Read “Me and White Supremacy” in Community
Written by Pastor Kate
October 25th, last Sunday, marked five months since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis. The Uprising that followed left a mark on me, on this city, and on our country. When our LCM community gathered online in the midst of the uncertainty that followed the days after his death, we made a commitment to not just do things differently from now on, but to explore how we could actually be different in this world, especially as it related to loving our neighbors.
As someone who identifies as white, I’ve long seen myself as someone called to “fix” the problem. I’ve implicitly understood myself as someone with power, called to use that power to help others. Much of my worldview has been shaped by the Christian tradition that I was raised in, a tradition which calls us to love and serve others. But, after deeper reflection, I can now see that my idea of neighbor love intersected with a uniquely American construction of whiteness – and that allowed me to absolve myself of my own complicity in the systems that perpetuate the problems.
In my deep desire to “fix the problem” and “be the helper,” I couldn’t recognize the ways that “fixing” might be making things worse; because I had not tended to the brokenness within myself as it relates to racial justice. We are human beings, of course, before we are human doings. God’s love meets us in that “being-ness” and calls us from that point to “do,” to show love and work for justice alongside our neighbor.
Several students resonated with that learning, and together, the folks who identify as white in our community decided to read Layla Saad’s “Me and White Supremacy,” and we are now inviting members of our broader community to join in this work together, as we prepare for a spring semester of deeper work.
If you are a person that identifies as white, feel overwhelmed by the work ahead of us as a country, and/or confused or a little annoyed with all of the competing narratives about what the next most faithful step is, please join in another round of our LCM Read Along of Me and White Supremacy. The last day to sign up is November 5th, and I will be in touch with more information at that point.
We’ll also be gathering together as a whole community for our “Racial Justice Working Group” on November 10 and December 1. White and BIPOC folks are welcome, and we’ll be listening to a podcast episode ahead of that time to provide fodder for conversation. The first podcast is an intro to Black mystic and “chaplain to the Civil Rights Movement,” Howard Thurman. Email me and I will get you info on that as well.
There is much restoration and repair needed in this country, and as we approach the election results next Tuesday, we anticipate that the breach we are called to transform will be made even more apparent. I hope you will join me in this one part of our work, one small step we can take towards a world that more closely mirrors the one that God longs for us to inhabit, a world where justice is known, mercy embodied and a robust kind of love for self and others is possible.
A note to our BIPOC siblings:
As a majority white community, white folks have decided to do this work with Layla Saad so they can enter more fully and honestly into conversation about what it means to share in life and justice work with y’all. My hope is that space will be open for BIPOC and white folks, together, for an immersive racial justice retreat that explores the connections between Christianity, spirituality and racial justice work. Everyone, please stay tuned for registration information for that series!