Updated: Jun 2
I have been silent.
I didn’t know what to say, and I didn’t know how to say it. But if I keep silent, then I am complicit.
To be honest, I don’t even know how I feel, and I don’t know how I should feel, which is a problem in itself because feelings are what they are and not to be judged. I’m angry. Sad. Ashamed. Feeling vulnerable.
I don’t want say something in the wrong manner, and yet if I say nothing I am still saying something. So. this blog post isn’t pretty. It’s not cleaned up. It’s just raw. If I offend you, I ask for your forgiveness. I just know that we cannot afford to be silent. Please hear my heart and not judge how my words vomit themselves on the page.
Firstly, to my brothers and sisters who are colored differently than me—I repent. I am grieved over George Floyd and his murder. I am grieved over the many lives of those whose names you are able to effortlessly stream off of your tongue, and whose names I barely know or can recite. #saytheirname
I repent for the bias that I carry around subconsciously.
I repent that this bias protects me and traumatizes you.
I repent that I don’t know how to respond to your trauma, and that sometimes I need to gather facts before attending to your wounds.
I repent for my lack of cultural humility and ignorance.
I repent that I don’t know what I don’t know, because I didn’t really want to know, and I was afraid of being responsible for knowing.
I ask that you would forgive me.
I ask that you would help me.
Secondly to my white friends—will you join me in being an ally to our friends of color? I don’t know how far my voice will reach, but if you join me and speak to the mountain of influence where you have impact, then together we can begin to shift our nation and culture. Let us not be known as the priest or the Levite who crossed the road and ignored the man who was beaten and robbed. Our black neighbors need us to stop, attend to their wounds, sit with them and grieve, listen to their pain, hear their anger—all without judgment. We need this to stop.
We need to understand and hear our friends of color. We don’t have to teach our children at five, or 11, or when they get their driver’s license at age 16 where to put their hands if they are stopped by a police officer. We don’t practice drills with our young white boys out of concern or fear that someone might take their life. We don’t worry like so many mama’s of color EVERY TIME our children leave the house. Please friends. We cannot afford to not say or do something.
I cried talking with one of my girlfriends this morning. I was horrified listening to her stories, and oh did she have stories that would make anyone cringe. I cried. I didn’t do it, I didn’t cause it. But I will be damn sure that I would like to be part of the movement that stops it. Now, if you just got caught up in the fact I just used the word damn, then let me share something with you—Jesus used strong language. He called the pharisees “vipers,” “white washed tombs,” “fools,” “serpents,” “blind guides,” “children of hell.” For all I know those may have been the four-letter words of his day. I am angry. The Jesus that I know wouldn’t tolerate what is going on, the systems that perpetuate. Just try googling “police brutality payouts” if you want to see the millions of dollars spent to quell injustice. We can’t throw money at the problem.
What can we do? I want to suggest a few things:
Listen to your friends of color before defending or justifying; don’t be Job’s comforter
Don’t rush to judgement when you see an “angry black” individual; that anger comes from a place of pain; acknowledge that pain
Follow @dranitaphilips on IG
Listen to the conversation between Christine Cain and Dr. Anita Philips
Ask God as David did, “Search me, God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23, 24) I am surprised at the wickedness in my heart, but grateful that He is faithful and just to cleanse me as I confess it. When we start with our heart, then we can move toward understanding in our head, and finally respond with our hands. Heart > Head > Hands. Thank you Checree for this nugget. You do build leaders!
Find your safe people to have honest conversation. Thank you to Danne Pierre (@danneunscripted) and Checree Bryant for being two friends who have created a safe place for me to cry and process and understand. I grieve with you.
Pray, not for reconciliation but restoration. Reconcile assumes that there were friendly, compatible, harmonious relations to begin with. But we know our history. That is not that case. Restoration is the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition. The restoration of dignity and honor to our brothers and sisters and neighbors of color is needed.