Here are ten practical ways you can help dismantle systemic racism, going from easiest to hardest.
10. speak out about systemic racism and say #blacklivesmatter on social media.
9. stand up for your black brothers and sisters by a peaceful protest.
8. invest in African American owned business by changing your purchasing habits.
7. to my pastor friends, yes, strive to make your churches welcoming, but stop thinking that “multi-cultural” means that black folks are coming to your church; instead, build close friendships with black pastors and support their churches and ministries and maybe even send some of your parishioners to be shepherded by African American pastors.
6. white coaches and parents stop recruiting the best black athletes to play on your travel clubs so your sons and daughters can have the best teams. Instead, send your sons and daughters to be on teams on inner city rec leagues and inner city teams coached by urban leaders. Or coach those teams. Invest in the inner city by supporting those teams and those leagues and let your sons and daughters be blessed by that experience of multi-cultural relationships and friendships.
5. if you live in the city, start sending your kids to your neighborhood school led by black leaders and infrastructure rather than charter schools started by white leaders and white infrastructure. Entrust your most valuable treasure – your children – to be taught, led, invested in by the black community. You won’t be sorry you did.
4. Stop seeing the value of people through the lens of economics. If you think money is what makes a person valuable then you ARE the problem. Instead, believe that you have more to learn from people of poverty than people of wealth. Humble your proud heart and start to listen to people who have struggled, people who have been wounded, and forgiven wounds, people who have struggled every day with oppression. Every person, every culture has immense cultural resources to share, but especially those cultures that have had to endure suffering. Become a person who is eager to learn from others, and especially one who associates with the poor, and weaves your life into the life of the poor, so that if they go down you go down with them.
3. If you do have power and privilege because of your race, because of your economic position, use that position and power and status for the good of others, and especially our African American brothers and sisters. Pour yourself out for them. That means more than just give money, donate to a charity, or attend a rally. That shit is easy. Isaiah 58 says literally “pour out your soul.” Don’t do this as a savior, that stinks of self-righteousness. Pour yourself out because God poured out his life to make you his son or daughter, and continues to pour his Spirit into you. Invest in people, and businesses, and churches, and ministries that lift up others. Use your strength to serve and share your resources, in solidarity with your fellow humans, for they are “your own flesh and blood” (Isaiah 58).
2. Build real, deep, faithful, lasting friendships with African Americans. Pastor friends, don’t pat yourself on the back if you have friendship with black pastors, with brothers who share your theology and point of view. That’s great. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about making friends with black folks who are living the struggle, who are on the streets trying to make it, single moms raising kids, young men trying to find work, guys released from the justice system, patriarchs and matriarchs of the African American community. They have so much wisdom, such incredible grace and hospitality and cultural resources. Stop talking and listen to them. Better than that, actually cultivate a friendship. Learn from them, and give back what you can. That’s what friendship is, a two way street. You’re stupid if you don’t.
1. Stop think you are RIGHT. Stop thinking that your point of view is right, your empathy is right, your vantage point is the right one, your judgment on this is right, and that you were right in your argument. There is only one who is RIGHTEOUS, there is only one who lived upright, there is only ONE. You are not saved by your rightness, but by the Righteous one, Jesus Christ. Give up your rightness and accept that you have nothing to bring to the table. You need mercy.