I can't just be "not racist"...I need to be anti-racist. Steps to help move us forward...

Thursday, May 28


Friends, maybe like me, you've been outraged, infuriated, and incredibly sad for the killing of our black brothers and sisters. And maybe like me you wonder "what can I do? How do I enter in?"

And often when we ask this question,
the weight of the task feels overwhelming,
and we worry that we might say something offensive,
and we get fearful because we know so little...
so.....we.....just.....don't do anything.  

And that, the ability to walk away, is invoking our white privilege. 

What I've learned on this journey is that doing nothing is choosing to be complicit with racism.
Our silence supports systemic injustice.

I am learning that I can't just be "not racist"... I NEED to be an anti-racist. 
There is a huge gap between the two, and it is what has compelled me to write this post. 

I am a novice in this conversation, there is no expertise here.
So I am speaking to myself as much to anyone else,
not from a place of authority, but a place of growth.

I am just someone who has been asking these questions myself, because I know ultimately the Lord Jesus Christ, who's just love for his people runs deep, will ask it of me.

This blog post has come together from the wisdom of select friends (who have been fighting this fight for a long time), and from the storehouse of great authors and teachers wh.
I hope this provides a launching pad into your own journey. 

First, we need to posture ourselves to enter into this conversation. Two postures most common when we come up against this conversation are guilt or pride. 

We either feel guilt ("how could other white people like me do such terrible things?"), 
or 
we feel pride ( "I'm not racist. It's those rednecks in the Deep South who are the problem!").

Both of these postures are a dead end to true kingdom work.
Guilt is not of God. Your guilt might spark you to share an article on FB, but it will not take you the distance of bridge building. The minute there is pushback, guilt bails.

Pride will keep you from even entering the conversation. God abhors it. There is no room for the work of the Holy Spirit in a heart that is full of pride.

What we need to begin this journey is humility and love. Anything less will not do.  

With an open heart, we need to:

SEE & LEARN 
We need to ask God for new eyes.
We need to explore and challenge our own biases and assumptions. 
We need to understand history in a new way so that we are not tainted by our own world view. 
This is going to require us to READ/LISTEN to new things and ENGAGE with new voices. 

READ
Here are some books I would recommend on this journey:
(this is a short list to get started, all of them have been helpful to me and others I know. I would love any other recommendations you have) 

The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby
This book might be one of the most impactful books I've ever read in helping me gain a new perspective. Wow. The author does a brilliant job telling the story of the American Church's role in systemic injustice and its complicity with racism. I could not put it down. Please start here. 

White Awake by Daniel Hill
This book does a great job of unpacking "white culture". What is white culture, you say? Well, that's precisely the problem...we don't even realize there is a white culture because we are so entrenched in it, it's just the way we live. It's the dominant narrative. But the problem with it being the dominant narrative is that it makes anything that is not white culture, a negative cultural deviant. Daniel Hill does an excellent job sharing how to understand white culture and where to go from there. 

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo 
Antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’ (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively. (text taken from amazon) 

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas—from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilites—that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their posionous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves. Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society. (text taken from amazon)

FOLLOW
We also need to diversify who we are listening to. I have found it incredibly helpful to follow people of color and those doing antiracist work on social media. 

If you have IG, a few accounts that have been tremendous resources of truth and knowledge have been: 

@latashamorrison
@beabridgebuilder
@faitthb
@theconsciouskid
@austinchanning
@blackwomenplantseeds
@blackcoffeewithwhitefriends
@mspackyetti
@moemotivate

LISTEN
There are some great podcasts that have challenged me and made me uncomfortable. But we NEED to be uncomfortable in order to grow and learn and break free from our white cultural norms. We need these voices in our hearts and head. Here are a few helpful podcasts...

Truth's Table
Pass the Mic
Code Switch by NPR
Someday is Now
Speaking of Racism
Black&

STUDY
Did you know that there are many online courses that specifically teach how to become antiracist? While I haven't done any of the courses below, they have been recommended to me, and is something I hope to pursue in the future.

Monique Melton offers a 12 week workshop called Unity Over Comfort: the Story

Nova Reid offers a Anti-racist course called Diversity Matters Online: White Privilege 

WATCH
Watching images leaves a lasting impression in our mind.

Just Mercy
13th
Selma
This article offers some great movie suggestions and discussion questions for each movie. Movies can be a powerful medium to help discuss these issues with your children.

There are also many powerful Ted Talks, including...
Kimberle Crenshaw on The Urgency of Intersectionality
Brian Stevenson on We Need to Talk about an Injustice 
James A. White Sr. on The Little Problem I had Renting a House
Alice Goffman on How we are Priming some kids for College and Others for Prison 
Clint Smith on How to Raise a Black Son in America


TAKE ACTION
While it is both imperative and foundational to do the work of relearning history and approaching this subject with new eyes, it is equally important that we engage. Below are some practical ways to move forward with action.

In talking with some of my black friends, here are some of the things they have encouraged me to do...

1) TALK ABOUT IT

Bring this subject up with friends and family. Encourage them to read the books you're exploring, start a discussion group. My hope is to challenge my family to read The Color of Compromise this summer, and then discuss it when we meet for our annual family vacation.

Share posts on social media. We can't sit on the sidelines...we need to take a stand that what was done was not ok, in fact it was evil and abhorrent. Friends of mine who posted have had an impact on me, and in the same vein we can also make ripples by what we choose to post.

2) START ADVOCATING FOR JUSTICE

For each of the unjust killings that occur, there is generally a way to demand justice to someone in authority. I have tried to look up the phone number or email address for authorities in the town where the atrocity has taken place and engage.

For instance, right now you can go to www.justiceforbigfloyd.com and sign a petition to demand that the police offices responsible for his murder would be arrested and charged. You can also text Floyd to 55156 to demand the same thing.

