A White Friend Who Wants to Be An Ally

For the last week, I have struggled to figure out how to be a more potent ally to people of color in America. I ran into this article and have read it several times now. This blog is some of my reflections and action steps.

First of all, here is the article link. It’s a more critical read than my blog.

“For Our White Friends Desiring to Be Allies” By Courtney Ariel

Listen More and Talk Less

Today I’m committing to spending more time listening and less time trying to prove how caring I am. I’m committing to pay more attention to the people around me and hearing they say.

Sit in someone else’s experience.

In 11 years of marriage, I’ve learned Ashley doesn’t always want a solution as much as a listening ear. Similarly, I’m going to work on sitting for a moment in the experiences of others. It insults my wife to think I know better than her experience. How much am I insulting people of color when I offer my opinion on their experience?

Educating myself

I just bought Michelle Alexander’s book

“The New Jim Crow, Mass incarceration in the era of color blindness.”

This was recommended to me for understanding black people’s experience in America. I will take time to listen and consider more of the problems they face.

Don’t be surprised

It’s carefree and foolish for me to be surprised that racism still happens today. My experience in America has always been enjoyable. Yet, I know many who have suffered much for many reasons, including racism. I need to be sensitive to the fact that this is a reality for millions of people in America.

Do the work and then ask questions.

When I’m exhausted, my daughters’ persistent questions annoy me. I need to remember America is full of exhausted men and women Before I ask a lot of questions I need to work to learn.

Stop talking about Colorblindness.

I need to realize this is a blind statement. We have never been colorblind in America. I have never been colorblind. I believe I have always tried to treat people fairly. Yet, I also know I have drawn many conclusions based just on skin color. I must remind myself regularly that I’m not colorblind. I must work to see where I am making harmful assumptions about others.

Privilege means a debt owed.

In some way, I have a debt that I owe because of my privilege. I have enjoyed years and generations of cultural benefits. It’s up to me to invest in and share my blessings with others.

Conclusion

The article by Courtney Ariel challenged me to think and listen to the black experience in America. I believe despite the best of intentions. I am, in some ways, part of the problem. I intend to change this.

I don’t believe God has called me to live in fear but in a spirit of power and love (and a sound mind). I also don’t think it would be useful to walk around, holding onto a guilty conscience for generations of privilege. I hope I can cultivate a greater willingness to stop and listen to black pain. I hope I can learn to speak up against injustice wherever I see it. I hope I can rigorously challenge the assumptions I make in my heart.

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