Pass The Mic: How To Be A White Ally
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Jemar and Tyler are joined by Ekemini Uwan to discuss her recent RAANetwork blog post “Where Are Our White Allies?” and address practical ways in which white Christians can stand with their black brothers and sisters in the pursuit of racial reconciliation.
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8 thoughts on “Pass The Mic: How To Be A White Ally”
Hello and thanks for your site. It is informative and helpful. I just wanted to make one comment regarding the article linked to this post, “Where Are Our White Allies?” by Ekemini Uwan. In that article you say,
“ Personally, I believe the term “racial reconciliation” is a misnomer because it connotes equal fault. Racial history in America shows that to be demonstrably false. “Racial forgiveness” is a term coined by sociologist Dr. Chinyere Osuji Assistant Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University (Camden), which is more precise. For the purposes of clarity and continuity, I employ “racial reconciliation” because that is the common term used in evangelicalism.”
I just want to point out that theologically, reconciliation does not have to connote equal fault. The Apostle Paul is given the ministry of reconciliation in which sinful men are reconciled to the true and living God, who, I’m sure you would agree, is blameless (see 2 Cor 5). For example, Matt 5:24 puts the responsibility of reconciliation on the guilty person in a conflict, while Matt 18:15f puts it on the offended party. The key to reconciliation being, reconciliation is “my” responsibility. Also in Eph 2:14–16 we see that when people are reconciled to God, one of the implications will be reconciliation between people groups (in this case Jews and Gentiles) because we are now one body in Christ Jesus.
That is not to say that I don’t see value in the term “racial forgiveness” but I would not see it as a more precise phrase. Reconciliation will not happen apart from forgiveness, but it is only one of the steps involved in full reconciliation.
Thanks for taking the time to read through all of that. And thank you again for your activism.
John, check out the apostle Paul’s reaction to the sins of a large group of people – Romans 9:1-3 and 10:1-3. I don’t buy the idea that the problems in the African American community are exactly as you say, but even so, you’re heart is nothing like that of Paul’s right now. Given the goodness of God toward you in Christ, just as it was towards Paul, I hope you reconsider the way you’re speaking.
Thank you for your comments. Please believe me, I have no contempt for you, Ekemini, or any of the other RAAN contributors I am addressing. Since I began following RAAN last August, I have had a sincere desire to understand where you all are coming from. I have bought several books recommended here and I am praying for wisdom, and charity. I also want to say that this is a two-way street. If, as Jamar said in the podcast, that he considers this a “teachable moment” for “all of us”, and, if I am to take your words to heart, “Maybe you’ll learn something,” then, I would expect you all to be sincerely willing to learn yourselves. Are you teachable? I am trying to be.
You say, “So, to imply that because we talk about injustice that we are suddenly not your ally is false, my brother and uncharitable.” No, that’s not what I’m saying at all. With regard to Michael Brown’s death, you (and I mean you that are involved in this discussion on RAAN), exactly what is the injustice you speak of? Herein lies the problem. What you are calling injustice is actually justice. That is what Michael Brown received. Justice. God Himself put into place that system of justice.
Romans 13. “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”
You want to emphasize that Michael Brown was “an image-bearer of God and had dignity.” That’s fine. I agree. But he was wickedly and violently attacking another image-bearer with dignity, Officer Wilson. Tyler, please point me to the podcast or article on RAAN where you affirm that Officer Wilson was “an image-bearer with dignity.” And Officer Wilson is more than that. He is a sword-bearer with dignity.
Tyler, and the rest of you at RAAN, I am all for unity and reconciliation with you. I say with “you”, because I am reconciled with black Americans at large, and black Christians in my church and neighborhood (which is very black) The black Christians in my church don’t share your sociology and anthropology, and I don’t either. I hope your are humbly willing to reconsider your ideas. There is a great future for us if you are. I don’t believe it will happen though, unless more and more black Americans, and black Christians in particular, acknowledge and confess their contempt for white people and repent. Many white brothers and sisters are already far along that road. Please come with us.
Thank you for this episode, it is helpful to hear about this issue from the body of Christ. I agree with Ekemini that this is not an issue that the church can surrender to the political realm. I am not someone of great influence, but I will walk towards understanding and being your neighbor.
