Dear White People: DO YOUR PART!

Blog by Associate Rosie Blackburn

The events of 2020 have had me on perhaps the biggest rollercoaster ride of my life.

I started the year — literally on January 1, 2020 — in the hospital unable to walk.  After treatment and rehab, I fully recovered.  I am convinced it was the many, many prayers of my family, friends and my Dominican community that greatly contributed to that recovery.  I truly felt the arms of God holding me.

I was finally able to get out a bit and along came COVID-19.  I have felt very sad over the loss of life. I have felt afraid.  I have felt grateful that I am well and have all that I need. And I have felt anger at lack of leadership.

In the midst of the global pandemic, we have lost black lives to police brutality and now face the ugly truth of the deep-rooted racism in our country.   We have known it. We have denied it. And we have “whitewashed” it with lies.

We now have another opportunity to finally begin to be truthful, to own it, to own our part in it, to educate ourselves and to make the changes needed to truly be one human race.

We white people need to be leading this fight, not the black people.  Black people have to fight every day — EVERY DAY — for their survival.  We do not need to look to them to also educate us, to show us the way, to be the front line.

We set up these systems and found many ways to keep them in tact for 400 years to suppress BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color); and we must be the force that dismantles them.  It will take very hard work and perseverance.

What can we do, we ask?  I don’t have all the answers, but I have some thoughts and suggestions.  We have to begin.  We will stumble. We will fall. We will mess up. But we must keep going.   Some things we can do:

Read and educate ourselves.  White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo is a good beginning.  DiAngelo is a white woman and she is very clear in explaining white privilege.  I Am Still Here by Austin Brown Channing is a great read.  Channing is a black woman and illustrates how whiteness dominates our country.   There are many great books out there – Google it!

Quit trying to make Black people white!  Quit assuming we know how they feel, we don’t!  We can’t!  Quit thinking the white way is better, it isn’t!

Take a long hard look at your racism — a long look, an honest look.  Look every day.  You don’t have to share it with anyone but you do have to be willing to sit with yourself and hold yourself accountable.

Find ways to have the hard conversations with family, friends, and neighbors who make racial comments.  It has to stop!  We can be part of that change.  We have to speak up every time.

Pray, pray, pray.   God for me is that divine energy that connects us all, that’s all of us, and the expression of God is the many ways we love.  Prayer is the gift of love – It brings us into relationship with God and who/what we are praying for.  Peace is a relationship that acknowledges differences and still finds a way to stay in relationship and share in the love of God.  That divine energy connects our hearts, all our hearts, and provides us the energy to love and stay connected.

While I find myself experiencing deep sorrow every day with the staggering number of deaths from COVID-19, I have a deeper sorrow over humans killing each other. But, I also have hope.  Hope in our ability to be humble and honest and in our great desire to do better now that we know better.  It is the work of the rest of our lives.

Posted in Associate Blog, News

21 responses to “Dear White People: DO YOUR PART!

  1. Thank you, Rosie. Your essay speaks to my heart and my soul. A group is us DSOP associates north of New Orleans , across Lake Ponchartrain , are reading & discussing “White Fragility”, one chapter at a time because there’s so much information to absorb and process in each chapter. I have learned a great deal about unearned and unacknowledged white privilege and about my own bias as a white southerner raised in Louisiana. I can not ignore racism anymore. For me, Silence represents consent.

  2. Thank you very much for your reflections. Clear and to the point. I walk your journey of pain to see our situations
    so out of control. Many are trying but the path is too
    long, we must get walking and praying for good results, no matter how far we walk.
    Now that I am in Mohun I am more aware of the “black situation” most of our employees are black from many
    countries of our world.. I can honestly say they fit in
    our workplace at Mohun and so grateful to be with us.
    We have to stride to feel the say amidst the other color and work together in peace.

  3. My Dear Sister, Rose,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the events of this year, and what a year it has been, indeed! I, as a privileged white woman, have counted my blessings daily. I have not had to worry about having enough money for basic necessities, such as food. Being comfortably retired, I have not had the worry of losing a job and dealing with trying to file for unemployment pay in a subpar system, just to try and feed my family.

    Nor have I or any of my loved ones even contracted COVID-19. When I think of all the lives taken by it, my heart aches for all of those left grieving and for all of those who were taken from us too soon.

    I can’t begin to know what it is like to be a person of color in the USA. But, I am dedicated to doing my part to help change the situation by not being racist and speaking out against it whenever the need arises.

    And I pray for us all daily.
    Thanks again, Dot

  4. Rosie,
    Thanks for your reading & research.
    I will discuss your choice of books, so we can start being more active.
    I am caucasian but I have a grandaughter who is 1/2 African American & 2 great grandaughters that are 3/4 African American.

  5. Rosie,
    What you have shared is a universal cry and I will try my best to respect each persons life. I will listen deeply to people of any color and respect their culture. I minister with many people from different backgrounds. Thank You.

  6. Thank you, Rosie for your powerful and compelling words! We do have a lot to do to begin turning this around! Your encouragement is an excellent start!

    Also, I am SO happy that you are well!


  7. Rosie, thank you for your sharing. It is our work to do. If we have always been taught to read the signs of the times, well, it is staring us in the face! Thanks

  8. Thank you, I agree with you whole heartly. I work in a predominately black community, I am “white, a mom, a daughter, a wife, a grandmother…”if this is so necessary to say?
    I see racism on both sides at my work and in my city. The devil is busy keeping everyone away from what really matters. … Love and peace, joy, and grace; the gifts and blessing that come from God, even our children.

    There are good police officers and bad. Good white, black, yellow, brown and red people and bad…My husband works in a prison, he see this everyday. Those who harm others are not at liberty to continue to do so and are jailed. Rightly so, The numbers are staggering. Why? Those people of whatever, “color, or race or standing in life” are the real problem.

    I am so tired, of a racial divide, one sided, two sided, three sided…Then there are those people who show there strength through marriages, by crossing the cultural, and racial divides, assuming this is the answer, like kings and queens of long ago.
    In short, we are equal in God s eye, we must be too, in each other’s eyes.

    God and love of him is the only and beginning of the answer, I say this freely, In that my son has a Hispanic wife .He is “white,” once again, if that needs to be said.

    I pray that Jesus, as he walks among us, teaches each of us, to love, as though we see him in all peopel we meet, and that peace happens.

    Jesus tells us to pray, and St.Paul expounds on this by saying, with out ceasing, in all things. It is one moment at a time, one person at a time, one pray at a time that gets it done.

  9. Thanks so much Rosie – -very well said.
    Blessings to you for sharing your thoughts and insights.


  10. Thank you so much, Rosie, for your strong, powerful, true analysis of our situation as white poeple. It truky is OUR task, not the task of people of color, to figure out how to reverse what our ancestors have built and kept in place for 400 years – and what we benefit from every day of our lives. For us Dominicans, beginning with study is good so we can see more clearly what the issues are. Thank you for the books you recommended. But we also need to learn direct, peaceful ways of speaking and acting against racism as we run into it in ourselves, in one another, in our families and parishes and neighborhoods and workplaces. Imagine what a difference we could make if each of the 1,000+ of us effectively helped transform the racism in just 10 people (including ourselves of course!)!

  11. Thank you Rosie — from another whom friends call Rosie!
    Having worked in Black parishes and seen prejudice at work
    in many situations makes me grateful for those experiences. But we all have a long way to go.

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