ISSUES OF FAITH: A moral obligation to confront the hate we see

OUR MORAL OBLIGATION to Confront White Supremacy – or — The Eleven Stages of Dismantling White Supremacy (written with white people in mind)

The headlines have been ghastly. Hate crimes are on the rise.

White supremacy groups are growing in strength.

It is a time for people of faith to come together and speak out.

We must begin with the reminder that we are One. This is not just God’s plan; this is the reality of God’s creation.

To exalt one group over another is to deny subordinated groups their full human dignity as children of God.

It is a blasphemy and an injustice.

Confronting white supremacy, though, is an arduous and difficult task for white people, requiring steadfast moral courage and a willingness to take risks.

In that spirit, I offer the following Eleven Stages of Dismantling White Supremacy for whites:

1. Denial –We reject the idea that racism is still present and harming people. We say, we’ve had a black president. How bad could it be?

2. Resistance – once we begin to examine the reality and enormity of racism, however, we often move to resistance. We don’t want to face the fact that white supremacy exists in the United States. It’s a very hard reality to face.

3. Discomfort – After we’ve reflect upon the implications of racism, we often grow uncomfortable. We may begin to wonder if we’ve internalized racism and are part of the problem.

4. Defensiveness – The distress in Stage 3 often leads to defensiveness. We make statements such as “My family didn’t own slaves.” Or “I have friends or family members who are people of color so I am obviously not a racist.”

5. Guilt – Once we have moved beyond defensiveness, it’s only natural to feel some guilt. Guilt because we could be resisting racism more actively.

6. Fear – Then there’s fear. We’re afraid of becoming “that person” – the one who awkwardly interrupts racist comments and jokes.

The one who calls people out, making them uncomfortable and becoming uncomfortable ourselves. The one who might risk friendships, family relationships, even jobs to point out racist words and actions in front of us, promulgated by people we love, people we respect, and people who pay us.

7. Paralysis – At about this point we might find ourselves emotionally immobilized by both helplessness and hopelessness. The enormity of racism, the horrific power of its impacts on people of color, is overwhelming.

8. Anger – When we break through the paralysis we get to anger. Anger at the individual people who hurt other people. Anger that this commitment to work for racial justice is so hard. Anger that every time the country makes two steps forward on racial equality it makes one step back.

9. Sadness— Underneath all of these stages is a deep, abiding sadness. Sadness that white supremacy ever came to pass at all, grief at the suffering endured by people of color.

10. Resignation – Eventually, we get to the place of resignation. We can no longer deny the reality of white supremacy in our country.

11. Commitment – After all of these difficult stages, we finally tap into a willingness to listen and contribute where we can.

Moving through the stages of confronting both the racial structures of society and our place in them is profoundly difficult.

Fortunately, we don’t have to do it alone. In fact, we can’t do it alone.

With God’s unconditional love and guidance as our guides, may this be our work to do together…today, tomorrow and as long as it takes.

________

Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. The Rev. Kate Lore is a minister at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Port Townsend. Her email is [email protected]

More in Life

x
Green Thumbs series takes virtual look at spiders

Laurel Moulton presents over Zoom

Aiming to observe fish as part of her marine biology studies, an eighth-grade student in Port Townsend's OCEAN alternative learning program walks through waves off North Beach County Park on a crisp, sunny October afternoon Wednesday. (Nicholas Johnson/Peninsula Daily News)
Lesson in the waves

Aiming to observe fish as part of her marine biology studies, an… Continue reading

A deer walks down the side of Redwood Street on Monday in Port Townsend. In other parts of the county, deer season is open with a license in specific areas through the end of the month. Regulations and where hunting is permitted can be found at www.wdfw.wa.gov. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)
Out for a stroll

A deer walks down the side of Redwood Street on Monday, Oct.… Continue reading

t
Fall 2020 Living on the Peninsula

Our Fall 2020 Living on the Peninsula special section is out! Inside,… Continue reading

Online church services on the Peninsula

PORT ANGELES • Independent Bible Church: 9 a.m. Sunday, a link to… Continue reading

t
Fall 2020 Healthy Living

Our Fall 2020 Healthy Living special section is out! Inside, you’ll find… Continue reading

Cara Griswold, center, and Susan Larson lead a rally to honor the life and legacy of former Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during a Women's March in Port Townsend on Saturday. About 60 or more showed up on all four corners of Sims Way and Haines Place to hold up signs and wave to passing automobiles. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Women’s march Port Townsend

Cara Griswold, center, and Susan Larson lead a rally to honor the… Continue reading

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Marchers celebrating the legacy of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg make their way up Lincoln Street to the Clallam County Courthouse after a procession through downtown Port Angeles on Saturday. A crowd of nearly 300 people took part in the demonstration, which also served as a protest of the policies of President Donald Trump..
Women’s march Port Angeles

Marchers celebrating the legacy of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader… Continue reading

Most Read