This past Sunday I was asked to preach on antiracism. With the concept of antiracism being a new topic for some, I addressed its alignment with our willingness to say “Black Lives Matter.” The sermon was written and recorded with my white congregation in mind, and therefore, is a message from a white person to other white people pursuing and doing the work of racial justice.
The idea of antiracism means we do indeed see racism in the systems of oppression and in our lives, our newsfeed, even our own hearts. Antiracist work is a confrontation of ourselves and the world around us. It is work which seeks to heal because it is willing to begin seeing what is really happening.
Antiracist work is not comfortable. It requires a continual willingness to step into discomfort, lest we be complicit.
Yet, as white people in a world built for white comfort, we have a daily option to opt-out of the work of racial justice and antiracist living. This also means, it is a daily choice to opt-in–a daily decision to say “Yes” to the work of antiracism, “Yes” to “Black Lives Matter,” and “Yes” to the countless endeavors of racial justice in our midst.
“I need a love that is troubled by injustice. A love that is provoked to anger when Black folks, including our children, lie dead in the streets. A love that has no tolerance for hate, no excuses for racist decisions, no contentment in the status quo.”Austin Channing-Brown
“Anti-racism work is not self-improvement work for white people. It doesn’t end when white people feel better about what they’ve done. It ends when Black people are staying alive and they have their liberation.”Rachel Elizabeth Cargle
“The opposite of racist isn’t ‘not racist.’ It is ‘anti-racist.’ What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an anti-racist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.”Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist