It’s been said, “change happens at the speed of relationship. We are continually shaped by the influence of other people. Likewise, when it comes to fighting racism, a primary way is through relationship. We fight by bringing truth and love to our existing relationships, and also by striving to make relationships that bridge racial divides.
But what do we do when our whole world has been redesigned to reduce, or eliminate, contact between people? (looking at you, COVID-19!) In the already difficult area of relationship-building we’ve been dealt an even greater degree of adversity.
If you’ve felt the desire to pursue new, multiethnic relationships, yet are more cut off from people than ever before, what do you do? How do you channel the fire?
The biggest way I’m answering that question right now is by pouring time into anti-racist education. This is important because, without education, we are uninformed (or misinformed) and can bring harmful ignorance into the very relationships we are trying to build. But, gaining knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn’t the point. The goal of knowledge is application in relationship. That’s not been a strongpoint of mine, but something I’m trying to change!
The title of this blog is Imperfect-Journey, and I want to put that out there again. This list is not perfect or comprehensive and my perspective is just one among many. It’s designed to help those struggling with the inability to move into the relationship-building phase of racial reconciliation because of COVID’s forced isolation. We can maintain anti-racist momentum! Here are five ideas how:
1 Work on actively committing history to memory so that it increasingly informs the way you think about and react to racial events in the news and your immediate context. Might I recommend The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby?
2 Read outside your norm. Read things written by immigrants, African-American, Asian-American, and Native-American writers. Fiction counts! In fact, it’s incredibly important. It matters that we read voices of color that aren’t just talking about history and oppression, but are stories of happiness and joy. As the joy expert Ingrid Fetell Lee says, “black joy matters.”
3 Spend time discovering music by minority musicians. Just like reading outside our norm, expanding our musical intake opens our hearts to more of the world. Spotify gives artists a tiny kickback for each song you listen to, but some artists’ Spotify pages have a link to donate directly to the artist for COVID relief. You can put your money where your values are. If you value a musician, support them even in just a small way!
4 Share what you’re learning with your family and friends. We all, myself very much included, have reason to be wary of posting socially about “issues” that don’t include pictures of cute kids or puppies. But you don’t have to use Facebook or Instagram or Twitter to impact your bubble. Start a conversation over text or email, (or maaaaaybe the phone 😊) Don’t underestimate the power of a group text both for learning from each other and just experiencing the joy of connection.
5 Enroll in an anti-racism course by a reputable organization. These usually cost money, but again, you engage in the important practice of letting your money follow your values. Be The Bridge is an organization dedicated to equipping White people with education needed to be agents of reconciliation. They have a number of courses available for purchase from their website, and there is always this book by founder LaTasha Morrission.
COVID has taken a lot from us, but we don’t need to let it take away the momentum towards anti-racist living. Keep pressing on, imperfectly and in grace. Let us know in the comments what your anti-racist education looks like right now or something that you’re planning to start!
Stay up-to-date with this blog by sending an email with “subscribe me” to email@example.com I’ll send out one email at the beginning of each month with new blog posts, resources, and other tidbits for living the anti-racism life. You can also find me on Facebook (@imperfectjourneyblog) and Instagram (@crisanne_werner) Keep living your own imperfect journey!
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