Updated: Jun 1, 2020
Ya'll, it has been a hard week. With the killing of George Floyd and the rioting in my city, as a white woman in America my heart is oh so heavy.
Not because I have the answers. Not because I know the right things to say. Not because I can even articulate how I feel. The frustration over this social and moral pandemic that still wreaks havoc on our country honestly has me overwhelmed.
I have such an internal wrestling and if I even expressed every thought and feeling that comes through my person - you, my reader, regardless of race, religion or creed - would most likely find offense at one thought or the other (even if well intended) - because it is just that complicated in my brain.
I censor my words - not just because I don't want to offend my white counterparts but I also don't want to offend my black friends. And in my censorship I have remained silent - mostly.
But silence and fear of saying the wrong thing will not move us forward. Fear of offense will not move us forward and so with great trepidation I have asked God, what is it that you would have me to do and say?
I personally will not solve this problem. It is big and complex. It is wrecked with sin and generations of thought patterns and actions, history and violence, hate and misunderstanding. I start thinking about the monstrosity of it and I'm like, what can I actually do to make a difference. I feel so utterly helpless - and this is where God has answered my plea.
He has asked me, "Alison, what is your personal responsibility? What is within your control?" Every time I cry out to God and say "I don't know what to do." He brings me back to this question every single time.
So here is where He has brought me. I am a white American - with this does come privilege. Racism still exists which means I have a responsibility to speak up. I can learn more about myself and how I subconsciously think about race. I can identify those thoughts and acknowledge how they are false, what is true, and how it alters the way I think of people of color. I can treat people differently. I can teach my children to do the same. I can graciously cut off conversations that keep us right where we are. I can keep having hard conversations with close African American friends who have been willing to learn with me. I can love my white friends who are also struggling through this journey. And I can keep trying...
To my white friends, this is really hard stuff. You may feel frustrated, scared, or even confused. Doing heart work - taking personal responsibility - is hard work. I am and continue to be on this journey and I don't find it gets easier. It is also really easy to point the finger and rationalize. This is why I know God keeps bringing me back to myself and my responsibility.
If you are struggling and need a safe space to ask questions, please reach out. I don't have this thing completely figured out, and I certainly won't get it all right. And one thing is for sure, I will definitely make mistakes along the way but I do believe that uncovering the systemic racism that exists in my own heart is a good first step toward changing this social and moral pandemic in our country. And I will keep trying...
To my friends of color. I love you. I hear you and I care about you. You matter! This matters!
(and to all who read this, I wish I could just give you a big hug and say "I love you.")