I’ve been encouraged to see some of you (mostly white and some Asian American) folks who do not normally say things on social media about race speak up and say brave things. Welcome! I’m glad you’re here. Keep speaking up even if you’re afraid to be wrong…then at least we’re in dialogue and learning can happen together.
Here are a couple thoughts for you if this is new space of engagement:
1. I’m glad you’re here today. But will you be here when the pandemic has subsided and shelter-in has lifted? My guess is that some of you are just now reacting out loud because this is the first time your life has slowed down enough to take pause and consider the injustices of Black America (as well as Indigenous and other POC folks). Take the time to consider what your long game is with this. How will you continue to stand for Black lives and how will you perpetuate justice and love in your community for all people?
2. The more you say things, the more this will cost you. In your gut you may already know this because that’s the fear that has kept you from saying things earlier. I have been ignored and dismissed over the years by rooms full of Jesus loving white people who could not connect what I was saying about race and culture to their faith. That cost me. In more current events, I have friends who have been ridiculed and mocked by their own ethnic community, tear-gassed, and just yesterday my car, covered in BLM writing, was followed by a cop. You might lose friends, you might lose the admiration of other white people, you might have people judge your Christianity if you’re evangelical, and you might lose donors if you fundraise. Just be ready. Solidarity costs. If you’re going to say brave things, you need to be ready for pushback because the systems will always protect itself.
3. Know why you’re saying what you’re saying. If you say Black Lives Matter, please do your homework and know what that means for you. Performative solidarity (thank you
Chanequa Walker-Barnes for teaching me that term) is thin and will wear out as soon as shelter-in lifts. If you’re a person of faith, how does racial justice connect with you theologically? Be able to articulate that, not just feel it. Read books on anti-racism, white fragility, Black theology, Indigenous history, Latinx theology, and for Asian Americans know your own history because they didn’t teach us that in school unless you took ethnic studies in college. I dig deeper into my own roots as a Filipina American because it allows me to be in better conversations cross-culturally. I love who I am so I can love who you are. But you need to do the work. Zeal alone will not get us far if you can’t back it up with your heart, MIND, and soul.