Racism in America: Why Can’t We All Just Quietly Listen?

A friend of mine posted this article and it showcases a very real thing happening in our country. I’ve witnessed it. Take a few moments to read it. It’s a bit long, but read it anyway:

NY Times A Quiet Exodus: Why Black Worshipers Are Leaving White Evangelical Churches

Before I go further, let me give this disclaimer: I’m a white girl with an opinion. My life experiences contribute to how I think. My constant desire to understand what makes other people tick contribute to why my thoughts change. A year from now, I’ll look at this blog post and I’ll mentally edit it. Does that make me wishy-washy? You decide while I continue to do what I do. Now that you’ve read my disclaimer, read on and form your own opinion.

White people, in general, approach racism from more of an historical perspective. We read about it and experience it through stories from our grandparents and great-grandparents who were eyewitnesses to the events of the Civil Rights Movement.

Black people, in general, approach racism from more of a personal perspective. They read about it. They experienced it through stories. What makes their experiences different is that they have family members who were spat upon, who were refused service in public, were threatened, and were LYNCHED. Daily. They lived in constant fear of their lives and their family’s lives not just for one period of time during the 50s and 60s, but for hundreds of years. Try researching some psychological articles on what the long-term, multi-generational psychological and physiological effects are of daily stress due to fear for one’s life.

Those two perspectives explain the different views that constantly clash in our society. Our white ancestors left a country in favor of one they could build on their own. We created this nation as it is, for better or for worse. We had the luxury of doing that an ocean apart from any in-your-face persecution from those who would try and stop us.

African-Americans, however, didn’t have that luxury. Instead, their ancestors were pulled from a country that didn’t persecute them (generally speaking) and placed in a country that did. We were able to create new lives through hard work and sacrifice. African-Americans created new lives through hard work, sacrifice, and constant in-their-face persecution AFTER being freed from slavery in that same country. Big difference.

Why is racism constantly brought up? Because we constantly don’t LISTEN. Listen to the person in front of you who is bringing up the subject of racism. Pay attention to the person speaking on TV or writing a blog post. Instead of mentally preparing your defense against racism before they’ve barely opened their mouths, just stop and listen. Listen to their stories. Listen to where they are coming from. Listen whether you want to or not because by listening, you may find they have a valid reason for bringing up the subject.

Are there holes in my opinion? Of course. Do I cover all facets of racism? No. Are there exceptions to the rule in regards to my opinion? Uh, yeah. We have over 300 million people in our country. It’s a little impossible to address every angle. If you think I should’ve covered more than what I did, tough. This is a blog post, not a book. Pay for me to hide out in a cabin by the sea for a year and I’ll write it (seriously, that sounds heavenly). I’m simply responding to an article that has made me think. When I think, I write.

Now, go back and re-read that article. Mentally put yourself in the shoes of Charmaine Pruitt. And LISTEN.


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