The solution to learning about racism is change, and that can only happen from within.
There is so much finger-pointing, blaming, and hatred being spewed from every side. It has left me feeling like no one is right. It doesn’t matter what is said; it is all too little and too late. This hatred and violence is NOT the answer. The protests, demonstrations, and fault finding do not encourage change – they only feed more fear.
The answers lie within each of us. It is time to look inward and work to change the only thing we do have control over.
Kindness, love, and compassion are the answers. They will ALWAYS be the answers.
The only change I can demand is my own. I can only live my life the best way I know how, striving to learn how to be better. I can keep trying. I’m not perfect, and that’s okay; I know the intent of my heart, and I know the direction in which I face.
Sometimes when we feel sad, we need to take a step back and silently evaluate how and what we need to change. Today is not only a time for grieving the lack of kindness in our world but a time for getting uncomfortable and identifying truth.
Russell M. Nelson asked, “What is the solution? Jesus Christ taught an inspired model that leads to peace and harmony — to love God first and then love your neighbor as yourself…It is that kind of love that inspires us to do the rigorous work of building bridges of cooperation rather than walls of segregation and alienation.” Along those same lines Benjamin M.Z. Tai said that “by consistently applying the doctrine of Jesus Christ in our lives, we will overcome the inertia that impedes change and fear that foils action.”
These inspired words feel right in my heart and down to the depths of my soul. I know within each of us lies the courage we need to be the change we want to see in the world. My hope is that these resources will help guide you to the solution that encourages lasting change.
What the NAACP and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are doing together. To be part of the solution, they invited us to do 4 things:
- Pray that we will all abandon attitudes of prejudice.
- Look for ways to reach out and serve someone of a difference background or race.
- Teach children in the home to love all and find the good in others.
- Learn to value the difference in others.
Many white parents know they should be talking to their tweens and teens about racism, but don’t know how or where to start. The Salt Effect has gathered trustworthy resources to help you learn and prepare for those uncomfortable but necessary conversations.
I loved and hurt at the same time as I read this story taken from the life of Anthony Ray Hinton. Accused of murder, Ray spent 30 years on death row waiting through the appeals process. I found his story to be eye-opening to the realities of racism.
On the heels of The Sun Does Shine is the story of Ray Hinton’s attorney — Bryan Stevenson. He is a lawyer with a mission set to fight for justice and equality. His story inspired me and many others to learn about racism and make a lasting impact on our country. Amazon Prime members can watch the movie version for free during the month of June.
My favorite line from the movie: “We can’t change the world with only ideas. We need conviction in our hearts.
Hopelessness is an enemy to racism. Hope pushes forward even with truth is distorted by people in power. Stand up. We are more than the worst thing we have ever done. We all need justice, mercy, and grace.”
When it comes to loving your neighbors, instead of focusing on having the “right answers” or checking the “right boxes,” what if you decide to simply do love? To shamelessly show love and grace to those around you–what would that look like? Not the kind of love that stops at thoughts and feelings, but love that takes action.
Conversation Starter Video
Growth Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint
It has been said that within every crisis lies great opportunity. I believe we are all embarking on one of the most profound learning experiences. There is no getting back to “normal,” and we can’t quickly “do the work” and claim a victory.
This is not about watching a movie or reading a book to undo the deeply rooted, unconscious racism in a few weeks. And there is no all-inclusive list of things to check off so we can move on.
Change doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen when we are consistent and intentional in our thoughts and actions. Learning about racism is the first step. When you make things matter, you make things happen. Listen to where your heart is guiding you.
Values that Support Learning About Racism
- Kindness Matters
- How to Choose to NOT Be Offended
- Learning to Listen
- How to Love the Difficult Person
- Learning About Differences
- How to Resolve Conflict
- The Uncomfortable Truth About Growing Pains
What to do next?
There are 5 things I’m going to be focusing on. Maybe you have your own list or maybe you’re looking for some ideas. These practices are only the first steps toward learning more about racism for me.
- Examine my thoughts. I’m starting by asking is that the way Christ would think about this or that? I want to have more Christ-like thoughts and so the first step is to be aware of what I’m thinking and where it’s taking me. I’m going to ask myself what is the most loving way I can respond.
- Showing up and having difficult conversations with my family. Our greatest influence begins with those we are closest to. We need to have open conversations in safe places.
- Let go of fear. I think one of the biggest things holding so many of us back is the fear of getting it wrong or offending someone. The truth is I am going to get it wrong, I will probably offend someone, and I do need to be more educated – So I’m letting go of the fear.
- Continue educating myself. I’m going to be curious and open to understanding other people’s stories. I want to know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of racism so that I’m more connected and closer to those who have been affected.
- Serve. When I serve others it opens my heart to love, and love is always the answer.
What changes do you want to see in the world?
More love and connection?
More hope, health, and happiness?
I can’t change the world but I can show the way I show up in it.
But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.1 John 3:17-18