Any persecution that we receive for righteousness is not something to be feared, but rather something to be coveted. I believe that is treasure that moths and rust cannot destroy, crowns to be thrown at the feet of our king. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Thanks for listening to the podcast. I must say, your comments sound more of contempt than what we said in the podcast. We were merely sharing perspective from our vantage point. If you disagree, that’s okay. You are well within your right to do that. However a few things should be cleared up for the purpose of fair representation of our podcast:
1. We all know and appreciate police officers. Personally, there are police officers in my family who I have brought to our church to teach seminars for our people on proper ettiquette around the law. So, to imply that because we talk about injustice that we are suddenly not your ally is false, my brother and uncharitable.
2. We do not affirm Michael Brown’s innocence or perfection, go back and listen to the podcasts. We affirm that he was an image-bearer of God and had dignity.
3. I’ve said this on the podcast before: there is glory and grime in every community. Every community has sins to repent of. I’m confident we could go story for story on bad stuff that’s happened at the hands of either community. However if you are going to make a claim of institutionalized racism, please bring statistics and data. We have presented that on the podcast before; you should as well.
4. Please approach Ekemini and all our guests with respect. You may disagree with their assertions, but do not put words in their mouths or assume that they don’t care about you or your family when they do not know you. That is not gracious, fair or true.
5. We believe that there may be a perspective we have that you may not. You can listen to that perspective and interact with it charitably or you can attack us. I hope that you continue to truly listen with open ears. Maybe you’ll learn something.
Grace and Peace
My heart. Just read the above comments and my heart aches! Brothers and sisters, the comments above are examples of why our brothers and sisters in the black community are fatigued and I can’t imagine how hard it is to hear fellow believers sounding so hateful! Did you not hear them say everyone makes mistakes. Did any EVER claim perfection or sinless-ness? This is why we, white believers, need to step up. You have my support.
John, while I (a white guy) disagree with much of your perspective, I have one question. Has RAAN been misrepresenting their methods of harvesting wool? I hope the sheep are ok. #shearhypocrisy
I have said before, I am your ally. However, you won’t have me, because, although I am a brother in Christ, I strongly disagree with your view of race relations today, and the primary causes of the rampant criminality in the black community. According to your conversation today, and the majority of RAAN articles and podcasts, I am one that must be taught by you, the enlightened ones, and one that does not acknowledge white racism in the past or present.
For the record, I fully acknowledge the atrocity of slavery, Jim Crow, and the existence of white racism in our nation today. I hate racism wherever I see it and hear it. And racism is raging in your own community. This is the biggest reason your discussions lack credibility. You don’t acknowledge what is true about your own community’s sins, so the plank is squarely in your eyes.
Contempt for white people is everywhere in your community, as widespread as in the white community, even institutionalized in every public school and university in the US for three decades, in the form of afro-centric, white hating multiculturalism. That contempt for white people exists among those who are saints is reprehensible, every bit as reprehensible as white racism ever has been.
Just today I heard a young black man, supporting another racist movement gaining more and more influence and power each day, Black Lives Matter, say, “Kill all these [expletive] [white] cops! And kill their children too.” BLM is often spoken of in RAAN articles and podcasts with affirmation when it ought to be rejected for its overt racism. I am a white cop with a family. I’d like to hear you have a round table discussion about the racial fatigue of white officers and their families. But that won’t happen, will it?
Ekemini, how empty is your self assessment of being one who comes to the aid of others who are persecuted! You won’t be MY ally! I’ve not read a word of your thoughts about your concern for persecuted white people because you excuse your racial animus with phrases like “racial fatigue.” Do you care at all what my wife and teenage son felt like after recently being targeted victims of black crime? Can you still see her face as I do at that moment?
And to hear, yet again, Michael Brown’s shooting be affirmed as a racist event in a RAAN podcast is grossly disturbing, and frankly dishonest before God, in Jesus Christ. Michael Brown was a violent criminal who violently attacked a white police officer. Michael Brown was the only racist in the event. He tried to take Officer Wilson’s gun. Black witnesses testified to those facts. The local judicial system and the federal judicial system, a federal judicial system led at that time by a black racist, thoroughly investigated the Ferguson event and cleared Officer Wilson of any wrongdoing. Yes, that same racist led Justice Department identified racial issues in the Fergesun Police Department but it did not link even one with the death of Brown. That you affirm Michael Brown and ridicule and bear false witness against Officer Wilson, who will forever be in hiding, is a blatant denial of truth, with a small “t”, as you accuse others of doing.