Reflection by a Good Shepherd Lutheran member
April 16, 2021
Like many of you, I was profoundly struck by the shooting of Duante Wright because it was the first time that I (a white woman) remember the police officer in question being a woman. It was the first time I saw myself in that position, and I was both mad at the officer and sympathetic to the fact that it could have truly been an accident. Then the guilt set in. Why was I at all sympathetic?! She clearly intended to shoot him, even if it was just with a taser.
Upon reflection, I went back to a book I recently read. According to Robin Diangelo, author of White Fragility, there are ways well-meaning individuals can overcome guilt associated with biased-based thoughts and actions. She says, "The greatest antidote to guilt is action."
Action can come in a variety of forms. Racism is a huge problem, but one that can begin to be curbed with a familiar endeavor: education. Reading Diangelo’s book was the first time I felt that I could take responsibility for a biased-based wrong. It inspired me to learn how to approach the world with curiosity. Curiosity about others helps us learn about different points of view and builds new relationships with people that we might not have actively worked toward getting to know.
As children of God, we are called to be in relationship with one another, and to love God with a child-like curiosity. Expanding on that call leads me to conclude that curiosity can lead to more understanding of our own biases. Knowing our biases, we can begin to combat them and further our ability to be the best neighbor to all of God’s children, both alike and different from ourselves.
Let us take that call and turn it into action so that we are neither helpless nor hopeless when combating racism.