characters are extremely intelligent and their society is advanced.

Kerri: Well, I know literally nothing about Black Panther and had little interest in seeing it, but Shane has now convinced me. I am certainly interested in supporting films that represent the complexity of black people and blackness because that has been a lifetime longing of mine that has rarely been offered or available to me. Fingers crossed for Black Panther and more and more good storytelling to come.

9. Will there be a season 3 of On Ramp? If so, what are some of the topics you still hope to discuss in future episodes?

Kerri: Well, as of this writing Shane and I haven’t discussed season 3 very much but I guess I would say I would love to do a third season if we have evidence that people are listening to it and find it useful. I’m not sure what topics we would discuss next—I loved hearing listener questions and interests at the end of season 1 so hopefully that would give us some ideas. We both love discussing entertainment and politics, so I could see us finding news and entertainment stories and applying some of the concepts from seasons 1 & 2? I don’t know though. I’ll eagerly await Shane’s answer.

Shane: Like Kerri eluded, I think it depends on the feedback. It is a considerable amount of work, and although we like to do it, if people aren’t connecting to it, or if there are more affective resources out there, then we have no problem ending On Ramp at season 2 and being proud of the work we did. That all sounds pessimistic but I don’t mean it to be. I hope that On Ramp is meaningful and helpful to many people and that we’ll keep going for seasons to come. So if anyone out there has feedback or suggestions of what they’d like to hear in the future, please let us know!

***

Thank you, Shane and Kerri for providing such a wonderful podcast for all of us. And I am so grateful you took the time to answer my questions for this interview!

If you haven’t had a chance to listen to the podcast yet, you can find On Ramp Season 1 and 2 here!

Sign up for my newsletter by February 28th and be entered to win a copy of Beyond Colorblind! (U.S. residents only)

Sign up for my Mid-month Digest and Secret Newsletter Here:

How is God calling you to enter the race conversation? 

This month we’ll be discussing racism, privilege and bridge building. If you’d like to guest post on this topic, please email me at scrapingraisins(dot)gmail(dot)com. Yes, this is awkward and fraught with the potential for missteps, blunders and embarrassing moments, but it’s necessary. Join me?

I’ll go first.

(Consider joining the Facebook group Be the Bridge to Racial Unity to learn more about how God is moving in this sphere.)

If you are a writer, consider using the hashtag #WOCwithpens to showcase the writing of our black and brown sisters of faith every Wednesday specifically, but anytime as well! You can find the explanation for the hashtag here.

If you’re a white person who’s new to all of this, I compiled some resources to start you on your journey (because I’m not much farther ahead):

70+ Race Resources for White People

80+ MORE Race Resources for White people

**This post includes Amazon Affiliate links

Ten White Privilege Metaphors

Metaphors and analogies help bring clarity to fuzzy thinking. These ten privilege metaphors not only apply to white privilege, but also to economic inequality. Of course, every metaphor breaks down on some level, so keep that in mind as you mull these over.

1. Different Starting Lines

If life is a race, then people of color have a different starting line than white people. This video, called The Unequal Opportunity Race, is a fantastic depiction of the additional hurdles and roadblocks people of color face as they “race” white people in life.

2. Monopoly Game

Privilege is a like a monopoly game where black people are invited to play after white people have already been playing for three days—the property has been sold and the resources handed out, and yet the people of color need to somehow make it around the board. (I couldn’t find a specific source for this metaphor, because it seems like a widely accepted one.)

3. Tall and Short People

This metaphor by Omar Ismail, explained in greater and more comedic detail here,  removes some of the emotions from this discussion. He compares white people to tall people who can reach higher shelves and experience more conveniences because they are tall. It simply means there are advantages to being tall.

4. Bikes and Cars

This article, “What My Bike Has Taught Me About White Privilege,” suggests that privilege is like being a bike person or a car person. Cars are less aware of bikes and bikes need to cater to the cars on the road.

5. Gaming—Easy, Moderate, Hard Settings

In this article, “Straight White Male, The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is,” John Scalzi explains white privilege using a gaming metaphor. While you can still lose on this setting, you are playing against others who are using moderate and hard settings, so you have all the advantage in the game.

6. The Closest to the Goal

I recently attended a seminar that used this metaphor for white privilege. The men used an image of three people in a row trying to throw a paper ball into a trash can. They said the teacher gave the directive that if they make a basket, they get an A on the exam. Obviously those in the front row have the advantage. And there’s the added layer that they are not aware of the people in the rows behind them. A teacher adapted this idea into a lesson plan to teach his high school students about the concept of privilege.

7. The Invisible Knapsack

This is possibly the most well-known way to identify white privilege, which Peggy Macintosh describes as the “invisible knapsack.” She shares statements for people to check off to identify whether or not they have privilege. This Privilege Walk Lesson Plan uses a similar format, but has  students in a gym take steps forward or backward based on a list of statements that highlight their privilege or lack of privilege. 

8. Born on Third Base

Cactus Pryor describes privilege as someone who was born on third base and thinks they hit a triple. They don’t recognize that they are privileged from birth.

9. The Caterpillar and the Snail

“Sometimes You’re a Caterpillar” is short (and cute) story about a caterpillar and snail who are friends trying to get under a fence. The caterpillar doesn’t understand why the snail can’t just fit under the fence. She eventually has some epiphanies about the struggles of her friend.

10. No Left Turn Lane

White privilege is having a left turn lane, while people of color must wait for the oncoming cars to pass before turning left. (Chicago city drivers have first-hand experience with the joy of turn lanes when you’re not used to having one.)

