Initial thoughts

(This is far from finished and far from ready to be shared.)

Thesis: Work toward a more just, inclusive, and harmonious society, for everyone.

Outline:

  1. What we’ve learned and are learning.
  2. Tenets of faith in God and Christ that come to bare here.
  3. Challenges of reducing racism and for the underprivileged.
  4.  What we need to do.

 

(1) What we’ve learned and are learning.

  • Racism is still here, significant, and disturbingly widespread.
  • This discrimination casts fear into and takes a negative toll on black citizens.
  • In the past 400 years, black people suffered severe oppression for 350 of those years. In the 50 years since the Civil Rights Act some black people have been able to gain success, but there are long-term effects and enduring effects of racism which are significant.  Discrimination is still here and widespread. We need to work to help people overcome these effects.
  • The view of the history of the US is different for black Americans than ‘white Americans’ (the history that is usually emphasized in US history textbooks).
  • We can’t flip a switch and turn it off. It will probably be with us perpetually. What we need to do is work to reduce it and minimize it.
  • Terminology make a difference to people. We need to learn and use the proper terminology.
  • This time around, after George Floyd’s death, there is a bigger movement than in the past (we’ve had demonstrations, rioting, and looting in the past) against racism and police brutality.  Bigger: geographically in US and outside, involvement, groups and organizations and businesses making statements against racism and police brutality (even the AMS-mathematicians).

Understanding systemic in our society: https://apple.news/ADHsEFKRXQtmpKl42AQbDOA

(2) Tenets of faith in God and Christ that come to bare here.

  • All people are created and are a child of God.
  • All people are are created, by God, equal.
  • We are called to love our neighbors.
  • We are called to meet the needs of our neighbors.
  • It is our job to build one another up.
  • Humility is a trait we need to strive for.

(3) Challenges of reducing racism and for the underprivileged.

(4)  What we need to do.

  • Lament over the discrimination that continues in our country.
  • Continue Learning (which is includes “unlearning”) and understanding.
  • Relationships.

Listening, understanding, relationships, rapport.

Work toward a more just, inclusive, and harmonious society.

In this time, when we are listening and learning, so that we can work for a more just, inclusive, and harmonious society, it is good to look to God’s love and powerful grace, remembering the words of Isaiah 64:8 and Philippians 1:6. ‬

Learning: https://youtu.be/AGUwcs9qJXY Race in America, by Phil Vischer.

Discussing and describing unconscious bias in schools, Phil says, “Are the teachers racist? No. Are they affected by bias?  Yes, and it affects black students every day.”

Phil Vischer does not offer solutions. He asks us to do one thing: Care.

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:17 NIV

Clint Smith says ,”Everyone should approach this moment with a level of empathy, a level of humility, and a willingness to step into conversations and think about things in ways that you might not necessarily been willing to do so beforehand.”

Consider: Blind spots…Your brain on autopilot https://www.pwc.com/us/en/about-us/blind-spots.html
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2002/04/blind-spot/302463/

I wrote to Jim Dallmeyer:

I think it’s a watershed period for our country.

We have to be able to build trust, relationships, and rapport.  We (each of us) need to grow on a personal level.

I hesitate to use the phrase “take the next step*” (our country is ready to take the next step to reduce racism) because (as we are realizing) this is an ongoing growth process.

Isolated things such as new laws, new government spending, or even the taking down of a statue** will not grow trust, relationships, and rapport. I think we are realizing that we need (continually, and indefinitely) work for a more just, inclusive, and harmonious society.

There is no flipping of a switch or ending of racism.

Jim

*One does climb a mountain one step at a time – so, OK, let’s take the next step.

**laws, spending, and statue-removal feel good (OK, for you left-ists, spending money that doesn’t exist feels real good – haha-I couldn’t resist) but are mere bandaids and may not do a lot of good long-term.