You can go to www.fightforbreonna.org to sign a petition demanding that justice be served for the officers who took her innocent life by their own mistake.

A simple google search will usually lead you to the information to contact the right authority. Many of the IG accounts I mentioned above will also point you in the right direction.

3) WORK AT A SYSTEMIC LEVEL

This is an excellent article, entitled 75 Things White People Can do For Racial Justice. While it's a few years old, it still has some helpful ideas like...

Google whether your city or town currently employs evidence-based police de-escalation trainings. The racial make-up of your town doesn’t matter — This needs to be standard everywhere. Write to your city or town government representative and police chief and advocate for it. Multiply your voice by soliciting others to advocate as well, writing on social media about it, writing op-eds, etc.

Donate to anti-white supremacy work such as your local Black Lives Matter Chapter, the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, the NAACP, Southern Poverty Law Center, United Negro College Fund, Black Youth Project 100, Color of Change, The Sentencing Project, Families against Mandatory Minimums, A New Way of Life, and Dream Defenders. Join some of these list-serves and take action as their emails dictate.

I've read over this article multiple times and have been chewing on how I can engage with it.

Lastly...

 Reach out to your friends of color, love them, support them. Listen to them, learn from them.

But let's not demand that they be the ones to teach us. We need to take the initiative to educate ourselves. Buy or rent books from the library! Go on google and get your questions asked. 

I know this is a lot of information.
My prayer for you and I is that we don't assert our privilege of walking away from this conversation,
but instead,
challenge the systems and discourse upholding our privilege.
This begins with us...choosing to take a step to engage.

Please feel free to share additional resources you have found helpful in this journey.

Everett's First Birthday

Monday, May 18



{I love this picture above of my dad holding a phone so Everett can FaceTime with my brother, who had to work out on the farm. He was LOVING it!} 


How is my baby already A YEAR OLD!!! 
Goodness me, life has flown... Everett William we love you so much!! 

 Despite the quarantine, we had such a fun day celebrating our sweet boy. I made the BEST paleo cake (like really, everyone loved it...recipe here) and my parents and a few other family members came over. It was so lovely to have a small group just love on him so directly.

He busted out his new walking skills to everyone's delight, smeared cake all over his face, laughed and smiled as he opened his gifts, and just generally made all our hearts melt.
What a gift children are:)

Here is a little something I wrote about his birth on IG...

Exactly one year ago, at this very time, I went into labor AT THE HOME DEPOT....emotionally scarring the poor college aged Home Depot worker. “Ma’am!! Are you ok Ma’am??? What do you need Ma’am??!!!!!” ⁣

⁣“I need you to stop calling me Ma’am and help me sit down!!!!”

⁣We rushed to the hospital and soon after the most beautiful boy was in my arms, healing a place inside of me with pure unadulterated love. ⁣

⁣I kid you not when I say I didn’t see his eyeballs for 3 days! The 👏 boy 👏 could 👏 sleep 👏 (I kept asking the nurses if he was ok, especially when I pulled him out of the womb and he curled up peacefully in my arms and didn’t make a peep for an hour. ) ⁣

⁣And that has been his story, the sweetest most docile good natured human on the face of the planet. ⁣

⁣Which is saying something, because as I shared...⁣

⁣The few months leading up to his birth were some of the hardest of my entire life, mentally and physically. ⁣ ⁣

⁣And my biggest fear was that all my anxiety and stress would permanently damage Everett. ⁣

⁣But his very name was an indication of his life...⁣
⁣Everett....brave + strong ⁣

⁣He has literally tackled life with a smile, bent and flexed with every day tasks with a grace I’ve never seen in a baby. ⁣

⁣With his toothy grin, and loving hands, he has blessed me just beyond. When I look at his face I see the grace of God. ⁣

⁣Happy birthday beautiful boy!! ⁣
xoxo 

There was a time...but hope

Wednesday, May 6



There was a time I looked in the mirror and despaired. I struggled with acne for so long and wondered how anybody would ever think I was beautiful. I wondered if I’d ever find a man I thought was Godly and handsome and kind and funny.

.hope.

There was a time when I was temporarily paralyzed, and then spent the next few years taking 9 painkillers a day just to walk in the morning and make it through the day, only to be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. I wondered if I’d ever feel normal again...if I ever would run and play and be able to wear a swimsuit and not be allergic to the sun.

.hope.

There was a time when I felt deeply wounded by a best friend. The pain went deep and the unreciprocated relationship cut my heart out daily. I wondered if I would ever not flinch when her name came up or someone asked me about her.

.hope.

There was a time when a doctor looked me square in the eye and said "you have Lupus. You probably won't ever be able to get pregnant".

.hope.

There was a time when I believed the lie that I was “too much” and believed that others opinions about me mattered more than Gods opinion about me. I wondered if I’d ever get my life back...because “lost” is what happens when you put the control in others hands.

.hope

Oh dear sweet friend,
wherever you are,
whatever situation you face,
whatever has been said to you,
whatever lies you believe right now.

there is HOPE for something different.

right on the other side of where you are,
God sees a different picture.

When I felt ugly and despairing of finding my love....
God brought healing to my skin and a husband who loved me flaws and all.

When I was incredibly sick....
God brought me to a holistic doctor who nursed me back to thriving health.

When I was wounded by a friend....
God restored and redeemed our relationship into something beautiful.

When I was told "you'll never be able to get pregnant"...
God gifted me two precious children from my womb.

When I believed I was "too much"....
God freed my heart to joyously bask in HIS love as I live my life.

Oh dear one.
This is why, all those years ago, I called my blog hope engaged.

Hope...
it's what I cling to.
And when placed it Christ,
will not disappoint.


" and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
Romans 5:5