More Resources:

On Ramp Podcast is a fabulous podcast for succinct, yet in depth discussion of race issues through a conversation between a white man and an African American woman. These two podcasts on white privilege are very informative: Privilege and White Privilege Revisited 

White Privilege Explained in One Simple Comic (language alert)

Another comic from The Wireless

***

Sign up for my newsletter by February 28th and be entered to win a copy of Beyond Colorblind! (U.S. residents only)

Sign up for my Mid-month Digest and Secret Newsletter Here:

 

How is God calling you to enter the race conversation? 

This month we’ll be discussing racism, privilege and bridge building. If you’d like to guest post on this topic, please email me at scrapingraisins(dot)gmail(dot)com. Yes, this is awkward and fraught with the potential for missteps, blunders and embarrassing moments, but it’s necessary. Join me?

I’ll go first.

 

 

(Consider joining the Facebook group Be the Bridge to Racial Unity to learn more about how God is moving in this sphere.)

If you are a writer, consider using the hashtag #WOCwithpens to showcase the writing of our black and brown sisters of faith every Wednesday specifically, but anytime as well! You can find the explanation for the hashtag here.

If you’re a white person who’s new to all of this, I compiled some resources to start you on your journey (because I’m not much farther ahead):

70+ Race Resources for White People

80+ MORE Race Resources for White people

**This post includes Amazon Affiliate links

Ten Metaphors for Understanding White Privilege

Why Do We Have to Keep Talking about Slavery? (The Facts We Like to Hide.)

You can see from my headshot that I am very, very white. I’m mostly German,  part Irish and part English. God made me white on purpose–just like he made you the way you look on purpose.

But whiteness carries invisible baggage from the past that often gets pushed under the rug in the name of “colorblindness.”

“Can’t we just forget and move on?”

“Why do we have to keep talking about slavery? Let’s focus on now, not then.”

“I didn’t have slaves.”

“I have friends from all races and am not racist.”

“I don’t see color, I just see people.”

It’s time for white people to recognize that while the past may not seem to be affecting us, it impacts people of color every single day.

The past soaks deep into our souls like ground water polluted by a gasoline leak so many years ago.

It is naive to assume history has no impact on the present.

But the truth is that we don’t want to be reminded. The fact that there are so few museums in the U.S. dedicated to slavery testifies that white people prefer to forget this aspect of our nation’s history.

So as I begin this month-long theme on racism, privilege and bridge building, I want to state some facts that I as a white person prefer to hide. They are the things I hesitate to tell my children because I don’t want them to know they are born into a tarnished, shameful history. But today, let’s drag these facts into the blinding light.

Because healing begins in the light.

Here are a few of the facts. I recommend reading them aloud so you don’t glaze over their weight:

Most black people came to North America as slaves. They were enslaved by white people, my ancestors.

Slavery lasted from 1619 to 1865. That’s 246 years of enslaving an entire race based solely on the color of their skin. If a generation is 25 years, that’s about 10 generations of slavery.

African Americans have been free for 153 years. Just six generations ago, our co-workers, friends, spouses, and classmates of color would have been born into slavery.

Segregation in schools was made illegal in 1954–just 64 years ago. But most schools, like my county in Tampa, FL, did not integrate schools until they were under court order to do so in the 1970’s. I attended schools in all African American neighborhoods under court order to desegregate. But today those court orders have been lifted and most schools are more segregated than ever.

All legally-enforced public segregation was abolished in 1964. Just 54 years ago.

My parents drank from water fountains only white people could drink from, ate in segregated restaurants, and attended segregated schools.

Interracial marriage was illegal until 1967. Just 51 years ago, it would have been illegal to marry a person of another race.

From the NAACP website:

Though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately 32% of the US population, they comprised 56% of all incarcerated people in 2015.

African Americans are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of whites.

The imprisonment rate for African American women is twice that of white women.

In the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 17 million whites and 4 million African Americans reported having used an illicit drug within the last month.

African Americans and whites use drugs at similar rates, but the imprisonment rate of African Americans for drug charges is almost 6 times that of whites.

1 in 3 black men will be incarcerated in their lifetime.

Unarmed black Americans are five times as likely as unarmed white Americans to be shot and killed by a police officer, according to a Washington Post article from 2016.

By the time their kids are entering kindergarten, my African American friends and friends who have adopted children of color have already had conversations with their children about how to safely interact with teachers, police officers and white people in general.

***

And yet most white people still believe we live in a “post-racial society,” lumping slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, unequal incarceration, and housing, education, and wealth disparities together as “the past.”

But James Baldwin wrote, “History is not the past. It is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history.” (“Black English: A Dishonest Argument”)

Our first step in pulling up a chair to the table of the race conversation, then, is to acknowledge that the trauma of the past is still rippling and raging into today.

***

This is an interesting resource about slavery education in U.S. classrooms: Teaching Hard History: American Slavery

If you’re a white person who’s new to all of this, I compiled some resources to start you on your journey (because I’m not much farther ahead):

70+ Race Resources for White People

80+ MORE Race Resources for White people

How is God calling you to enter the race conversation? 

This month we’ll be discussing racism, privilege and bridge building. If you’d like to guest post on this topic, please email me at scrapingraisins(dot)gmail(dot)com. Yes, this is awkward and fraught with the potential for missteps, blunders and embarrassing moments, but it’s necessary. Join me?

I’ll go first.

Sign up for my Mid-month Digest and Secret Newsletter Here:

 

(Consider joining the Facebook group Be the Bridge to Racial Unity to learn more about how God is moving in this sphere.)

