How do you tell people one of your 2016 goals is to see more racial reconciliation? How do you quantify unity and healing when people ask about your aspirations for the year? How do you put words to something like that, and keep it from looking hollow and trite when it’s written down on the same piece of paper as “read thirty books?”
I don’t know. I don’t have answers for avoiding the discomfort of the discussion, just like I don’t have answers to the problem of racial inequality in America as a whole. But I do know that I want to be part of the solution. I do want to hold this whole thing up to Jesus. I do want to lock arms with a generation that ends racism once and for all, by standing on the shoulders of the generations who have fought the good fight before us.
So how do I respond when people ask why Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar made me weep this month? How on earth can I encourage other people with my baby steps? A day in the life snapshot, perhaps? A day in the life of a thirty year-old white woman with privilege who longs for racial reconciliation in her community and beyond? You want a bullet point list? Because that’s all I’ve got these days.
I can talk about race on a regular basis, with my friends and family. I can address phrases and lingo and headlines head-on with my children around the dinner table. Yes, all lives matter. And they’ll matter even more when black lives matter.
I can cross the tracks. I can literally drive my truck across the railroad tracks one town over and frequent a barber shop where we’re the only white people. I can sit in that uncomfortable feeling, exchanging side-eye and shy smiles, and realize that it’s what my black neighbors endure every day of their lives, depending on the situation. I’m just here for a haircut.
I can use emojis with diverse skin tones on my iPhone. Because black is beautiful and nobody’s actually that bright shade of yellow and those little brown fists were a long time coming.
I can open my home to people who don’t look like me. I can cook for my neighbors and ask them to get a little awkward with me because I’m doing my best and I just don’t want to live in a bubble forever.
I can pray. I can pray for hearts to be healed. I can pray for eyes to be opened. I can pray for a renewal of our justice system, redemption of relationships and restored reputations of people – red and yellow black and white, for they are precious in His sight; and Lord Jesus, please make them all precious in mine.