How to Forgive a Racist

The other day I Googled, “How to forgive a racist person”. It didn’t come up with anything particularly helpful except for some articles about the history of white people expecting Black people to quickly and wholeheartedly forgive them, even when it meant the Black person’s loved one was killed as a result of their racism.

A few weeks ago after I shared on my Facebook page about the gaslighting and racism I experienced at the hands of a former mission president, I proceeded to get a message from another white male who served in the same mission who told me that, “he hoped I could find it in my heart to be kind”. He sent that message after seeing my post about the experience. Nowhere did he mention that he confronted the former mission president about his racist behavior.

God invited all of us to forgive and I do my best to do just that. God also asked us to repent. Forgiveness is not the only way forward, repentance is also a way forward and we have been asked to do both. When people are never confronted about their terrible behavior, they perceive it as acceptable and continue to participate in said behavior.

If you’re reading this, I pray that you will invite your loved ones to stop with the racism long before you ever approach the person at the receiving end about their need to forgive and make racists comfortable. And how exactly do you forgive a racist? That’s between you and God, not when people are rushing you to because they need to feel better about their deplorable behavior.

Law Enforcement Officers Lives Do Matter

I agree that the lives of our Law Enforcement Officers matter. They are humans with real families and worries, after all.

However, Law Enforcement Officers do need to be held accountable and do need to stop killing Black people frilly-nilly. The movement is about many things, one of them being the systems that are put in place in this country to purposely keep certain groups on a playing field that is not leveled nor equitable and shining a light on them. Also, to stop killing Black people.

A lot of people will say, “Look at this successful Black person, what hardships have they faced?” or another person with a lot of wealth may say, “White supremacy and racism doesn’t exist, look how well off I am and I am a Black person, no one helped me get here just work hard and you can be like me!”

Recognizing racist systems does not mean that no one of any other color has not faced hardships, it means that the system has worked and continues to work in the favor of the majority race in America and when that race thinks that they hold more power simply because it has always worked in their favor, then it becomes dangerous for the existence of minorities. Second point is that oftentimes even successful Black people had a mentor or someone somewhere that took a chance on them, without that chance the likelihood of them being where they are is very low.

I reflect on my own life and I can see it. Although I have experienced my own hardships, I can see the privileges I have been granted because someone with more privilege believed in me and took a chance on me. Does this mean I didn’t/don’t work hard, nope; it just means I didn’t do it all completely alone. When I get where I am aiming to be it doesn’t suddenly grant me the right to look down on other people that look like me and say that I am somehow better than them or that the injustices they face are not real. No, it is an opportunity for me to help them network and then it is up to them where they go from there, because I have been granted that privilege. Everyone has privilege, it’s what you do with it that matters.

So, some of my questions are: why does it take protesting and rioting to get any semblance of justice? Why is it that when Black people are murdered while unarmed their past is brought up as if that is to somehow justify them being killed? Why do Black mothers die at such disproportionate rates in the hands of our healthcare systems? Why are the 2nd Amendment people quiet when a Black man did use a gun to protect his home against intruders and was arrested for doing so while they murdered his sleeping wife?

Please educate yourself by reading the plethora of educational materials that people have researched and worked hard to make available, doing so will decrease the likelihood of you unintentionally or intentionally derailing what the conversation and movement is truly about. There is a lot we didn’t learn in school, unfortunately, because our education system is also built on systems that are intent on framing history to make it “easier” to digest. But the truth is that history is rarely easy to digest.

Who Will Stand Up for Black Women?

I recently wrote a guest blog post for The Exponent II talking about some of my encounters with white LDS women at different stages of my life, sharing some of the racist comments they have said to me. I went on to share the post with friends and some of the women I mentioned. Most of them sincerely apologized and went on to express how the encounter changed them and propelled them to confront the racism that they hadn’t realized was a part of them and are now doing the work of anti-racism. One of them told me they hadn’t remembered saying what they did, but that IF they had offended or hurt me that they were sorry and that they are married to a black person now and will someday raise a black family. I told them that I remembered the encounter and shared the post with them because I wanted them to read it and I thanked them for doing so; they thanked me for sharing.

Fast forward a few hours later, I get a message from their black spouse stating that I had labeled their partner a racist and that they had come crying to them because they didn’t remember saying what they did and had apologized and apparently I didn’t accept the apology and so on and so forth.

So, in sharing my personal experience with this person they claimed that I was now labeling them a racist, didn’t accept their conditional apology, and they were married to a black person and speaking up about injustices, so somehow it meant that I could no longer share my traumatic experience that happened at their hands. It’s okay that they no longer remembered it because I remember it like happened yesterday. In fact, the night after it happened I told several people about it when I got home.

Who stands up for the black woman? When are we allowed to be upset because our character was attacked? Who has the black woman’s back?

Why do white women get away with doing and saying racist stuff while black men are murdered because of it? While black women are threatened and made to feel unsafe because of it? While black families are disrupted from having a fun family gathering because of it? While the worker can’t do so in peace because of it?

Being married to a black person, having a black in-law, having black children/grandchildren, even having black siblings does not absolve you from racist behavior and implicit biases. When you use the black person in your life as an excuse for your egregious behavior you are using our skin color as a defense for yourself, but when we are targeted and murdered because of our skin color you are silent and suddenly no longer comfortable with talking about race and race relations. Black bodies are only bothersome to you when we are seemingly inconveniencing your life. Black bodies are only okay with you when we are entertaining you, feeding you, humoring you, or guarding you from being labeled a racist.

I have learned that although many people are slow to defend and support black women we continue to rise and force our voices to be heard, because even when we are pushed out and dismissed you will still hear us.