If you are a writer, consider using the hashtag #WOCwithpens to showcase the writing of our black and brown sisters of faith every Wednesday specifically, but anytime as well! You can find the explanation for the hashtag here.

Why Do We Have to Keep Talking about Slavery? (The Facts We Like to Hide.)

Can I Say “She’s Black”? (Why White Christians Need to Talk about Race.)

When you’re white, talking about race can be awkward.

Can we call someone “black” or should we say “African American”?

Will people think I’m a racist if I mention race?

If I actually like rap or hip hop, would it be weird to bring that up with my African American friend at risk of seeming like I’m stereotyping?

Can I compliment an African American woman on her hair?

Should I say “mixed,” “biracial,” or something else?

Can I ask my Asian friend where she’s from?

Should I say “Latino,” “Latina,” “Hispanic,” “Mexican,” or something else?

Did that just sound like I was trying to talk “black,” I hope he didn’t think I was making fun of him or trying too hard  …

I’ll just pretend race doesn’t matter, I “just see people”–race is “just a social construct,” after all … I’m colorblind.

***

One friend admitted that entering the race conversation as a white woman feels like walking in a minefield. For the white person who fears saying, thinking or being the wrong thing, there seem to be hazards everywhere.

But white people–white women in particular–need to engage in this difficult conversation.

Here’s why.

Because white women raise white children who grow up to be white men and women.

Because white women have the ear and heart of the men in our lives who still carry more power in the country than we do.

Because white women have greater influence than we realize.

Yes, discussing race is awkward. We’re going to mess up and use the wrong words, say stupid things and feel angry, confused and misunderstood. But if we say we love our brothers and sisters of color sitting next to us in the church pews, then it’s time to listen.

When we finally stop covering our ears, squeezing our eyes shut, and pretending the past doesn’t impact our today, we hear them crying out for allies and advocates to notice and speak out against their current struggle. Because though we are not separate, we are not treated equally.

Though I as a white woman have the luxury of being colorblind, my black and brown sisters and brothers do not.

This is from a post I wrote last year, called Does Talking about Race Perpetuate Disunity?:

The book Divided by Faith, a highly-researched book on evangelical’s views on race, concludes that the white perspective often dismisses institutional and systemic racism. Most white evangelicals do not acknowledge that we currently live in a racialized society. The authors push back (with documentation for each sentence in the book).

They claim this perspective misses “that whites can move to most any neighborhood, eat at most any restaurant, walk down most any street, or shop at most any store without having to worry or find out that they are not wanted, whereas African Americans often cannot.

This perspective misses that white Americans can be almost certain that when stopped by the police, it has nothing to do with race, whereas African Americans cannot.

This perspective misses that whites are assumed to be middle class unless proven otherwise, are not expected to speak for their race, can remain ignorant of other cultures without penalty, and do not have to ask every time something goes wrong if it is due to race, whereas African Americans cannot.

This perspective misses that white Americans are far more likely than black Americans to get a solid education, avoid being a victim of a crime, and have family and friends with money to help when extra cash is needed for college, a car, or a house.” –Divided by Faith (p. 90)

Yes, God’s love sets us all on equal ground, but when American society does not, God’s love should be the fuel that sets his children on fire for justice.

Followers of Jesus should be on the forefront of the race conversation.

We should advocate for equal treatment, housing, justice, education and rights for our black and brown brothers and sisters in Christ.

When others are silent, we should speak out. But we also must follow, listen and learn.

Solidarity demands a posture of humility.

Yes, we are called to love God and rest in who we are in Christ as representatives of the Imago Dei, but we are also called to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. And loving our neighbor requires entering uncomfortable conversations and spaces for the sake of love. It’s time to admit that just because we can’t see the mountain, doesn’t mean it isn’t there, looming behind our white fog.

***

How is God calling you to enter the race conversation? 

This month we’ll be discussing racism, privilege and bridge building. If you’d like to guest post on this topic, please email me at scrapingraisins(dot)gmail(dot)com. Yes, this is awkward and fraught with the potential for missteps, blunders and embarrassing moments, but it’s necessary. Join me?

I’ll go first.

Sign up for my Mid-month Digest and Secret Newsletter Here:

 

(Consider joining the Facebook group Be the Bridge to Racial Unity to learn more about how God is moving in this sphere.)

If you are a writer, consider using the hashtag #WOCwithpens to showcase the writing of our black and brown sisters of faith every Wednesday specifically, but anytime as well! You can find the explanation for the hashtag here.

Check out this spoken word poetry by Micah Bournes today. I cry every time I watch this.:

***This post contains Amazon Affiliate links (no extra cost to you, pennies to me!)

#WhiteChurchQuiet and How the White Church Can Get It Right

I skipped church the week Alton Sterling and Alando Castile were gunned down. I feared their names wouldn’t be mentioned from the pulpit.

I wanted to protect myself from bitterness that our all-white church could afford to not even notice the tsunami happening in the African-American community. Instead, I immersed myself in downloaded sermons from churches with people of color at the helm, finding they were not as bitter as I was. It turns out this was not a new phenomenon to them like it was to me. They had seen it all before. And they’d see it again.

I found myself gathering a similar resolve this past weekend after Charlottesville, my insides coiling and preparing to fight or flee as a response to the inevitable silence of our white church. We’ve since changed churches, but our 98 percent white church has tended to shy away from controversy in the past, so I suspected silence from the pulpit.

I was wrong.

