Biko Mandela Gray

Thank you. Let me say that I wrote my response on my phone and realized that I couldn’t easily scroll up to get Daniel’s name, and meant no disrespect there.

I agree that true love is critical as well as compassionate. I’m not unaware of things like white fragility and white racism. In saying that I’m not claiming I don’t have them or understand them. I do think, however, that there is a current in the conversation these days that aims to shut white folks up if they try to say anything. You can say that it’s our turn to shut up — I think I’ve heard that. But then don’t tell me (and I know neither you nor Daniel did) that we need a conversation. You tell me white folks go to church and relax in their whiteness — well, so do black folks. It’s true that white folks aren’t likely to venture into a black church, but that’s not always because they feel superior — they don’t feel welcome to do that. I am not expecting very many black folks to come to our church (some do), but that’s because I’m aware, to some extent, of the meaning and power of black churches.

Neither did I mean to convey staunch opposition to Daniel’s message — I think I understand his emotion. I guess I’m a little tired of being told what white people in churches think by people who aren’t white people in churches. Yes, I know black people have been lumped together since forever by white people, but how are we going to get anywhere if we proclaim a season of telling white people what they think and to shut up if they try to protest?

yes, of course there are white people, and white evangelicals especially, who cling to white supremacy. Yes, I know folks who are quick to jump to “all lives matter.” But not in my church!

And when I hear it, I don’t let it go. So yes, #not all evangelicals — too bad, Daniel, I get to say my piece, too. Lots of white Christians are learning and moving and trying to find a new way to be. They’re going to do it wrong, but maybe they’re going to make progress. Lots of white Christians are trying to learn how to use their privilege to not just feed the 5000 but change they way things are so that everybody gets something to eat all the time. If Daniel or you don’t know about that, maybe it’s because “not listening” is not always only a white problem.

At any rate, nobody can call themselves a Christian and declare other Christians are the enemy and consider that they’re doing their piece right. I understand emotion and emotional reactions, but like you said: love is correction and compassion. The scriptures we study and the Lord we follow teach us that the real enemy is not flesh and blood and therefore the “love one another as I have loved you,” still stands. I will stand on that statement.

These days I hear black folks saying it’s not up to them to teach me. Fine — I understand that. But then don’t expect white folks to do it right or find their way without making mistakes and taking a long time, and quit telling us what we think and why we can’t talk.