Here is a personal story of the impact of BLM on one of our bloggers. We love her courage and vulnerability to peel away the layers in a desire to be a champion of people:
The Black Lives Matter movement has unsettled me. Yes, I’m aware of how self-serving this might sound. But honestly? Deep down in my very white heart, it’s rocked things which my pride doesn’t want to acknowledge and my empathy is ashamed of. It’s true what they say, there are things which need acknowledging if we’re ever going to move forward.
I’ve never considered myself to be racist. I’ve worked at befriending those who are different to me, listening to their stories, taking an interest in their perspective.
But BLM has forced me to face some aspects of the evil disease called racism, that I really didn’t want to acknowledge. Aspects which seem to have crawled into my own heart, without my permission, knowledge or cooperation. I’ve had to ask myself some tough questions. And sit in the discomfort of the answers.
When I was a child, if another kid with a different ethnicity excelled above me, why did something inside me rile up and wonder – why they didn’t know their place? And why didn’t they stay in their place? Why was their ethnicity something which my childhood self saw as ranking them ‘below’ me? What the actual heck?
When I have conversations about this topic, with friends who are coloured, why do I feel so guilty? Why does it feel like there’s a measure of responsibility which I need to take? And how do I take on the responsibility which is mine, and leave the rest behind?
Why, when I see a story on the news about a devastating disaster involving the suffering of thousands, why does it hurt so much more when the victims look like me – like my children – than when they don’t? How is this even a thing?
Is there an innate selfishness that causes me to bat only for my ‘own team’? Whether my ‘team’ is grouped by gender, race, colour, income, faith, relationship status or culture?
And perhaps my loudest, most desperate question is; can there ever be redemption in this space? Can I – can we – be truly healed and made whole to the point of genuinely loving others as ourselves?
Because if this is one of the greatest commandments inscribed in those ancient scriptures – to love others as we love ourselves – it gives me hope that perhaps as we follow this journey, asking ourselves tough questions, sitting in the discomfort of the answers and allowing the healing and burning and refining to change us, it gives me hope that perhaps this becomes a question that we can know the answer to: Yes, we can be truly healed and made whole. Yes, there is hope for us yet. Yes, we can be changed and transformed to the point of genuinely loving others as ourselves.
Because at the end of the day? This is really what it all boils down to. Can we love others – those who are different to us – as much as we love ourselves?
A very brave and vulnerable post, Joni. Thank you for sharing your truth and for asking valuable questions. Lots to ponder.
I feel that there’s a lot of truth in this message, and I definitely agree with it – we should not differentiate ourselves from someone else just because we don’t share the same skin colour, or race, or nationality as them. Each and every one of us is just as important as the person standing next to us – there is no such thing as “I am valued more than you”! The stigma surrounding – and building, in fact – this monstrous issue is something we need to break down in order to truly “love others as we love ourselves” (very well put in this post!). Then, there’s this unspoken hierachy that has influenced the majority of our lives, that some races, genders, or faiths are better than others and therefore more important. How do we tear that apart and remove all the judgement of our fellow human beings that has accumulated over the years? This is a truly inspiring and well-written post. Thank you for sharing your perspective on what is such a controversial issue in our world today.
This is so deep. This has changed my perspective and made me realise how big of an issue racism is, and how unfairly people are treated just because of their skin colour. Thank you!