Our pastor hit it head-on. We began our service with a congregational prayer and response for racial healing. From there, he launched into a lament and a call to us to do more, be more, learn more. He shared a time when he got it wrong in a partnership with a local black church.

Our church doing a congregational prayer and response after Charlottesville.

The white church has so far to go. In Lisa Sharon Harper’s recent guest post on Ann Voskamp’s blog, she pointed out that race is often considered an extracurricular activity for the church. But fighting for equal justice for men and women of color is not the same as signing up to help with the monthly newcomer’s potluck. It is not the same as giving money for overseas missions or serving in the soup kitchen.

This is not just one lane of many that we can choose to advocate for—the lane of racial healing is for every single member of the body of Christ. For when one part of our body is hurting, the rest suffers.

We all know how these things go. The internet will be deafeningly loud—for a while. The buzz will quiet down for a time until the next brown teenager is shot or the next rally is broadcasted.

But what if the white church couldn’t be identified as #whitechurchquiet any longer—a Twitter hashtag coined by Andre E. Johnson as a way of calling attention to the silence of the white church? What if the white church was known as a champion of our brown and black brothers and sisters in Christ? What if the white church was the loudest cry, the longest march and the most insistent voice in the fight for equal justice for every breathing human made in the image of God on this planet?

What if?

I am tempted to tune out and turn off the noise. I feel numb to the hate, paralyzed by the need for change.

But the church does not have the luxury of scurrying away and hiding from pain.The church does not have the right to cover her eyes until this, too, has passed. No, the church needs to step into the fire. 

We are the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The church is fueled by the Spirit of the living God and the resurrected King of Kings. This is not the time for the church to cower. This is the time for the church to come out of hiding and love with all the love we have been given. It is the time to speak into the spheres where we live, work and worship.

These are not dark days, for God is not dead. He is piercing the darkness. He wants the white church to join Him.

Race Resources:

70+ Race Resources for White People

80+ MORE Race Resources for White People

Facebook groups:

Be the Bridge

Pass the Mic

What if the white church was the loudest cry, the longest march and the most insistent voice in the fight for equal justice for every breathing human made in the image of God on this planet?

Day 20: The Problem with the Wordless Book {31 Days of #WOKE}

“The black represents sin, red is the blood of Jesus, which brings us to the next bead—white, when we are washed clean of our sin.”

We sat in pairs and prepared to share the gospel by color. I was 16 and going on my first mission trip to Costa Rica. Our church youth group had practiced our mime for months—an allegory of the story of Jesus–and our bags were loaded with extra Bibles in Spanish. We all memorized some basic Spanish so we could share the gospel as we gave away bracelets with colored beads, called “Power Bands.”

This method of evangelism, a bracelet version of the “Wordless Book” has been an evangelistic tool since the end of the nineteenth century. It is said to have been invented by the famous English preacher, Charles Spurgeon. In this method, each color represents an aspect of the gospel. The Teen Missions website gives the following guide:

Each color of the Wordless Book / Wordless Bracelet represents an important Bible truth about Salvation

BLACKSin  Romans 3:23 | All have sinned

RED Blood  I John 1:7 | Jesus’ blood covers all sin

WHITE Pure Psalm 51:7 | Jesus washes away confessed sin

YELLOW Heaven John 14:2 | Believe on Jesus and receive Eternal Life

GREEN Grow 2 Peter 3:18 | Grow in the knowledge of the Lord

In a sermon delivered in 1866, Spurgeon read the verse : “Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Ps. 51:7), then shared:

“There is something about this in the text, for the person who used this prayer said, “Wash me,” so he was black and needed to be washed; and the blackness was of such a peculiar kind that a miracle was needed to cleanse it away, so that the one who had been black would become white, and so white that he would be “whiter than snow.”

If I were in the presence of an African American as this sermon was delivered, I would certainly be cringing every time the word “black” was spoken.

The imagery of purity being associated with the color white and sin or evil being associated with the color black is commonplace in western culture. But what is happening at the level of our subconscious when we associate “black” with sin and “white” with purity and then turn around and categorize one another as “white” and “black”?

I can hear the naysayers now:

“Don’t be so touchy.”

“Does everything have to be about race?”

But as a mother, I have to wonder what my children internalize when they are taught that black is sin and white is purity.  Which color would you rather be?

Perhaps it is time to abandon the Wordless Book.

If you were (or are) a person of color, how would it make you feel to sing the following song (as is recommended by websites advocating the Wordless Book):

“Wordless Book” Song by Frances M. Johnston

(Show the colors as you sing.) 

(Black) My heart was dark with sin until the Savior came in.

(Red) His precious blood I know

(White) Has washed it white as snow.

(Gold) And in His Word I’m told I’ll walk the streets of gold.

(Green) To grow in Christ each day I read the Bible and pray.

Along with the fact that this method implies that black is bad and white is good, another problem with the Wordless Book is that our associations with color are not universal. When I lived in China, for example, I learned that white is the color of death and used in funerals and red symbolizes good fortune. In this regard, short term missionaries can sometimes do more harm than good when they fail to study language and culture before trying to share Christ in a foreign land.

We can do damage when we assume our western symbols are universal. Using the Wordless Book in a place like China would be nothing more than confusing (which is interesting since according to Wikipedia at least, it was used by China Inland Mission and missionary Hudson Taylor in China).

Open-air preaching in China using the Wordless Book

So what are some alternatives?

