A white perspective.

by Katherine HawkerSelf

A peek into the black perspective.

I am a nice white lady in my early 50s. After two decades as a pastor in a progressive largely white suburban congregation, I now find myself teaching public school by day and praying with my feet at night. The voices that fill my head (and my newsfeed) have changed, dramatically.

One of the most profound gifts in my life is Black women. Black women at work, Black women in my cyber-activist world, Black women on the frontline, Black women and transgender friends.

After so many years in suburbia (read: whiteness), I am aware of a thirst that is at times unquenchable. Some days I feel exhaustion as I am attempt to drink from a gushing well of truth too long denied. Always I feel incredible gratitude for this window.

A truth that is as big as life that I haven't had eyes to see before is the assignment of cost in the struggle for justice. The truth is that though I've been gassed and maced and even arrested, I haven't lost my job or my home or my family or (quite frankly) any of my white privilege. I still got it all. The same is NOT true of many of the Black women and men with whom I have stood in the streets. We are treated differently at each juncture of a system built to privilege and deny. And the system is not broken, it hums along unswayed.

In the face of the massive cost differential for resistance, I hear very different messages about how to move through these next steps. If Black "respectability" could have trumped white supremacy, we wouldn't now be facing the massive ‪#‎newjimcrow‬‬. But the turmoil of the past year has had real time costs for people already under the boot. I listen. I learn.

Meanwhile I am reminded that my responsibility is NOT to tell Black folk how to get free. My responsibility is to white folk. To invite other nice white ladies to look with me at what our whiteness is, how it functions, how it both privileges and denies. While it masquerades as privilege, as candy we just can't not take, the bitter truth is that is destroys us. I've come to see the presumption of white superiority as a death eater, leaving us soul-less shells in servitude.

As I drink from the fountain, I am keenly aware that the path forward is not linear and the answers elusive.

But this much is clear: ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬‬

Believing that, we have ‪#‎whitefolkwork‬‬ to do.

by Chuck Ramsay

New author and veteran journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates has had quite a year.  He became the recipient of a MacArthur fellowship, a so-called Genius award. His long-form pieces in The Atlantic magazine have been widely circulated and discussed. Coates’ memoir, Between the World and Me, a blunt but lyrical account of how he navigates the world as a black man, has been one of the most talked about nonfiction books of the year. And, recently yet another honor, the National Book Award for nonfiction was given to him. This, at a time when our country has been deeply engaged in questions about race.

“Coates recently spoke with NPR’s All Things Considered's Michel Martin  just as he was about to return to Paris, where he and his family have been living for the past few months." Go HERE to read and hear more about him and his perspective. Better yet, read his book! It’s a quick read that will help you understand the humanity that’s at stake when prejudice prevails.

Extreme racism exists...

And, if you do not believe that racism is alive and very well in the United States of America, then take a look HERE. Recent statements by many of the 2016 Presidential candidates have also exposed a racism fueled by hatred and violence. This is not how America should be.

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