What I can do – a day in the life of a white woman with privilege.

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.

13 thoughts on “What I can do – a day in the life of a white woman with privilege.”

  1. Yes. Yes Rach. With you in this while trying to write my own bullet point list for my west coast Canadian version. Love you. Thank you for making me think and notice and pay attention.

  2. This is just lovely. I would add one more to your list, it seems the most obvious but it always seems to be the hardest (for me at least!): We can listen. Listen without lecturing or blustering. Listen and learning from experiences we will never have. Listen without getting defensive because we really have nothing to to prove to one another but our humanity. I tell my kids “when someone tells you they are hurting or angry or helpless,if you do nothing else, listen to them.” Because its only after we have heard someone else’s story that we can truly turn to them and in our connection and humility, say: How can I serve you?

  3. I wrote a whole long thing here and it was deleted. Crap.

    Still, I needed to say some things about this. Your heart is in the right place, clearly, but you are still not empathizing with the black community. Just sort of doing things without making a true connection to the situation. A hallmark of Christian culture I’ve never been fond of.

    If you really want to help, you’ll need to get up out of your comfort zone of awkward introspection on the barber bench.

    Things you can actually do:

    Join the NAACP in your area and get involved with community programs
    Go to a Black Lives Matter Rally and listen more than you speak
    Read Nell Painter’s “History of White People”
    Don’t get involved just to assuage white guilt
    Don’t be comfortable just because your children aren’t racist… that is the least we can expect. They also shouldn’t be murderers or rapists but you don’t get cookies for that either
    Make black friends by being yourself, not by putting on a show for them
    Use your privilege to demand changes. Call/write your local government to fix the broken system that keeps black people in danger.
    Do not just walk into black safe spaces uninvited with no reason to be there… Charleston should’ve taught us that. Realize that as a white person, you dominate the majority of the spaces available and it’s rude to invade someone else’s for some experience you can write about on your blog
    Don’t fool yourself that using dark skinned emojis will keep a black child from crying herself to sleep after being teased tonight. That one point is so silly and inconsequential that it kinda hurt to read.
    Realize that all you’ve listed is still well within your bubble. If you want to truly get out there and change things, you need to confront not black people but WHITE people. It won’t just be about feeding your neighbors and talking to your kids. It’ll mean fighting with the people you currently identify the most with.
    Prayer never hurt

    1. Thank you for speaking up, even after your first comment didn’t go through! I mean it. Spending some time on your feedback today, as well re-reading my own words under a different light. Like I said in my post, I was merely listing a few baby steps for everyday life. But I hear you and I see you, and I’m grateful for your thoughts!

    2. P.S. I wrote you an email via the address you left on the comment form, but it was not you. So if you’d like to continue the conversation via email, I’m happy to! RachaelKincaid@gmail

    3. P.P.S. If you ever come back here – I took my family to see the cofounder of BLM speak on Monday night! It was incredible. Thanks again for the rec.

  4. Rachel, I’m struggling with this right now. I’m searching for answers and I’m glad that I found this post. I first went to Influence, and Meg asked me to do some research and try to create something of a Bible study for the ladies. I was flattered and excited to dive into the task, but the Devil has been talking loudly to me. And after reading the last comment you go on this post, I absolutely don’t feel prepared to share anything with the Influence ladies. I love that you talk about loving the tension and uncomfortableness of putting yourself out there, but I am scared of it. I feel like this is a subject that is so charged that I will never be able to fully express my heart and truly be heard for the honesty and sincerity that is there. We don’t listen to each other. We are ready for the fight. But if we as Christians are fighting with each other, how can we change the world? You’ve given me a lot to think about and pray about. Thank you.

    1. Don’t be scared! Not of the tension, not of the comments, not of anything. We’ve got a God who goes before and comes behind, a God who flanks us on either side. We serve a Jesus who lived in the exact same tension of which you speak, and then He told us our yoke and burden would be light and easy. Proud of you! On your team.

Comments are closed.