Rather than using colors, some people use the metaphors of being “dirty” and “clean,” utilizing object lessons like a dirty T-shirt washed clean to present the truth of salvation. Another alternative is to use the more biblical language of “light” and “darkness” when talking about sin and salvation. Though the Bible uses the word “white” in reference to purity, it never uses the word “black” to describe sin. The closest the Bible comes to color-coding sin is in Isaiah 1:18 that says “Though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.”

God can and does use even our faulty methods to share His love. But if there is any chance that our methods offend, confuse, belittle or perpetuate stereotypes, then perhaps we should abandon them for the sake of unity.

New to the Series? Start HERE (though you can jump in at any point!).

A 31 Day Series Exploring Whiteness and Racial Perspectives

During the month of March, 2017, I will be sharing a series called 31 Days of #Woke. I’ll be doing some personal excavating of views of race I’ve developed through being in schools that were under court order to be integrated, teaching in an all black school as well as in diverse classrooms in Chicago and my experiences of whiteness living in Uganda and China. I’ll also have some people of color share their views and experiences of race in the United States (I still have some open spots, so contact me if you are a person of color who wants to share). So check back and join in the conversation. You are welcome in this space.

 

Images: 1) Bracelets  2) Open-air preaching in China

Day 17: Moving Towards Different: My Reconciliation Call {Guest Post for 31 Days of #WOKE}

 

By Tasha Burgoyne | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

(This post first appeared on Tasha’s site Coffee and Kimchi in July of 2016, but is still very relevant now. She shared it with me recently and agreed to republish it in this series. Be sure you head over and check out her site!)

My Existence: Formerly Against the Law

50 years ago, the country I was born in had laws in place to prevent my birth. With a righteous-sounding title like “The Racial Integrity Act,” racism was formalized and normalized in the United States of America, and up until 1967 there were still 15 states that had anti-miscegenation laws.

Miscegenation means, “the interbreeding of people considered to be of different racial types.”  Does that make anyone else want to cringe? So, it was illegal for a white person to marry a non-white person.

The first time I read about The Racial Integrity Act of 1924, I cried. Evil, oppressive and dark, the laws were similar to the Nuremberg Laws in Germany, “laws to protect German blood and honor,” that led to the Holocaust itself.  Some of the very same ideology and blatant racism was written into the American laws to “protect whiteness.”

I find it ironic that some of America’s beloved Hollywood films throughout history have made a point to further vilify some villains on screen with thick German accents (and this still happens today). Yet, America had Nazi-like laws in place long after the Holocaust.

It wasn’t until June of 1967, because of Loving vs. Virginia, that the Supreme Court decided to remove all existing laws that prohibit interracial marriage. My parents were married in 1971 in California. While it had been legal in California since 1948, it’s hard for me to comprehend that in many states, just 4 years prior, my parents’ marriage would have been illegal.

Can you imagine for a second what it feels like to know that there were laws in your own country to prohibit someone like you from existing?

100% Both

As a mixed person, I am not one or the other; I am both. 100% both. I have spent time wishing I was one or the other. I have spent years ashamed of one or the other, or the fact that I was both.

Today, I refuse to linger in that division. No matter what laws have been removed or put into place, and though progress has been made, reconciliation is the only thing that I believe will bring true, lasting change. In the simplest terms, reconciliation starts with moving towards different in honesty and humility 

As a mixed person, my own personal reconciliation has had to begin with moving towards the different inside of me.

This takes on even more significance when I consider that mixed race individuals are the fastest growing demographic in the U.S. How will we model reconciliation for future biracial generations? What example will they give an even more mixed generation that follows them?

After the horrific events that took place in our country last week, I realize that I am no expert on racism. I can’t speak to the black experience as if I know what my African American brothers and sisters have long endured because of institutional racism. However, I can speak-up for the value of life and the fact that black lives have been under attack and oppressed by systemic racism for as long as our country has had a history.

I can’t speak to what it must feel like to be a white police officer in our country, working under the weight of reverse racism. However, I can speak-up against reverse racism and the fact that it has attacked our nation by taking the lives of those who serve Americans in one of the most courageous ways. What I have personally experienced as a biracial Asian American pales in comparison to these recent heart-breaking tragedies and the people connected to them.

But here’s the thing. What took place this past week isn’t a new thing. The evil of racism has been here, laying right under the surface of everyday life, kept alive in part, because so many of us avoid moving towards different and the responsibility of reconciliation.

I have been told that I should just let little things go when it comes to racist remarks or incidents. People have said “most aren’t that way,” or, “they didn’t really mean it like that,” as a way to brush off seemingly little offenses. I have tried those responses and I wish they worked. They don’t work. Brushing things off in order to avoid the hard work of reconciliation feeds and waters the thick, growing weed of racism.

A “good” kid made slanted eye faces at me when I was little, and an entire generation later, my 2nd grader tells me that this has happened on his elementary school playground. I am not sure what hurts me more: my personal memories of a classmate pulling the corners of his eyelids back and laughing, or hearing that my son has experienced the same thing.

I have heard careless comments about the foods I grew up eating, foods that come with the stories of my mother’s upbringing and culture.  I’ve watched people turn their noses up in disgust at particular Asian foods until it became trendy; those same people later ended up in watered-down “ethnic” restaurants taking selfies, while remaining blind to and unapologetic for their duplicity.

I have tried to understand how white (and Christian) friends can laugh while watching A Christmas Story and claim it to be their favorite Christmas movie, when it has a deliberately racist scene in it. I was introduced to this movie at a church youth group gathering of all places. Did you know that the Asian actors in the Chinese restaurant scene didn’t even know they would be singing mispronounced Christmas carols? Asian Americans are not a comedic prop for the larger majority of Americans.

