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June 2020

3 Things You Should Ask Your Church To Find Out How Committed They Are To Anti-Racism

3 Things You Should Ask Your Church To Find Out How Committed They Are To Anti-Racism 6000 4000 Corey Leak

Chances are your church is on week two or three of a brand new series on racism. Some of you have seen more black faces speaking at your church over the last few weeks than you’d seen in the previous three years. 

Perhaps you’re on this journey with your church with guarded optimism – hoping that you and your church will find yourselves on the right side of history.

Or maybe you’re expecting all this race talk in the church will be over soon, and you can get back to listening to expository sermons on the book of Acts. 

No matter what your disposition is on the stance your church has taken lately, there are three ways to know that your church plans on committing to anti-racism for the long haul. 

Ask someone in senior leadership about President Trump.

Churches and Christian leaders tend to take apolitical stances. It’s one of the reasons so many churches are only recently engaging in extensive content on the subject of race and racism. Race talk has a name – “identity politics.”

It may be challenging to get a direct answer from someone in senior leadership at your church about their personal feelings on the president. Try anyway.

Men and women of the cloth shouldn’t tell you who to vote for, but they should be able to articulate the moral ineptitude of the president with great clarity. 

A church committed to anti-racism will have leaders who can recognize the racist statements and policies this president has put forth over the last four years and the overt racism that plagued his business affairs from years before he became president. 

Certainly, no church committed to becoming anti-racist would ever endorse this president to their congregants. That should go without saying, but you never know. 

Ask about church oversight and leadership.

The pastoral staff and board leadership lead churches.  *Dr. James Cone said: “there is no justice without power, and there is no power with one, two, or three tokens.” Email your church and find out who makes decisions.

If your church is going to be about racial justice, then there should be black people and other non-white leaders at both the board and directional leadership tables. 

There can be no serious progress toward anti-racism if there is no such leadership in place and no clearly articulated plans to place voices of color in leadership roles.

Don’t settle for a picture or a list of names. If you’re committed to investing your time and resources into a church, find out what influence Black people an non-black people of color have at your church. 

Ask about the plan for creating an anti-racist culture beyond Sunday. 

The music, preaching, announcements, and kid’s programs are all part of the Sunday morning experience churches provide, but they are not the totality of what makes a church function. 

Every church has an organizational culture. They have values, language, and expectations for what behaviors will receive rewards and which behaviors cause them to part ways with employees. 

Ask your church what actions they are taking to address the climate of their work culture. Ask them if their staff is going through any implicit bias training or any other practices to ensure an anti-racist work environment. 

How your church responds to these three questions should give you a glimpse into how committed they are to anti-racism. 

The work is a marathon, but it’s reasonable to expect your church leadership has considered these questions before presenting racial justice talks if they are serious about long-term sustainable change. 

Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash

*The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone 

How Well-Meaning White People are Killing Their Black Friends

How Well-Meaning White People are Killing Their Black Friends 2500 3750 Corey Leak

Photo by Shamim Nakhaei on Unsplash

America is a cesspool of trauma for black people. Beginning with slavery, through Jim Crow segregation and now a despotic dictator who literally uses white evangelicalism as a sword to demonize black and brown people – this country crushes the soul of black people.   

Anyone with a conscious must concede that America is anti-black and historically a dangerous place for black people. Black citizens like Emitt Till, Fred Hampton, Martin Luther King Jr., Alton Sterling, and George Floyd were all assassinated by whiteness. 

We recognize the weapons used to kill them as dangerous, but there is a subtler way that white America is killing black people. And this killer is unaware of its lethal effects on black bodies. 

Well-meaning white people awakening to the heinous realities of our white supremacist state pose a clear and present danger to the black people they are attempting to show empathy.

Would-be allies, eager to learn what they can do to bring change to this country and attempt to show their support, are not allowing black people to grieve. 

Many of us want to help. Many of us have been putting effort into educating the public about anti-blackness and white supremacy, and we will continue to do so. But right now…

We are tired! We are worn down! We are bogged down with grief!

We are living in a country that doesn’t love us, and every day of our lives is emotionally taxing. We carry ancestral trauma in our bodies and the daily emotional tax of continually looking over our shoulder for anti-black aggressions. 

Add to that trauma, the grief of watching black citizens murdered and lynched publically on social media and in the news with regularity. We are vexed! 

We have high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression as a result, and now well-intentioned white people are asking for us to help them understand racism and process their grief.

You are killing us. 

When people experience death in the family, most sane people give them space to grieve. People offer meal trains, money for food, thoughts, and prayers. They don’t typically ask them to explain the circumstances that lead to the death of their loved ones. 

I know that white people want to show solidarity and offer help, but at this moment, the best way to do so is to show the same support people show those grieving a death in the family. 

Allow black people to grieve. Round up the white nonsense in our social media feeds. Connect with the work that many black people have published to help educate white folks on these issues on your own. Check on Black friends without asking for anything in return. 

Now is not the moment for Black friends to help safeguard white people from appearing racist. It’s not appropriate for Black people to carry the burden of more free labor in the service of America. 

The men and women who have curated content under the weight of dehumanizing conditions are doing so at considerable personal risk to their mental and physical health. 

Black leaders should be paid for engaging in anti-racism education in the current National climate. Any organization or individual looking to solicit the time of a black thought leader or friend should do so with a willingness to compensate them. Those Black leaders and friends deserve hazard pay.