LIFEGroup Reflections

This week we did something different in our LIFEGroup. We participated in one of the breakout sessions for the Justice and Mercy series. In the session we watched a video that described how the idea of different races has been used in America to justify the acquisition of land, wealth, and power by whites.

There is only one race, the human race. One of the things we learned in the breakout session is that there is often more genetic difference between people of the same ethnic group than between people of different ethnic groups. As some of the literature we read stated, the difference is really only skin deep.

As we began the discussion on racism it was evident that there was tension in the room. First, no one wants to be thought of as a racist. Second, so many of us have had such little experience with minority cultures, when we open our mouths we are bound to show our ignorance. So here we are, a group of white people, trying to acknowledge the evils of racism while at the same time trying to show ourselves not to be racists.

We say things like ‘I have black friends’ or ‘haven’t we come a long way?’ or ‘I’m not racist.’ Why are we always so quick to point out that we don’t think we are part of the problem? Why are we so afraid to acknowledge the part that we’ve played in perpetuating a system of inequality? Why are so afraid to acknowledge our hate and our ignorance? Why are we so afraid?

Maybe we are afraid because we are ignorant. Fear, hatred and ignorance go hand in hand. We don’t know what it is like to live as a minority in this country and we don’t want to know. We just want others to know the problem isn’t our fault. But what if it is?

Towards the end of the breakout session we started the process of letting our defenses down. We started to talk a little about the prejudices we do have. We started talking about how maybe our past wasn’t as noble as we had been taught. We acknowledged the division in our community. I hope that as the Justice and Mercy series continues we can continue the process of taking down our defenses and opening ourselves to learning.