Others may assume their congregation does not need to talk about racism, since they do not see their members reflecting racist actions or beliefs.Even if a predominantly white church views itself as socially progressive and talks about concepts such as systemic racism, persons in these congregations may still harbor illusions about racism that prevent a deeper understanding of the problem.
Others may assume their congregation does not need to talk about racism, since they do not see their members reflecting racist actions or beliefs.
If racism were just about mean actions and words, then we could easily say this is not about us; we ourselves do not harbor racist beliefs or say racist things (at least to people of color). The first is that it assumes that we are the best judges of whether we are racist or not.
The second is that it misses a whole world of data that shows less obvious factors in racial inequality and discrimination.
White people may not feel that we have anything to do with these larger problems, but our silence is part of the problem.
Our acceptance of the status quo makes these injustices harder to challenge.
To say racism is only about ignorance denies the ways racism is perpetuated even by those who denounce white supremacy and seek to work against it.
A related sentiment is that people of color benefit from talking about racism—that they have a “race card” they can play to their advantage.
Separating intention from inattention means that if we say something that inadvertently hurts someone else, we do not need to get defensive. I did not realize what that would sound like or feel like for you.” We can use the experience as a learning opportunity to see life from another’s point of view.
We cannot blame racism on ignorance, because we perpetuate it even when we should know better.
In other words, name not just the negative side of the impact of racism on communities of color, but also the way white people have benefited from years of racism.
These privileges may be different for whites who experience other aspects of their identity as marginalizing, but there are enough examples that it is possible for even the most disadvantaged white person to be able to relate to at least one of them.