It wouldn’t be right if I just listed the racism I have experienced from the majority white culture. Other Asian Americans have told me that I’m not a real Asian. I’ve been uninvited by a group of Korean Americans because I couldn’t speak Korean. And beyond our country’s borders, I have seen racism between a lot of different colors. In Asia, I have been told that I am too dark-skinned to be Asian. And when I was 7 years old, my sister and I were spit on by a group of teenage boys on a sidewalk in Seoul, because we were mixed.

Facing Racism and Choosing Reconciliation

Racism is everywhere. Even in me. I have seen it in my own thoughts, in my silence, in my reasons and in my own words. Until you and I are willing to face and admit our part in keeping racism alive, it will continue to linger and lay under the surface in our hearts, families, communities, churches and future.  Do not believe the lie that racism can be covered up or contained. Do not believe that by segregating ourselves, we will stay safe and keep our hearts sanitized from the sin of racism.

As a Christ-follower, ignoring and avoiding the broken place of racism isn’t an option. As an American mother, I refuse to model silence, fear and separation. I intend to make it a priority to teach my sons what it means to stand up against racism and move towards reconciliation.

As an adoptive mother, I refuse to raise my Korean daughter with the marching orders to assimilate and keep the majority or minority boat from rocking. I intend to teach her to celebrate and move towards the different in her own identity and in the world.

As the daughter of a white man and wife of another white man, I will not encourage reverse racism as an acceptable or better form of racism. As a follower of Jesus, I am committed to move towards the different because Jesus modeled this.  Not only did Jesus choose a minority and oppressed people to be born into and live among, He consistently moved towards different in his day. He has promised that he is preparing a place for His people: a global and colorful people of every nation, tribe, and language.

If God wanted us to be colorblind, he wouldn’t have created the visible beauty and diversity of color among us.

 He made us to notice our racial differences, celebrate our racial differences, see and worship Him TOGETHER in those differences.

 

About Tasha:

Tasha is a wife, a mama, a hapa and a french fries connoisseur.  She’s a writer and a dreamer, a coffee-drinker and a kimchi-eater.  She was made to walk where cultures collide on both dirt roads and carefully placed cobblestone streets.  Jesus is her heartbeat. Follow her on:  Her Blog | Twitter | Facebook

 

New to the Series? Start HERE (though you can jump in at any point!).

A 31 Day Series Exploring Whiteness and Racial Perspectives

During the month of March, 2017, I will be sharing a series called 31 Days of #Woke. I’ll be doing some personal excavating of views of race I’ve developed through being in schools that were under court order to be integrated, teaching in an all black school as well as in diverse classrooms in Chicago and my experiences of whiteness living in Uganda and China. I’ll also have some people of color share their views and experiences of race in the United States (I still have some open spots, so contact me if you are a person of color who wants to share). So check back and join in the conversation. You are welcome in this space.

 

Day 15: White in Uganda {31 Days of #WOKE}

White in Uganda: What I learned about "whiteness" through living six months in Uganda.
by Leslie Verner

Uganda hoisted a mirror in front of my face, reflecting my whiteness back to me. In the six months I was there, from July to December of 2000, I began seeing and knowing myself–and all the hidden baggage my race represented.

I rode three different taxis home from work in the congested city of Kampala, Uganda, to our village on the outskirts of the city. At first, my host mother accompanied me, but I eventually mustered the courage to do it alone. Clambering out of the taxi van, I walked the final fourth of a mile home down the dusty orange road guarded by banana trees with huge waxy leaves. The children were already waiting for me.

Muzungu, muzungu! Give me money!” They stroked my arms, remarking on my “feathers,” and each one grabbed a finger to escort me the final way home.

Our home was the nicest in the village. Though it didn’t have running water, we had electricity, four solid brick walls around the yard and a large metal gate to protect us from “robbers.” My host mom indicated that they were putting themselves in greater danger because thieves would assume they were housing a rich foreigner.

Though Kampala had many expats, I wasn’t interested in meeting them. I was one of 21 interns dispersed around the globe in a variety of developing countries with the Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR) program at Wheaton College. The purpose wasn’t to be helpful, travel or even make a huge impact (though we hoped that would happen, too), but simply to observe, listen and learn about the culture. Because of this, we were discouraged from spending too much time with other expats.

Sitting cross-legged on the bed in my tiny room before dinner, I flipped through the guide book I had brought along and reviewed the history. Besides the undercurrent of fear (Uganda had come out of a bloody civil war just a few years before), I was curious about the assumptions others made about me because I was white. Though I was a student, they assumed I was rich. How else could I afford to fly here? But in working at the all-Ugandan organization, I also sensed a hesitation to allow me to do useful work.

I paused after rereading that Uganda had been a protectorate of the British government from 1894 to 1962. My only context for colonization was reading and watching the film Out of Africa, a book published in 1937, but taking place in the early 1900’s about a woman from Denmark moving to east Africa to start a coffee plantation. The film glamorized life as a white woman living in colonial Africa.

But as a white woman in Uganda, I sensed that I was not trusted. It had only been 38 years since the country had been liberated from the rule of whites. Though I was not British and had nothing to do with the history of imperialism in Africa, I was still snagged in the web.

Along with a feeling of distrust, I also noticed a hardly veiled acceptance of white supremacy. Attending a graduation ceremony, I was asked to stand as I was the “honored guest.” At a Christian meeting at the university that was attended by several hundred students, I was asked to give an impromptu speech. At church services, I was ushered to the front for VIP seating. At a ceremony celebrating the development of a local non-profit that I attended in a village several hours away, the news camera stayed fixed on me even though I had nothing to do with any of it.

