I’ve read volumes of wisdom from Black authors, viewed countless videos rich with insight and challenge for white people who would be allies. At times, I’ve thought, “Why am I fussing about writing when there’s so much already written by those wiser than I?” I’m sure some of my readers have wondered the same!
This time I want to present some of that wisdom from Black authors around a particular theme:
Messages of URGENCY for well-intentioned white people.
I believe many of this blog’s subscribers (and its author) fit that description.
“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;’ who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a ‘more convenient season.’”
Dr. M.L. King Jr.
“I sometimes visualize the ongoing cycle of racism as a moving walkway at the airport. Active racist behavior is equivalent to walking fast on the conveyor belt. Passive racist behaviour is equivalent to standing still on the walk way. No overt effort is being made, but the conveyor belt moves the bystanders along to the same destination as those who are actively walking….
Unless they (bystanders) are walking actively in the opposite direction at a speed faster than the conveyor belt – unless they are actively antiracist – they will find themselves carried along with the others…..
If you’ve ever wondered what you would have done during slavery or the Holocaust or the Civil Rights Movement, you’re doing it now.”
Beverly Daniel Tatum
“White people in this country will have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other, and when they have achieved this – which will not be tomorrow and may very well be never – the Negro problem will no longer exist, for it will no longer be needed.”
“I’ve often said that it’s not enough to acknowledge your privilege. And, in fact, that acknowledging it is often little more than a chance to pat yourself on the back for being so ‘aware.’ What I find is that most of the time when people acknowledge their privilege, they feel really special about it, really important, really glad that something so significant just happened, and then they just go ahead and do whatever they wanted to do anyway, privilege firmly in place. The truth is that acknowledging your privilege means a whole lot of nothing much if you don’t do anything to actively push back against it.”
Mia McKenzie (Blackgirldangerous on FB)
“White people need to understand how their privilege operates, how they perpetuate racism, and how they can become allies to people of color….. Diversity training can ask white people to change their consciousness while leaving their dominance intact: a racial justice approach requires an organizational transformation of power relations. … Diversity training often leads to tokenization e.g., people of color are like the raisins in my oatmeal: it just takes a few to make the dish richer.”
Myra Brown – Dismantling Racism Project
“Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make the philanthropy necessary…..Many white Americans of good will have never connected bigotry with economic exploitation. They have deplored prejudice but tolerated or ignored economic injustice.”
Dr. M.L. King Jr.
“This is not the time for hundreds more years of benign gradualism…. In the process of chronic excuse-making and sophisticated rationalizations — the lengths to which many will go to explain away the lack of urgency is plain mind-boggling. Even those with the best of good intentions are sometimes complicit.”
“White supremacy is America’s original sin and liberation is the Bible’s central message. Any theology in America that fails to engage white supremacy and God’s liberation of black people from that evil is not Christian theology, but a theology of Antichrist.”
“Empathy is not simply a matter of trying to imagine what others are going through, but having the will to muster enough courage to do something about it.”
“Racism should never have happened in the first place, so you don’t get a cookie for reducing it.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Some Black authors who have taught me:
“The Fire Next Time” James Baldwin classic
“Between the World and Me” Ta-Nehisi Coates
“Americanah” Novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“Letter from the Birmingham Jail” Dr. M.L. King Jr.
“The Cross and the Lynching Tree” James Cone
“The Souls of Black Folk” W.E.B. DuBois
“Soul on Ice” Eldridge Cleaver
“The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass” Frederick Douglass
6th Annual MLK Worship Celebration, sponsored by United Christian Leadership Ministry. Sun. Jan. 20, 4:00 pm. Speaker: Former Mayor William A. Johnson, Jr.
“Intro to Implicit and Unconscious Bias in Professional Settings” 540WMain. Mon. Jan. 21, 4:30 – 6:30.
“Justice Post Douglass: A Community Meeting” 540WMain. Mon. Jan. 21, 7:00.
“History of Rochester Gentrification” 540WMain. Thurs. Jan. 24, 6:30 – 8:00. This one has particular meaning for me. I plan to attend.
“Expressions of King’s Legacy” at RIT, with featured speaker Tara Setmayer, CNN political commentator and former GOP communications director on Capital Hill. Thurs. Jan. 31, 12:00 – 2:00 pm.
United Christian Leadership Ministry. Membership meeting. Sat. Jan. 12, 10:30 – 12:00, Downtown Untied Presbyterian Church. Call me if interested in attending, or to learn more about this organization: 585-734-2960.
Combined meeting of Take-It-Down Planning Committee, Faith Community Alliance and Movement for Anti-racist Ministry and Action Coalition. First Saturday each month. Central Church of Christ (101 S. Plymouth Ave.). Call me if interested in attending, or to learn more about these organizations: 585-734-2960.
Meeting of the Rochester City School District Racial Equity Advocacy Leadership (REAL) Team. Tues. Jan. 22, District Offices, 130 W. Broad St. 6:00 – 8:00 pm.