Empty and pious platitudes (without works, faith is dead). Shouts of enough is enough.  We’ve seen the story over and over: A few days of headlines, a few days of protest, short-lived initiative, hallow acts of repentance. A spark of hope is dosed by something else comes along to grab the headlines or financial resources are inadequate.

A piece of legislation that tempts us to feel as if we’ve done something. Not just increased awareness and ‘sensitivity’ without changes in the culture and the way people interact.

 

OK: An honest conversation that can create a movement for lasting change // responsible // pulpit into the pews into the world // transformation

A journey that intentionally walks into the pain, knowing that lament, confession, a deepened awareness, a deliberate plan, a change of heart, a conversion, an acceptance of a changed heart, and a deepened commitment to change the story will bring about the change we all long for and desire.

As MLK said.

We have people that are unheard (and disrespected and unappreciated and more). We need to improve communication. This is the hard challenge. We don’t know how to communicate very well.

Progression

  1. Civility
  2. Respect
  3. Honor
  4. Glory
  • (Number 4 is for God. The first three are for humans.)
  • God told us what to do: Love our neighbors. Unfortunately, he didn’t provide in a book somewhere the specifics of how to do it. He does sometimes provide us some specifics through prayer. in any case the first three on the list require intentional effort, and the characteristics that Christians are to learn and display (the characteristics that God teaches).

 

Police brutality is wrong. They are to serve and protect. The use of force needs to be balanced and appropriate, remembering that they are here to serve and protect.

Tweet: https://twitter.com/richeisen/status/1266922958888464384?s=11 (video)

29 sec. video

We don’t want more chaos.  We don’t want to destroy. We want to build up. Find the root of the problem and destroy it.

 

WE 22 statement from 22 coaches at Arizona State University https://twitter.com/AntonioPierce/status/1270468293371899904/photo/1

Rashad Robinson, President of Color of Change (TED panel):

  • “Everyday people need to get involved.”
  • Racism is like water pouring over a floor with holes.  It will find the holes.  We cannot accept charitable solutions to structural problems, but we have to work for actual structural change.
  • Now is not the time for reform around the edges.

 

A couple comments on the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. I do believe that the lives of black people matter. The lives of everyone matter, but I believe it is warranted to have a BLM movement to call attention to the many issues involving racism and that black people are still discriminated against in our country.   However, the BLM movement has become a bit too multi-faceted. See  https://www.city-journal.org/black-lives-matter

Emotions

  • Shock that our country would act this way.
  • Grief over the killings, brutality, destruction, and that our country would act this way.
  • Outrage that humans would act this way.

Things to Understand/Realize

  • All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
  • There is police brutality.
  • To be effective, police do need to use force.
  • There is, often unintended and imperceptible, systemic racism.  It is ingrained in the culture.
  • Privilege exists. There are those is society that are more privileged than others. (It is generalized as ‘white privilege,’ but there are whites who do not have the privilege and there are non-whites who do have  privilege.)
  • Anger, hate, and the mob mentality will lead people to do things they normally would not do.
  • We can not have anarchy in an society.
  • Education makes a difference.
    • It can help reduce our (listed above) problems.
    • It can help people to be successful.

Issues to Work Out

  • Police learn to use force in a balanced way.

Attitudes and Values We Need to Cultivate

  • Love your neighbor as yourself.

Things to Do

  • Build relationships, especially with those who are not like us.
  • Learn to show not just civility, but respect and honor for all.
  • Find ways to empower people, especially the underprivileged.

Actions to take

 

Not good enough

  • we’ve got to do something. Doing a ‘thing’ won’t solve racism.  We need to work at reducing it and work at building up people and relationships. It’s an ongoing growth process. It’s not “doing something.”

In summer 2020, after the death of George Floyd there as been a huge amount of discussion about racism.  I have done much reflection (which I won’t log/detail at this time) and discussed it with people. My four take-away’s/goals I am setting for myself

  1. Continually grow my awareness,
  2. Develop relationships,
  3. Build people up,
  4. Cultivate opportunities for people.