Well, ready or not, here come all the words. All the words that have been floating around in my head these past few weeks that I’ve struggled to put into some sort of order. Because with so much going on in the world, I don’t even know where to start. And I don’t even know that I feel qualified to write some of them. I’m not an expert. I’m not fully educated in mental, historical or social matters. I definitely do make an effort to soak up information from all sorts of different sources. Being a collector and absorber of information is an inherent part of who I am. But, while I may be somewhat educated on a lot of these subjects, I’ve never walked in the shoes of another. So, because of that, I feel less than qualified to try and find the right words. However, what I am, is a fellow human being that cares. That wants to understand. That has empathy, and compassion for others, and that wants to do what’s right. And maybe, that is all the qualification needed for any of us in this moment.
Some of you may not like what I say. Some of you may even decide you don’t like ME. Maybe what I have to say will make you uncomfortable. I hope it does. I hope that somehow, my words might open hearts of those that have been closed off, and maybe put just a tiny crack in the darkest places of all of our hearts, places that we maybe weren’t even aware were there, or maybe places that we knew existed, but refused to acknowledge or we justified them and refused to call those dark places what they truly are. I hope that my words pierce even just the tiniest pin prick to let the light in. Because just a little light is all it takes to overcome the darkness. Now, all that being said, I have a feeling some of you won’t get past the first few paragraphs. But please, if you can muster the courage, read to the end, because there’s some stuff at the end that I think if there’s any goodness in you at all, and I know that there is, will hopefully resonate in your heart.
Number 1: White privilege is real.
Andddd there go a whole bunch of you logging off without even trying to hear what I’m about to say. Y’all just give me a minute before you decide to check out.
White privilege does not mean that you grew up richer, or with more opportunities for advancement.
I hear your argument that you came from a poor background. That you had to work hard and overcome obstacles and that makes you no different or any more privileged than any Black person. You had to face many of the same obstacles and road blocks that Black people have faced. The difference though, is that the color of your skin was not one of them.
The fact of the matter is that you don’t have to teach your children from a young age how to not draw attention, and how to not look suspicious when they are going about their daily activities. You don’t have to worry when you are walking down the street with your best friend or your girlfriend that someone may call the police because you look suspicious or like you “don’t belong.” You don’t have to worry when you walk in a store that the sales clerk could automatically assume that you might steal something simply because of the color of your skin.
This is what white privilege means. We do not face the same racial bias that a Black person comes across in their every day lives.
You don’t believe it happens? Ok then, I challenge you to search out the stories. The testimonies given over the past few weeks on all sorts of platforms. There are personal posts on social media, and videos from many churches all over the country that had Black people share the experiences that they have had. Watch them, listen to them, attempt to imagine yourself , or your children, in their shoes, and then tell me if you’d still like to call them liars.
Oh, but you say you’ve watched 5 or 6 or maybe even 10 videos of Black people that are telling you that this hasn’t been their experience and that they don’t experience racial bias? Ok, maybe there are a handful of Black people that truly don’t feel they’ve experienced it, and they are actually telling their personal truth, or maybe that particular person is reaping some sort of financial benefit for posting that video, either way, for those few videos, there are thousands more that are stating their experience is the opposite, and I can’t sensibly ignore the voices of the majority because of the few that have somehow been lucky enough not to have experienced it.
Think back over your own life, and recall instances where you’ve seen someone being treated differently because of the color of their skin. Certainly you have witnessed it yourself, whether it was some small intentional or unintentional hurtful word or act or possibly even something outright blatantly unapologetically racist.
I mean, there are still golf courses here in the south that don’t welcome Black people to play.
Y’all still want to claim racism and/or white privilege doesn’t exist?
Ok, if you still don’t believe it, go find some of your Black friends or neighbors or coworkers, people that you know and respect. Actual people that you know aren’t being paid to push anyone’s agenda. Ask them if they would have a conversation with you and share their actual personal experiences.
And then ask yourself if it’s possible that you’ve passed this off as not a real thing, simply because you’ve been unwilling to listen. If you’ve chosen to only give credibility to the handful of people posting videos telling you that it doesn’t exist because that is a more comfortable dialogue for you. If you can sit, and hear the stories of these people, good people, and not feel empathy for them, not feel sorrow at the injustice of it, well… then my words probably won’t make a difference for you either. It will take a true divine intervention of the Holy Spirit to pierce a hardened heart such as this.
Number 2 : Police brutality is a real issue. Now, before another large percentage of you check out, no, I am absolutely not saying all cops are bad, and I am certainly not for doing away with the police force.
There are thousands of good men and women serving in this capacity, with good hearts and good intentions.
I appreciate and respect the job they do and absolutely do not see how a world without them is possible as long as there is evil and true crime in the world.
But there obviously are also those that abuse their power to the detriment of others. So I think we can all agree that there are definitely areas that need change and improvement, and that the implementation of new programs and policies are necessary.
