Nobody’s Calling You a Racist (and 5 Action Points)

Black Lives Matter.

It’s a movement that started a couple years ago. People have all kinds of opinions and reactions to it, especially in light of recent events.

I’ve been having my fair share of conversations. Trying to figure out how to navigate it all as a white female who has no idea what it’s like to be a black person in America. A white female who has the luxury of turning off social media and the news and thus, turning off the issue.

The idea of racism is the central topic in these conversations and something like this is usually said:

I just don’t come across it.

As a white female, I don’t run up against prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone because of their race.

But here’s the thing.

Unless that prejudice, discrimination, antagonism is loud and visible, why would I run up against it?

So many of us hear “racism” and we picture the curmudgeonly great uncle who uses derogatory words for certain people groups, or those white supremacists with swastikas tattooed on their arms.

But that’s not the full scope of the word. It’s not even close.

Racism isn’t just about name-calling or overt discrimination.

It’s about a value system.

And as a whole, society doesn’t place the same value on black lives as it does white ones.

Case in point:

The statistic that’s being thrown around like its own version of a firearm, almost always (at least that I can see) by white people taking offense to #blacklivesmatter, as if the hashtag is accusing a particular person of being racist.

2015-11-23 11_56_07-Donald J. Trump on Twitter_ __@SeanSean252_ @WayneDupreeShow @Rockprincess818 @C

I don’t even know if this statistic is true.

Whether it’s true isn’t even the point.

The point is that this statistic is used sanctimoniously, as if to say, “I rest my case.” As if this should be the big mic drop moment wherein “the other side” is silenced and discredited and made out to be wrong and foolish.

See, this statistic says. Nobody’s racist.

And yet, this, right here, along with the casualty with which its posted is highly problematic.

That statistic shouldn’t make anybody feel sanctimonious.

That statistic and the casualness with which its posted is one of the reasons why the #blacklivesmatter movement exists.

People are posting these statistics as if those lives don’t matter.

Can we be real for a minute?

If a white man drove up into a predominantly white neighborhood and opened fire, it would be all over the news.

All. Over.

When this happens in poor, predominantly black neighborhoods, nobody says boo. It’s not newsworthy. Because, you know. “Thugs will be thugs.” (Don’t even get me started on that word … )

With this mentality, how can we argue that black lives matter as much as white lives?

Something is broken.

Something is wrong.

Something isn’t right.

That statistic shouldn’t be used to silence the black community. That statistic should cause anybody who holds life in high regard to lock arms with the black community. It should give anybody who holds life in high regard a thirst to understand.

What is going on? Why is this happening?

If we truly believe that skin color is nothing more than melanin level, and we truly believe every person is intrinsically valued because of Imago Dei, then WHY doesn’t that statistic move us to action?

Some of you might be thinking, what action? What can I possibly do as a white person who is largely unaffected by all of this? It’s a question I’m wrestling with. A question I’ve heard many of my friends wrestling with, too. Here’s where I’ve landed so far:

  • Listen and listen carefully. Not to other white people. Listen to our fellow black image bearers who understand in a way a white person never will. Check your Twitter and Facebook feeds. I highly respect Trip Lee. Follow him and see who he’s retweeting. You’ll find some really compelling, Christ-centered voices who are part of the black community.
  • Say something. Not an opinion. Lord knows we have too many of those flying around the social media sphere. Now’s not the time to add to that particular noise. Now is the time to lock arms and speak love. It can be as simple as, “I’m listening. And I’m standing with you.”
  • Speak truth. When a family member, friend, or acquaintance says something that sounds/feels wrong–when their words or attitude devalue life, any life–push back. Point it out. Respectfully and in love.
  • Pray. For healing. For justice. For restoration. For love to win.

I think this is a good place to start.

* Please know, I’m nervous about this post. I’m nervous about stepping into these waters, because there’s so much I don’t know and don’t understand. I feel a little bit like someone with no kids trying to talk on parenting. If you have beautiful brown skin like my daughter, please chime in. If I’ve said something that doesn’t sit right, please chime in. I want to understand better.

