Last summer, I took a class called “Dismantling Racism.” In it, I was taught about White Privilege. Before this class, I may have known it was a thing, but it never occurred to me that it was a HUGE problem.
White privilege clouds the vision of people against the tough reality people of color in this nation face. I’ve heard plenty of white people, in a VERY white state say, “Well, I’ve had to work hard to get where I am, why shouldn’t every other race?” What these people don’t realize is that it’s systematically harder for people of color – and the ignorance of white people just perpetuates it.
NPR posted an article about “The Talk” – a talk that parents have with their children about how to behave when they get pulled over, so as not to appear a threat. LaVar Burton spoke to the reality that, as a black man, he may be seen as a threat more often than the rest of the population.
I remember my mother telling me, after she interviewed Police officers for an article she wrote, that they recommend keeping your hands at “10” and “2”, and not fishing around your glove box for papers – it looks like you might be fishing for a weapon. She then said they would never suspect her of that – and it wasn’t said, but they might assume that as a woman, she’s safe, especially white.
My heart has been breaking lately over the fact that women are still overtly discriminated against in churches – In America!! – but now we see that it isn’t just women being discriminated against. People of color are going through such systemic, under-the-radar discrimination, that parents must fear for their children’s lives. I’m sad to say I had no idea until I got to grad school that the world still had so very much work to do. I’ve shed tears, I know others have, and many will continue to do so about these issues.
But rather than give up, we must find HOPE. Hope in the promise of the future, hope in groups of people in power REALIZING their privilege, and that God’s people can join together to fight injustice and fight for all God’s people to be safe in this world.