I don’t believe that it is right or ok to place blanket judgement on any group of people whether it be because of their job, their beliefs, or the color of their skin. There are good and bad in every group, every ethnicity, every belief system, and every profession. And my heart breaks for the good ones that are caught in the middle of this struggle and facing such hatred and adversity, when their intentions were good. As far as “defunding the police” goes, I suppose there are many different viewpoints of what people think that means. While a small amount of people may believe it means abolishing the police force all together, in most cases, this is not what is being proposed. It is more simply a restructuring of how things are done. For instance, currently, in addition to calls for break ins, violent assaults, rapes, shootings, etc, cops also have to respond to to mental health calls, medical calls, calls about the homeless, and calls about people with addiction. It is proposed that in these non violent cases, instead of adding to the already heavy call load, these types of calls are responded to by a team of medical, mental health, and social work professionals, who have been extensively trained in how to diffuse these situations and provide the mental or social help needed moving forward for the people involved in these calls.
By taking some of the funds allocated to other programs within the police departments and allocating them to fund these professional teams, the police officers are no longer having to respond to those calls, and can dedicate themselves to doing what they were intended to do, which is fighting actual crime. Police are grossly overworked, and this would help with that. So, maybe the narrative of defunding the police is confusing in the way it’s worded, and surely there are those that would take it to the extreme and say abolish police all together, but the majority of what I’ve seen after doing the research is calling for simply a restructuring as I’ve described above and something that isn’t inherently bad, or anti cop. As described above, it would actually be a benefit to them as it would take a lot of unnecessary work load off of them and give them more time to work on true criminal cases in a capacity that they’ve been more extensively trained to work in, instead of expecting a cop with minimal training in social work or mental health to do the job of a social worker. As I said before, I’m not an expert and police budgets are not my profession or area of expertise, so I have no idea what the current budgets are or what would or could be reallocated to make this work for the best interests of everyone, but I think it’s a credible proposal that could be beneficial to both citizens and the police.
Number 3: Black Lives Matter
Oh, now that one made you bristle up. Some of y’all are shouting at your phone right now. I can almost hear ya. As many of us here in the south have heard our southern Mama’s and Grandmama’s say….”Before you go getting your panties all in a wad”, let me break things down a little.
I will be the first to admit, that there was a time that I, just like some of you did not like or understand this statement. I, just like you, thought, “well, shouldn’t we just be saying all lives matter? Because all lives matter to me, and certainly all lives matter to God, no matter the skin color.” And there is truth in that. But at the time, I , like you, was taking it out of context, and not receiving it in the nature that it was intended. No one is saying that ONLY black lives matter. They are just saying that they are in a crisis, and they need us to acknowledge it.
Here are a couple of analogies that put it into perspective:
Imagine your neighbors house is on fire. The fireman come and they start working to put it out. You do not look at the fireman and say, “but why aren’t you checking on my house? My house matters too.” The reason he isn’t checking on your house is because the immediate crisis is the fire raging in your neighbors house. No one said your house doesn’t matter. Today, it is the black community that needs our attention. They need us to acknowledge the racial bias that exists in the world. They need us to step up and speak up and help to put out the destructive fires of racism.
Imagine you are at a rally to raise awareness for breast cancer. Someone runs up to the podium during your speech and says ,”But I know someone with ovarian cancer, they matter too. Why aren’t we just bringing awareness to all cancer? Y’all must think my friends cancer doesn’t matter, because all y’all are talking about here is breast cancer.”
In reality, everyone at that breast cancer rally cares about people with other types of cancer, they are simply focusing on this particular cause in this particular moment, to get the help needed for that particular cause. It in no way detracts from the importance of all people.
Sounds like a silly thing to be upset about when you think about it from that perspective, right?
So the perspective I and many others now are able to view this statement from is , yes, of course you matter. Yes, of course everyone matters. But until we collectively value the lives of people of color at the same level that we collectively value people who look like us, then the statement that All lives matter isn’t really completely true is it? Until you can accept and acknowledge that Black lives do indeed matter every bit as much as the rest of us, not just as a platitude but actually show that you mean it in words and in deeds, then you can’t really say with any amount of truthfulness that you believe that ALL lives are equally valuable. Some of you would argue this further and say well then would it be ok for me to make the statement that white lives matter? Why is it ok for them and not for us? I’ll tell you why.
Because we as white people have never been oppressed because of the color of our skin. We’ve never been enslaved because of the color of our skin. We’ve never experienced being disallowed to enter a building because of the color of our skin. We’ve never been sent to the back of a bus because of the color of our skin.
We’ve never been segregated to a different bathroom and water fountains. We haven’t been denied entry to restaurants or stores due to the color of our skin. Historically, the lives of white people have been held at a higher esteem than those of black people. So no, we don’t get to say white lives matter, simply because we have never needed to.