To be white was to be noticed, honored and lauded.

An article written 14 years after I lived in Uganda, “Shell and Bolton’s Discriminatory Advert in Uganda Highlights the Problems of Race in Africa talks about an overtly racist advertisement asking specifically for white applicants. In it, the author suggests that “privileging of people based on their skin color has permeated all aspects of African societies.”

And in a Lonely Planet forum, a traveler asked the question: “What is the attitude of the locals towards whites, especially in rural areas? Is there any kind of resentment or xenophobia?” One answer was as follows: “If you are Asian (especially Indian, but they throw all Asians in the same bag), it is pretty racist, but you’ll be fine. If you are Caucasian, they’ll love ya.” Also on this forum was a discussion about certain clubs and restaurants that were only for white expats, not for Ugandans.

Although I often resented the stereotypes my African friends had about muzungus, being in Uganda was the first time I noticed my own whiteness and the effect it had on the people around me. Unlike most Americans, my African family ate at different times of day, exchanged elaborate greetings in passing, viewed time and relationships differently and completed ordinary tasks in ways that often seemed bizarre to me.

A white shape snipped from the page of white culture and pasted onto a canvas splashed with exotic colors and textures, I finally saw my own race.

To be white was to be suspected. To be white was to be feared. And yet to be white was to be envied.

I wasn’t sure I liked what I saw in the mirror.

***

Tomorrow I’ll be writing about being white in China, so be sure to come back and join in the story-telling.

Have you ever lived abroad? What did you learn about your home culture through that experience?

If colonialism is still an undercurrent in Uganda and other African countries, how much is segregation, Jim Crow and slavery still leaking into our thinking in the United States today?

New to the Series? Start HERE (though you can jump in at any point!).

A 31 Day Series Exploring Whiteness and Racial Perspectives

During the month of March, 2017, I will be sharing a series called 31 Days of #Woke. I’ll be doing some personal excavating of views of race I’ve developed through being in schools that were under court order to be integrated, teaching in an all black school as well as in diverse classrooms in Chicago and my experiences of whiteness living in Uganda and China. I’ll also have some people of color share their views and experiences of race in the United States (I still have some open spots, so contact me if you are a person of color who wants to share). So check back and join in the conversation. You are welcome in this space.

80+ MORE Race Resources for White People

80+ MORE Race Resources for White People

#GetWoke and #StayWoke

What does it mean to be “woke?”

Many people in the United States are experiencing a second sight, sometimes defined as being “woke.” In The Calling podcast, social justice activist Michelle Higgins says, “Woke-ness is a journey. It is saying ‘I’m done being blind’ or done saying ‘I’m sleeping on the whole truth about my community.'”

Maybe you read, watched and listened through the previous list of resources to educate yourself about race issues.  Or maybe (hopefully) you sat down over a cup of coffee with a friend who is a person of color and listened–really listened–to their story. Your heart is cracking open and you want to learn more.

Here are some additional resources I’ve come across in the last six months since publishing the first list. I listened to the podcasts and read the articles, but am still working my way through the books, though they all come highly recommended. This list is far from exhaustive (and mainly based on recent events, not historical documents), so I hope you will add your own ideas to the comments section of this post. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to find new people to follow on Twitter and Facebook.

Podcasts:

The Calling

Michelle Higgins: “I Am a Worshipper” First and Foremost

How ‘Colorblind’ Christianity Broke Propaganda’s Heart

Jemar Tisby: It’s Never Too Soon to Talk about Race in Your Church 

 

Code Switch: Race and Identity (NPR)–various episodes

 

Epiphany Fellowship (Pastor Eric Mason)

In God We Trust (First sermon after the election)

#Woke Church Series at Epiphany Fellowship:

#WokeChurch

#WokeChurch: It’s Time for the Church to do Something

#WokeChurch–Lamentations 3:1-18   (the pastor provides a time for African Americans in his congregation to lament)

#WokeChurch–Jesus on Justice

 

Facing Ourselves

Are All White People Racist? (No. Well, Kind of. Let Us Explain.)

 

Fresh Air (NPR)

How the Systemic Segregation of Schools is Maintained by ‘Individual Choices’

 

Faith Conversations with Anita Lustrea

Lisa Sharon Harper

On Justice and Reconciliation

 

Faithfully Podcast

Will Christians Ever Get Race Relations Right?

White Christians, the Confederate Flag and the Civil War

Black Lives Matter, the Black Church and the Prosperity Gospel

 

A Mom’s Missionfield

A Sweaty Conversation about Racial Reconciliation: Retha Nichole and Emily Thomas

 

On Being with Krista Tippett

Vincent Harding (Civil Rights leader)–Is America Possible?

Isabel Wilkerson (author of The Warmth of Other Suns)

Mahzarin Banaji–The Mind is a Difference-Seeking Machine (on implicit bias)

Eula Bliss–Let’s Talk about Whiteness (refers to her article, White Debt, for the New York Times Magazine)

 

On Ramp: Two Christians Talk about Race

All of these are fantastic and only about 15 minutes long. So far, Shane Blackshear and Kerri Fisher have broadcasted episodes on privilege, stereotyping, diversity, implicit bias, levels of racism, lasting impacts of Jim Crow & slavery, and white supremacy. Find them all here.

