I’m so sad today.
Sad about what’s happening in our country with this onslaught of brutal shootings. Sad that as a white woman with ancestry in the south, I’m sure my generational line contributed to this explosion of hatred and violence that began long ago with slavery.
Slavery that was wrong.
Slavery that we want the black community to just get over and move on from.
Slavery that we’ve done very little to repent for.
I have a cousin who is a cop. A good cop—an exceptional man. The kind of cop you’d hope was patrolling all streets in fairness and equality. I know because of his integrity, this issue is NOT just about black men and women VS. cops….
This is about ME and the black community….and how I’ve done almost nothing to pursue racial reconciliation over the course of my life.
I sat this morning explaining to Moses how our white ancestors went over to Africa, chained black men and women in horrific conditions on boats, treated them like cattle, and brought them to our country against their will. I told him how we whipped and beat them, making them our slaves, breaking up families. I told him how we took away their freedom….the same way we took away the Hawaiians land, the way we took the Indians land. I shared how eventually we did give them their supposed freedom, but still made them sit on the back of our buses and use different water fountains—not letting them have the same rights and privileges as whites. And though legislation has now put everyone on an equal rights playing field…..I’ve personally never done anything to say….
Dear Black America,
I’m so very sorry. We. Were. Wrong.
What can I do to right this wrong—not just politically and by writing checks and dropping off old clothes, but personally—and from the heart?
How can I ease the pain of your ancestral torment that our own ancestors created?
And will you please, please, please forgive me?
I live in East Nashville, and right now Lucas Gifford and I are looking for a new home for our expanding family. This morning as we crossed the line between what I’ve seen as safe and unsafe, looking at a beautiful renovated house in a neighborhood that is slowly buying up the poor houses and kicking out black families (because our presence has resulted in property taxes skyrocketing that many can’t afford), I have to admit…
I looked out at the neighbors to my right and to my left…with bars still on their windows and poverty everywhere……
And as a white woman with small children, I was afraid.
I was afraid to raise my kids in a primarily black, poorer neighborhood.
I was afraid to buy in a place until it was filled with people who look like me.
And my heart is breaking right now knowing that my fear and continual segregation…..my refusal to cross into the next neighborhood and meet my neighbors on the other side of an imaginary line that is more real than iron bars….
THIS is the cause of our problems right now, America.
And with my apathy, I am absolutely to blame for it.
Cops are getting the blame for the racial issue because they cross that imaginary line every day and are paid to engage, mostly under negative and dangerous circumstances. And though it might not be my job to engage and pursue reconciliation, it is absolutely my responsibility as a white American.
And a legacy I want for my children.
What if as a white woman I stopped praying for God to bring peace to America…and instead, got my butt up out of my safe neighborhood and crossed that imaginary line….to maybe let my kids play on a playground that I once was scared to visit? Or to volunteer somewhere with kids that just need to see a white face that isn’t a cop? Or to move into their neighborhood as a friend? Instead of writing a check or calling my legislator, what if I actually practiced what I preached and BECAME the act of forgiveness the black community needs to heal from what WE have done?
If you’re like me, you’re a little shell shocked, wondering what to do as a white woman who knows this issue isn’t just going to go away on its own. But if we all sit around waiting for someone to do something, nothing will happen….or most assuredly more of the WRONG things.
For the sake of my amazing officer cousin, I cannot let this burden fall on his shoulders to fight. It’s being fought with bullets that will never heal.
But friendship can heal.
Forgiveness can heal.
Relationship can heal.
Repentance can heal.
The Christ in me can heal. And it’s time to let Him do what He does best.