A Fall Love Affair

fall leaves

Fall is my favorite.

Never mind what comes after. We won’t talk about that now. (This is a happy place.)

For now, we will strictly focus on FALL and all that is lovely.

The vibrant leaves on the trees.

The air turning crisp.

The scent of burning leaves.

Pumpkin spice coffee creamer.

Bags and bags of candy corn in the candy aisle at the grocery store.

Pumpkin patches and hay rack rides and jack-o-lanterns.

Apple orchards and sweatshirts and jeans and the crunch, crunch, crunch of leaves under my sneakers.

Hot chocolate in styrofoam cups at Friday night high school football games.

Wrapped up under a down comforter with the window cracked just enough to let in the nighttime chill and the haunting sound of train whistles in the distance.

Yep, I love fall. Love it down to my bones.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons I had so much fun writing my upcoming novella, An October Bride (releases September 23rd). It takes place during two of my favorite months (September and October) in northern Wisconsin, and includes many of my favorite fall-season things listed above. I can’t wait to introduce you to Emma Tate and Jake Sawyer!

An October Bride

Until then…

What’s YOUR favorite thing about fall?

Why Hello There!

It’s hard to believe that the bare-feet, sunscreen-on-our-noses, pool-side days are behind us. Kids are back to school with new backpacks and sharpened pencils, ready to learn. Air conditioners are turning off. Windows are opening. Leaves are starting to change. Stadium lights are shining on Friday nights. Candy corn’s in the candy aisle. And ever so slowly, the air’s turning crisp.

I love summer. But man, do I loooooove fall.

Since I’ve been away these past couple of months, I thought we’d catch up by taking a look in our rear view mirrors (what we’ve been up to over the summer), and then turning our eyes toward the horizon (what’s up ahead). Sound good? Good!

My Rear View Mirror High Lights

I traveled to Washington D.C. to talk to our congressman and representatives about the legally adopted children stuck in Congo, our daughter included.

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Ryan and I put together our little girl’s room, a task that has filled us with hope and expectancy.

Salima bedroom 2

Salima bedroom 1

I finished content edits for my fourth novel, The Art of Losing Yourself, which will release in April, 2015. It was a labor of love, I tell ya.

I wrote an adorably romantic novella for a second Year of Weddings series by Zondervan, set to release in October, 2015.

I joined Toastmasters.

I visited book clubs and read books and went on bike rides and ate a lot of ice cream and have been attempting to learn French and, and, AND!

I sent my son off to kindergarten!

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I have no idea how we got here already, but here we are. My baby boy is growing up. His two bottom loose teeth are proof.

What’s on the Horizon

My very first novella, An October Bride, releases in three short weeks! I’m smitten with this story, y’all, and I can’t wait to share it with you! Check back next week and there will be some bonus features up on the page. The page is a little sparse at the moment. (In random news…one of my friends saw the cover and thought the bride was standing beside a bare-chested man. I couldn’t see what she was talking about at first, but then she explained how she was seeing it and voila! I SAW IT TOO! In fact, every time I look at my beautiful cover I see it and giggle a little. If you’re seeing it too, rest assured. That is her arm. Not male pectoral muscles.)

An October Bride

At the end of this month I will be boarding a plane for the Democratic Republic of the Congo to spend some time with THIS cutie.

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Oh, my heart. I cannot wait. I have some adoption-related tasks to accomplish while I’m there. Mostly, I’m just excited to have her in my arms again. People ask if I will be bringing her home this time. There is a remote possibility. God would have to perform a CRAZY miracle, but there’s a chance it could happen. If you want to join us in praying for that miracle, please do! I know God is powerful enough to make it happen if it’s His plan. But I also know that if the miracle doesn’t happen, His grace will get us through.

When I return, I’ll rest up a bit and then I’ll take off for Indiana, where I’ll be speaking at the Indiana Faith and Writing conference, and teaching a workshop too. If you’re looking for a cheap writing conference to attend, this is a great one to sign up for! I’d love to see you there.

What about YOU? What’s in your rear view mirror? What’s on your horizon?