The Rev. Kelli gave me permission to reprint her words. I hope this helps all you mothers and fathers out there when it comes to teaching your children the meaning of love and the beauty of all colors…
White privilege exists, as does Black privilege, though the nature of each is very different. White’s gain the privilege of all of the favorable assumptions that attach to whiteness, which I believe far outweigh the unfavorable ones. These favorable assumptions lead to real world benefits. Blacks gain the privilege of the victim position. Victim-hood does have certain real world benefits but those benefits are, I believe, outweighed by the burden of victim-hood. Poor is burdensome in any color. Poor Blacks bear both the burden of poverty and the burden of race. Until we stop punishing “difference” it will always be difficult to be the odd man out because the odd man will always be left out. Inclusion and understanding are the answer.
We are all saturated in whiteness. We can’t get away from it. It is like trying to stay dry in the ocean, its not going to happen. What we resist, persists. Rather than resisting each other, we can choose to embrace one another. I now own my whiteness and it has totally opened up my world. What am I talking about? Well I use to think that certain things were for white people, certain music, ballet (except Alvin Ailey), no more. I own it all. I claim it all as a part of who I am and I free white people to claim rap, or jazz, or blues, or whatever they choose to embrace. All that is has been given by God, the fact that it comes into the world through one race or another is of consequence only to the extent that we wish to give thanks that that groups experience led them to create such a thing.
The opportunity is to really appreciate each other. As a Black person, I can learn from even a racist white person. I can appreciate them. There are worse crimes than racism. None of us is without something to offer in the world. I willing receive goodness, light and love all people.
Anger is fine. I think it clouds our thinking. I try not to be dominated by it. I honor everyone’s experience and hear the pain in the voices of those Whites who have felt hated and unappreciated, Blacks who have felt the same, and all of us who feel frustrated in our efforts and desire to love and get along with one another.
We, most of us, are of mixed race. Somewhere down the line if we went back we might find a black or white face to call grandma, grandpa or cousin. The abuse to my Black Ancestors was a tragedy and its remnants today in our collective consciousness is so sad. The abuse that my white ancestors inflicted was wrong and I choose to forgive them for that. I know that if they had known better they would have done better. Because both black and white live in me. I choose not to be at war with myself. To hold whites accountable for the actions of their white ancestors, I too must be accountable for the actions of my own whit ancestors. My hope is that it was a less informed and less evolved time and that we, as a country, are better now.
Today, over 900,000 people are bought and sold in the human slave trade. It is fast overtaking drug sales as the number one illegal industry and yields some 32 billion dollars a year in revenue.
We have to stop fighting with each other over who is in the most pain and who has suffered and been mistreated the most. Instead, let’s begin to really focus on loving and appreciating each other and taking an active role in making life less painful and better for all of us. A very close friend of mine read me the riot act yesterday because in a project proposal I listed him as a DJ and Spiritual Facilitator. He had an issue with the term DJ because in his view DJs are considered immature and irresponsible adults who have never grown up. He did not want to be associated with that title. I totally did not understand. But three important things happened. First, I apologized and sought more information so that I could avoid offending him in the future. I didn’t argue about the validity of his offense. I separated him taking offense from me being offensive. People can be hurt by their own interpretation of what transpires. There needn’t be any intention to hurt on the part of the speaker. Once I know that I have hurt someone, I choose to apologize, get clarity, and attempt to avoid causing future hurt. The second important thing that happened is that he gave me the benefit of the doubt. He saw me as innocent of intentional offensiveness. He owned his own pain and helped me to connect to it through understanding, and he forgave me. The third important thing that happened is that we acknowledged our importance to one another and reaffirmed our love for each other.
I think this is a model for handling racial misunderstanding. If someone says that it feels racist and it hurts, then why not apologize and get an understanding to avoid future hurt. Likewise, if someone apologizes, why not impart information to create understanding, see the other as innocent of intentional offense and then forgive. Black and White, we are important and valuable to one another. In fact, we are literally family. If we could master our relationship with one another, we could unite to handle the other challenges facing us and the world and we could raise our country to an unprecedented level of accomplishment and love. I invite all of the moths to come together and begin this process through projects that will model racial unity and harmony.
Love to you all,