by Reverend Ashley Elisabeth Bathe Dellagiacoma, Restart Pastor at +Kindred, Houston, TX
If we say we are not racist, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But…if we confess our sin, God who is faithful and just will release us from its death-dealing ways and transform our hearts into something new.
It’s been my experience that God does this through tough conversations, good books and podcasts, uncomfortable reflection and prayer, and committed relationship…all of which take ongoing action. God doesn’t whisk racism away from us or the world, but leads us through the work that truly transforms.
I can decry institutional racism in cops that stand as judge, jury, and executioner over people of color again and again without criminal penalty, be disgusted at white woman tears in Central Park, outraged at how people of color are conveniently considered essential workers when it means they’ll get sicker so I don’t have to, and heartbroken when another black man is lynched before our very eyes, and mourn for the black parents who keep burying their babies…but I also know damn well
…that my body tenses a little more and my guard goes up a bit higher in black neighborhoods than in white ones.
…that I make negative assumptions about black folks more often than white ones
…that these things lead me to preference and benefit people who look and talk like me and completely pass over voices of color.
and I have to work every day, every hour to unlearn these ways that have seeped through society into my heart, mind, and body and counteract their influence over my actions. I do so because, not only is it moral and right, but as a person of faith I will otherwise miss entire swaths of God’s being and goodness revealed through people not like me. As someone set free by God’s grace, I can not be satisfied with the chains of injustice that hold us all down.