“But Black people have more rights these days”, you say. And yes, you are definitely right about that. Compared to 100 years ago or even 50 years ago, they do, but there are still too many people in this world that have hung on to the bias and prejudices that have been passed down throughout generations, and because of that, we still do not have true equality.
Number 4: You might be a racist.
Now, if you’ve made it this far, don’t leave now. Y’all just stick with me.
But I’m definitely not racist, you say.
Do you use the N word? If the answer is yes, then you might be a racist. Do you make derogatory comments about black people in general on occasion? Do you engage with your friends when they tell racist jokes or maybe even tell them yourself? Oh, so you say that you might use the N word on occasion or say something ugly about Black people in general, but you’d never say it in front of a Black person, because you’re not rude or mean and would never want to offend them? Hmm. Just because they didn’t hear you say it, doesn’t make it any less mean or hurtful. In the same way that if you steal something, but no one saw you do it, or you cheated on your spouse, but they never found out, just because the offended person may not have been aware of your wrongdoing, doesn’t make any of those things any less wrong.
Matthew 12:34 for whatever is in your heart determines what you say.
Luke 6:45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.
Check your hearts, y’all. And I’m not just calling y’all out. I’ve had to do some heart checking myself over the years and found a good bit of inherent bias that was passed down through generations or learned from growing up in an era where things such as calling the area of town where mostly Black people lived “N-town” was acceptable behavior. And the people that I heard these things from growing up were not inherently bad people, and most didn’t say these words with bad intentions or considering themselves to be racist. They would have told you that they had Black friends that they loved too. In these cases, it’s more ignorance from having grown up in an environment that told them this was acceptable and never having occurred to them that this was hurtful. But, y’all. When you know better, you do better. And if you don’t….well, then, you might be racist.
“Well, I may do or say some of the things you talked about Amy, but I’m definitely not racist. When I’ve said those things, it was just talk. It doesn’t mean I really meant it. I have Black friends. Not a single one of them would say that I am racist.” Ok then, if one of those friends heard this conversation right now, and heard you say that you thought the remarks you have made sometimes about Black people were “just words, or you just cutting up with friends”, do you think if they heard you saying these things openly, that they would still believe that you aren’t a racist, or at the very least, have some bias and racism buried in your heart and in your mind? If you were in their shoes and the roles were reversed, how would it make you feel to know that this was in the heart of someone you considered a friend?
I say all this to get to this one point. CHECK YOUR HEARTS. Not just on the surface. Not just what you let other people see. Really check your hearts. Ask God to reveal those parts of you that don’t honor Him and others. And then ask for forgiveness and do the work to change those things in you.
Number 5: All of this stuff is just a diversion/conspiracy/hoax created by the left/right, Democrats/Republicans to stir things up and serve their agenda/gain control, blah blah, blah. Y’all. Please. Please stop making EVERYTHING about politics. You think one party or another is trying to divert your attention and push their agenda with every single issue that is brought up. I’m here to tell you right now, I could care less if you are a democrat, republican or any other party that exists. We have to stop putting our faith in this party or that party and stop viewing every issue and every hot topic through a political lens. There is not one single party or even one single person that is right about every single issue. I beg of you, BEG OF YOU, please step back from all of the politics, stop trying so hard to make everything a conspiracy and try your best to just be a good human being. Let the lens you view these issues from be one of compassion. One of empathy. One of being open to see where you might have some hardness of heart and need to make changes. And if you are truly a Christian, step back from all your politics and ask yourself how God would want you to view these issues. How would He want you to treat others? What response can you have that best honors Him and the loving , compassionate, merciful God that He is?
Turn off Fox News and CNN today and take a few minutes to simply ask Him to drown out all the noise and the politics and ask Him to break your heart for what breaks His. Ask Him to reveal any hardness or darkness in your heart that needs to be healed. And ask Him to show you how to be an instrument of change in this moment, in this pivotal time in our history, and how you can best bring honor and unity to your fellow human beings of all colors and in doing so Honor the one that created us all in His image and views every one of us as nothing less than precious.
You can have totally different political views from someone and still love them. Stop letting your political views get in the way of your relationships. Be kind and agree to disagree. Don’t tear down someone you love. Choose family over politics. And maybe more importantly, ask yourself if the things you disagree on are truly a political issue or if they are actually a matter of the heart.
Take just a few moments to ask yourself if your words and your deeds are honoring of other people and of God. If you are a follower of Jesus, but your politics make it ok to dishonor others, then you may want to reconsider your politics. Stop making excuses for your own behaviors or prejudices and stop using politics as an excuse to stay stuck there. Just be a good human.
We complicate things and make them so much harder than they are because of all kinds of things like pride, ignorance and stubbornness. But, It’s really not that hard y’all. Lay down the pride, lay down the ignorance, open your hearts, and just be a good human.
With love, ❤️
Amy Thurston Gordy