 

Pass the Mic (put on by Reformed African American Network)

Defining White Privilege

Defining Systemic Racism

Roundtable: How to Be a White Ally

(And so many others)

 

Shalom in the City

Megan Tietz (on intentionally sending children to failing schools)

 

Truth’s Table–Coming this spring! (Hosts Michelle Higgins, Dr. C. Edmondson, and Ekemini Uwan)

 

Village Church

Justice and Racial Reconciliation panel (following July 2016 shootings)

 

Video:

Verge Network 7 Part Series on Racial Justice (includes interviews)

What Dark-Skinned People Will Never Tell You (5 min.)

13th Documentary (now on Netflix)

 

What does it mean to be a white ally? Here are 80+ MORE Race Resources for White People

Articles from the Web:

Talking to Our Kids about Race:

Children’s Books to Help Talk about Race with Kids  from an Alabama Public Library

What White Children Need to Know about Race, by Ali Michael and Eleonora Bartoli for the Independent School Magazine

5 Ways Parents Pass Down Prejudice and Racism, by Danielle Slaughter for Huffington Post

18 Children’s Books with Characters of Color, by Joanna Goddard for her blog, A Cup of Jo

55 of the Best Diverse Picture and Board Books of 2016, by Mrs. G at Here Wee Read Blog (and another great list from the same site). Follow her on Instagram for more great book ideas.

 

In the Church:

An Open Letter to the Evangelical Church, from the Black Girl in Your Pew, by Ilesha Graham for Huffington Post

Watching 81% of My White Brothers and Sisters Has Broken Something in Me, by Yolanda Pierce at Religion Dispatches

38 Resources to Help Your Church Start Discussing Race Today by Missio Alliance

 

White Fragility:

The Sugar-Coated Language of White Fragility, by Anna Kegler for Huffington Post

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People about Racism, by Dr. Robin Diangelo for The Good Men Project

4 Ways White People Can Process Their Emotions Without Bringing the White Tears, by Jennifer Loubriel of Everyday Feminism

 

The POC Perspective:

Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City, by Nikole Hannah-Jones for The New York Times Magazine

A Letter to My Son, by Rev. Otis Moss III for Huffington Post

Lacrae: Humility is the Key to Understanding Race Relations: Guest Essay, by Lecrae for Billboard

My President Was Black, by Ta-Nehisi Coates for The Washington Post

30 of the Most Important Articles by People of Color in 2016, by Zeba Blay for Huffington Post

 

Take Action:

6 Things to Do When You Live on White Island,  by Leslie Verner at Scraping Raisins blog

25 SOLUTIONS for Police Brutality, by Shaun King

Life After ‘The New Jim Crow,’ by Brentin Mock of Citylab (an interview with Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)

5 Actions White Educators Can Take to Help Make Schools Anti-Racist, by Jamie Utt for Everyday Feminism

 

Race and Trump:

Trump Syllabus 2.0 by N.D.B. Connolly and Keisha N. Blaine (an actual syllabus of a course that explores the foundations of “Trumpism”)

 

Websites:

Barefoot Books: Diverse and Inclusive Books

Faith for Justice

Reformed African American American Network (RAAN)

White Allies in Training

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[Join BE THE BRIDGE Facebook Group if you haven’t already!]

News, Politics, Pop Culture Sites with a P.O.C. focus

Blavity

Black Politics

Good Black News

VSB (Very Smart Brothas) Washington Post says about this site: “Very Smart Brothas has emerged as a stream-of-consciousness sounding board, an expletive-laden fuse and an absurdist inside joke.”

Books:

Nonfiction:

America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America

Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart

Ferguson and Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Let Justice Roll Down

Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times

Roadmap to Reconciliation: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness and Justice

Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism

The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right

Who We Be: A Cultural History of Race in Post-Civil Rights America

Fiction (great for book clubs):

Americanah

The Bluest Eye

Brown Girl Dreaming (YA book)

The Help

Homegoing

Interpreter of Maladies

The Invention of Wings

Invisible Man

To Kill a Mockingbird

The Kitchen House

Their Eyes Were Watching God

The Underground Railroad

 

People of Color to Follow on Twitter
(*also on Facebook):

*Ahmed Ali Akbar

BJ Thompson

Charles M. Blow

*Christena Cleveland

*Deray McKesson

Drew G.I. Hart

*Eugene Cho

Eugene Scott

Ilesha Graham

Jemar Tisby

Lisa Sharon Harper

Michelle Higgins

*Shaun King

Soong Chan-Rah

*Ta-Nehesi Coates

*Traci Blackmon

Tyler Burns

Velynn Brown

Yolanda Pierce

***

We are on a journey towards greater “woke-ness.” As allies, partners and justice-seekers, we do well to heed the words of Rev. Traci Blackmon:

“… the invitation to the ally is always to follow the leadership of those who are at the center of the pain. Understanding the situation is not the same as owning the story.

The story matters. And choosing to work toward liberation of any kind requires a commitment to support the narrative of the ones who own the story. The role of the ally is not to lead or to fix. The ally holds the story and amplifies the voice of the story teller.

The ally:

  • Shows up to listen, not lead.
  • Follows the directions of those at the center.
  • Uses privilege to point the spotlight in the direction of the pain.
  • Uses power to disrupt oppression.
  • Does not expect to be tutored on what is easily learned.
  • Knows that the moment is not for them, yet the Movement is about us all.”

 

There is more to learn. Our responsibility is to listen, educate ourselves, dive into the pain and speak when our voices can amplify the narrative of our hurting brothers and sisters. Peace to you on your journey to #staywoke.

~Leslie Verner

 

Check out the first list of resources:  70+ Race Resources for White People

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80+ MORE RACE RESOURCES for white people