Updated: May 15, 2020
Our family ran yesterday morning. We ran knowing that our run was not enough. We ran understanding that it was not true solidarity because we could never fully comprehend what it’s like to run with black or brown skin. We ran, not to try to prove that we’re “woke,” but as an acknowledgement that we still have so much to learn. We ran to teach our kids that we need to be aware of the pain around us, we need to engage the suffering, we need to speak up when we see injustice, and we need to confront our own bias.
We could have avoided the conversation with our kids about Ahmaud Arbery because we didn’t want to make them afraid of the world we live in. That option of avoidance is a clear sign of the privilege we hold because of the light color of our skin. We could ignore the subject altogether and believe that as long as we treat everyone with kindness and don’t make racist remarks, our kids won’t become racist. But we live in a society that is infected with the lie of white supremacy. If we don’t teach our kids to recognize and speak up against racism, they will buy into the lie that we live in a post-racial society, and their own bias will go unchecked.
As I recently heard Latasha Morrison say, bias that is left unchecked can become deadly. It is that unchecked bias that makes it so that my friends raising kids with black skin don’t hold the option to have the race conversation. One friend told me the other day that they’ve already taught their boys not to put their hands in their pockets in a store or wear the hoods of their sweatshirts, and she questioned whether they need to add jogging to the list of don’ts. If those of us raising white kids engage in these tricky conversations, maybe someday the parents raising black kids won’t have to try to teach their kids how to survive in their dark skin.
We ran, but we still have so much work to do.
If you’re interested in some resources to learn more about racism in our country and how to be an ally for our brothers and sisters of color, consider checking out these books that have been helpful in my learning process…
Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation by Latasha Morrison
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (You can also watch the movie.)
And here are some helpful social media accounts to follow…
Neither one of these lists is exhaustive. There are so many amazing black leaders to learn from through their books, social media accounts, podcasts, and documentaries. If there are any that have been helpful for you, please add to the list in the comments below.