Racism: A Conversation and Commitment that must Continue

Blog by Rosie Blackburn, OPA and Marybeth Irvine, OPA
Blog by Marybeth Irvine, OPA and Rosie Blackburn, OPA

Recently, I was listening to an interview on the radio. One guest commented he was tired of everything being about race.

I immediately thought – that is simply a white privilege statement.  I ask myself where a statement of that nature might originate, especially, in light of the very visible and troubling events of this past year.

A few ideas come to mind: fear of losing the power and many privileges that are bestowed to white folks; lack of awareness of or indifference to the enormous prejudices and challenges to which people of color have been subjected since our country’s formation; wanting peace at all costs; being swept up by extremist ideologies; “racism fatigue”… the list could go on.

Everyone in this country, as well as around the world, is aware of the vicious attack on our Capitol on January 6, 2021. It was a glaring example of the deep-seated racial bias in our country. Yes, as reported all over our country, had those rioters and intruders been black or brown-skinned, we would have witnessed a massacre on our Capitol steps.  In the year 2021.  A massacre.  In the land of the free.

The young man in the interview said he just wanted us all to be Americans and not focus on white or black or brown.  It’s really not that simple.  How do we live with our persecuted brothers and sisters as equal Americans, as members of one family of God?    Racial injustice is a systemic problem, but addressing its roots begins with each individual.  Positive changes are possible when we place our energies into reading and listening and engaging in honest conversations, into educating ourselves, into challenging ourselves. It will take much “unlearning,” much soul-searching, a deep openness and commitment, and a willingness to stay in the uncomfortableness that will arise from our explorations and work.

This is our work to do.  It is hard work, but it is necessary work for the survival of us all, our country, our world.  To shift our responsibilities to our brothers and sisters of color is to step right back into our houses of white privilege.

There are so many important questions to take on this journey of enlightenment:

Will we stay focused?

Will we look at our own bias, privilege, and judgements through the lens of truth?

What might I be able to see, now that I know?

Will we show up, go deeper, and choose peace and equality for all life?

Honestly, I also tire of the focus on racism. I want to put on my rose-colored glasses and hope for a miracle.

I am tired of being uncomfortable.  I want to sing Kumbaya, numb my senses, and pretend.

And then I hear that Divine voice that says, ‘Take care of what is yours to do, take care of your small part of Mother Earth, keep listening, keep studying, keep your eyes open, keep looking into your heart and soul, keep having hard conversations, keep working for peace and justice.’

We are called to live love, to be peace, for every human being.  Our commitment must continue.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

16 responses to “Racism: A Conversation and Commitment that must Continue

  1. You all hit the nail on the head! Now that the summer has opened our eyes, will we have the courage and the love to stay focused, keep learning, and use our voices for an end to the white supremacy that is within us and all around us? Thank you for your challenges!

  2. Thank you, Rosie and Marybeth!
    I am grateful for the reminder that to claim color blindness is an excuse to avoid the hard work of facing white privilege and dealing with the reality it creates.
    I am encouraged by your naming once again the personal and communal commitment we, as Sisters and Associates of Peace, have made to advance along this path of transformation.

  3. Thanks!! many of us here in Arizona know well what would have happened if Rioters had been, as you so well stated, ,people of color. But as Alida suggests it takes more than prayer and talk, action has to take place for attitudes to change. Starts with befriending people of color.

    1. Esther,
      Thank you for your presence with those who are often considered ‘less than.’ But perhaps more importantly calling us to remember that racism is about more than slavery and people with black skin. Our country’s policy around asylum and immigration are also racist and present present time example of supremacy and priviledge.

  4. Thanks so much Rosie and Marybeth for sharing with all of us for words of wisdom – – We need to PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!
    Blessings to you.

  5. Thank you Marybeth and Rosie, for your very important message on racism which is a SIN Period. A very timely preaching.

  6. If the conversation stops, the silence will not mean we have achieved peace. Rather, we achieved nothing and things will just roll along until the next eruption. Thanks for encouraging us to stay in the conversation, no matter how “boring” it becomes, no matter how “useless” it seems to be.

  7. Your questions are like an examination of conscience, which is always good for the soul. Now is not the time to stop working and praying for an end to racial injustice.

  8. Rosie and Marybeth, you’re right, it’s too easy to put on those rose-colored glasses and hope someone else does it; we’ve been doing it a long time. Your first question is the one, staying focused, that seems to be a problem for people . Gemma said it well, we must stay firm in the preaching, and who knows what can be done. It’s always been a small group of people who have enacted change, in anything.

  9. Thank you, Marybeth and Rosie, for a blog on what we as Peace people can do to bring racial justice to our own area of the planet. And congratulations for bringing back to the foreground a pivotal problem in our democracy which has to compete with so many other issues of the political divide, the pandemic, and economic downturn. Racial prejudice is a big factor if not a driver in all the others.

  10. Dear Rosie and Marybeth,
    Lift your voices sisters and preach!
    Thank you for the insights and the questions we all must answer.

  11. Thank you for acknowledging and highlighting both the tiring attitude related to dealing with race and the blatant televised white privelage that was exposed on the Capital steps. As long as we KNOW with every fiber of our being that it would have been a massacre if the demographic were different, we cannot rest! Thank you for continuing to shed light on this double standard!

  12. Get on the school board or city council and
    end bussing.
    Attend a black church.
    Move into a black neighborhood…!
    Get to know black folk … become a friend to someone of color.

    I’m listing all these things ‘to do’ for myself too, (I’m not in L’ville, so can’t do the first two).

    Thank you for this blog, Rosie and Mary Beth

  13. Your shared Divine voice sounds so familiar to the outcomes of our contemplations that brought us to the development of our DOP commitments. May we trust that history of our process and act on these Divine reminders as Love Impels Our Journey. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.