Dismantling Racism & the Role of the Church…
Week 2: The Power of Posture
Posture. To address the systemic racism that exists in our country, good posture is important. A wide-open stance, relaxed forehead and neck, eyes and ears alert, hands open. Because most of us need to get educated about what people of color see, hear, and experience as part of their daily fare. We need to get educated because we don’t see it, and we don’t see it because we have the privilege, afforded by our color, of not seeing it. So, we need to do our homework. We need to learn the hidden histories, the writers and artists. We need to become familiar with the complicated, complex ways racism affects us all.
We start with a posture of humility. One of the rich lessons we’ve learned in our work with cohorts is that where we really see growth, transformation, change, and creativity is in our more diverse cohorts. A dynamism and creativity exist where different perspectives are brought to bear, are shared. But it requires that every member of the cohort be a learner.
The first time I was really confronted about racism, was by my college friend, Bonnie. We’d been friends for several years before she caught me up short one day on the kind of privilege I unwittingly enjoyed – the privilege to find hair products that suited my hair in the drugstore of this small, mid-western, college town. The privilege to walk in certain neighborhoods without being eyed by the police. The privilege not ever to be asked, “How do white people feel about this?” She went on reeling off examples. I was stunned. Indignant. Immediately defensive. “It’s not my fault!” I insisted. Bonnie was patient. “No, it’s not your fault. But at least you could see it, acknowledge it. If you see it then you can choose how to use your privilege.”
The posture of a learner. Believe me, it’s harder than it sounds. And it also happens to be the path to the adventure of previously unknown worlds.