This week I have found numerous voices to share with you. It has been so hard to know what to say this past week, and how to respond in a conscious, compassionate, and needed way.
First, I am learning through this to see where prejudice, racism, a fear of difference and others, “other”ing still exist within my attitude and thoughts. The fact that so many still today struggle to admit how far we still have to go and how far we have yet to come in racial reconciliation is difficult to see so blatantly portrayed across America right now. The lengths voices will go to, the excuses given, the ignorance spoken, the platitudes offered.
It is wrong. We are wrong. We need to see justice. We need to have hard and honest conversations. We need to learn from something other than a whitewashed version of history.
In the wake of this, I want to share so many other voices who say it so much better than I do.
Voices For Charleston
Our collective stories of race in the US are not easy to own. They are stories of slavery, violence, and systemic dehumanization. We will have to choose courage over comfort. We will have to feel our way through the shame and sorrow. We will have to listen. We will have challenge our resistance and our defensiveness. ~ Brene Brown
There are no ifs ands or buts about this. This was a terrorist attack motivated by white supremacy. This white man did not do this because he was “troubled,” or a “disturbed,” or “mentally ill.” He did it because he is racist. He wanted to make it very clear to all of us that he believes he has the right to kill black men and women because they are black, and he is white. ~ Samantha Field
White allies, I thank you for your thoughtfulness in this regard. Now allow me to be your stopwatch; time’s up.
At this point, I’m not interested in your listening. I think the danger in this listening posture is, while it seems like the mindful and conscientious thing to do, it can also be far too convenient. It’s a great way of doing nothing. For the sake of finding the right action, you take no action instead. We have had the benefit of years — centuries, literally — of thought, narrative, scholarship, literature, film, fiction, non-fiction, and discussion to help us all understand these issues. We’re the most connected and information-overloaded that human beings have ever been. We can transmit entire books to our hand-held devices. Class has been in session. The school bell has now rung. ~ Rev. Denise Anderson
We need conversations about how many gun owners are responsible, but others, surrounded by mortal weapons, seem ready to blow at any moment, searching desperately for an apocalypse to confront or war to fight. What creates the type of paranoia and fear? This discussion needs to be had at the Lion’s Club, the gun range, around tables in White homes. ~ Joshua DuBois
Perhaps we see a neighborhood with many black faces, even of our same class, and wonder if there is something lesser about this place. We see on TV a photo of a black teen in a hoodie, a teen once arrested for marijuana, and we wonder for a moment if maybe he wasn’t a threat to the man who tracked and killed him. We hear of black-on-black crime or a black man assaulting a white man and we consider for a second that maybe there is a racial basis for these acts.
Maybe these thoughts arise only in my mind, and I simply project them onto other whites. But I don’t think so. I believe that we have been so thoroughly indoctrinated by the mythology of blacks bringing violence and crime to our white neighborhoods, that the impulse to distrust arrives before any conscious thought. ~ Tim Parrish
One cannot escape the question by hand-waving at the past, disavowing the acts of one’s ancestors, nor by citing a recent date of ancestral immigration. The last slaveholder has been dead for a very long time. The last soldier to endure Valley Forge has been dead much longer. To proudly claim the veteran and disown the slaveholder is patriotism à la carte. A nation outlives its generations. We were not there when Washington crossed the Delaware, but Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s rendering has meaning to us. We were not there when Woodrow Wilson took us into World War I, but we are still paying out the pensions. If Thomas Jefferson’s genius matters, then so does his taking of Sally Hemings’s body. If George Washington crossing the Delaware matters, so must his ruthless pursuit of the runagate Oney Judge. ~ Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Confederate flag should not come down because it is offensive to African Americans. The Confederate flag should come down because it is embarrassing to all Americans. The embarrassment is not limited to the flag, itself. The fact that it still flies, that one must debate its meaning in 2015, reflects an incredible ignorance. A century and a half after Lincoln was killed, after 750,000 of our ancestors died, Americans still aren’t quite sure why. ~ Ta-Nehisi Coates<
Voices That Spoke To Me This Week
Perfection sounds like a lofty goal, but as I get older I’m learning that it’s actually poison. I read somewhere that “perfectionism is the highest form of self-harm” and I believe that’s true. When I hold myself to a standard of perfection, I’m just setting myself up to fail. There’s no kindness in perfection; only an exacting standard that looks to find fault. ~ Claire Colvin
When I was fourteen, wavering in my own purpose and identity, hopelessly in love with an older missionary boy, I read your books, and you pointed me into the Garden of Eden when God created man, and then, from one of his ribs, woman. “You can’t make use of a thing unless you know what it was made for,” you wrote. And a woman, you said, was made for man.
And maybe if I’d been older or wiser or less desperate, I would have read something different in those words. But at fourteen, I took them to mean that I ought to devote myself to the boy, submit to his dreams and plans, nod and acquiesce and wait as he tried to discern whether God wanted us to be together…or, finally, not. ~ Addie Zierman
We all need good, true people to speak into our lives. But we do not need bullies, judges or “friendly” advisors. Whether your platform is enormous or tiny makes no difference. YOU are the one God has placed right where you are, with all that you need, to do all that you are meant to do. ~ Diana Trautwein
I’m not going to go along with the way things have always been, just because that’s the way it’s always been.
I’m not going to jump on any wagon that’s going the wrong way.
I’m not going to waste time my being angry. ~ Rachel Anne Ridge
Look for Series Part 3 on Leadership on Thursday.