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Category: America

Finding Hope in the Wake of Charlottesville

I’ve been thinking about what to write in the aftermath of this weekend’s horrifying display of humanity at its ugliest. I can’t fail to address something like this on my blog. It’s too important in the life of every American. But what can I, a privileged white woman, say in light of the criminal, racially motivated hatred that was displayed by white supremacists, including neo-Nazis and the KKK? After three tragic deaths and 19 injured victims?

What do I know of prejudice? The answer is nothing. I have never—and never will—suffer anything like the prejudice that a person of color experiences on a regular basis. However, after days of watching Twitter and reading the news, I do have something to say about how we can respond to these events.

Reflections on How White People (Like Me) Can Respond

The first thing we can—and SHOULD—do is to educate ourselves. Go beyond social media. Read the news reports. Watch the Vice documentary “Charlottesville: Race and Terror,” but be prepared to be disturbed. It’s vital to learn the truth about what’s going on in America and why we need to take a stand against it.

During that process, you will find—or, perhaps, have already found—that there is a lot of vitriol being spewed right now—against the president, against the perpetrators of these events. This anger is justified. I stand firmly against racism in all forms and degrees. As thoughtful and justice-conscious human beings, we should be infuriated by what happened this weekend—and by every act of racism that takes place in our world.

As a Christian, one crucial thing I need to point out is that the KKK claims to be a Christian group but THIS IS NOT TRUE. In the words of my friend, Darwin M. Dean II., “People with the ideology of racism and white supremacism could not be further from God’s light. They are not Christians; they are evil.” God created us in His image—black, brown, white, and all variations in between. We all share equally in His inheritance of eternal life, should we choose to accept His Son as our Savior.

But after the initial shock has passed, is rage and hate the way forward? Is it a helpful way to proceed?

I believe that we need to come together as a nation, in spite of everything that’s happened. But we have work to do first. We need to move forward, calling oppressors and aggressors by name and denouncing racism as a nation. We need to stand together against future extremist rallies like this one, as more are being planned even as I write (information taken from the Vice documentary previously cited). Step one is taking down the monuments that glorify slavery. Shout out to Baltimore for taking action on this already! These statues are the supposed excuse for these white supremacist marches, and they should have been taken down long ago.

I also think we should pray for our nation and its leadership, for those who were attacked and for their families, and for all enemies of human rights and dignity.

In Matthew 5:43-44, Jesus says: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Yes, I think we should pray for the white supremacists, controversial as that might be. God alone can change the hearts and minds of human beings—and this protest showed that a lot of hearts and minds need to be changed. More than any of us would wish to be the case in our country.

I believe we need to resist the temptation to fight hate with hate and respond with hope instead.
And in this case, hope means taking action and showing the world—especially our brothers and sisters of color—what we stand for.

I believe that we should . . .

  • Talk to our African American and Jewish friends about their thoughts on the events and learn from their perspective
  • Stay informed on current events
  • Be an active participant in conversations about race and racism in America and around the world
  • Call out racism when we see it
  • Take part in peaceful protests
  • Contact our state representatives about supporting rights for all, and call for the resignations of those who have spoken in favor of white supremacists in the past
  • Donate to worthy causes that further social justice and civil rights
  • And make a difference every day by doing whatever good we can.

What’s not helpful . . . I don’t believe it’s positive or productive for mobs to pull down monuments. The process of taking these monuments down can and should be mandated by each state’s government.

I don’t believe hate-filled tweets help either. Whether you’re black, brown, or white, there is great value in respect. For those who say some don’t deserve our respect, I have to admit that I agree—but I choose to show it anyway, because I strive to love like Jesus. That means treating people with the respect and kindness He would, whether they deserve it or not.

So, in the wake of Charlottesville, let’s find hope—in each other and in the Lord. Let’s find a way to be one nation under God . . . for real, this time.

Anna

Photo Credit: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/08/12/state_of_emergency_declared_in_charlottesville_as_violence_erupts_at_white.html