Thursday, June 1, 2017

Guess what, we're racist.

To my friends, enemies, general public, and specific readers of this blog: racism is everywhere. Seriously. Newsflash: Even you, reading this right now, are almost certainly a little racist.

No really. Everywhere. via

Now, you're not alt-right. (idk, maybe you are, why are you on this blog?) You're accepting and want to believe in the best in people. You think that one alt-right twitter chick has taken it too far, and maybe you even shared Jana Riess' piece about how terrible she is. That's fine. She is terrible, and I think a lot of us can agree on that, but that's not why I'm here today.

That level of racism is not the kind of racism that many people of color in our wards and communities are dealing with daily. They're getting told on twitter that they're lying about getting into BYU, because what person of color gets in on their own merits? They're getting avoided on the streets. They're not invited to parties. They're referred to as "Lamanites". They're not given callings. They don't see themselves represented in our art, our pews, or our leadership. They're reduced to the most simplistic versions of their multi-faceted and beautiful cultures. We tell them to forget about slavery while celebrating our church's founding, which took place 33 years before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. They're insulted in the small ways that slowly break a person.

So what are you doing, right now, to fix your own biases? To make your church, your home, and your community a safer, more welcoming, and less racist place for people of color?

Here's what you need to do folks. You need to do some work. We (Mormons specifically) talk a lot about how when we don't actively fight against Satan, we slowly get dragged into his grip. Racism is the same. If you don't actively fight it, you're letting those biases get the better of you. Are you taking antiracist actions against the biases in our society? If the answer is no, you need to.

Take the Sistas advice in the tweet below and don't do it just for people of color. Do it for you. Do it because you want to be a better person. Do it because when you stand at the judgment bar of God, he's not gonna want to hear about how illegal immigrants crossing made-up lines on a map stole your job and ruined your life. He's not going to want to care why you called the cops on your neighbor just because he blended in with the dark street that one night. Educate yourself on what you can do to fight racism in your head and around you.

If you're not ready to work on it, if this makes you uncomfortable, don't yell at me. Think about it. Why does this make you uncomfortable? Is it because I'm a giant asshole ruining your day, or is it because you've got work to do?

Here are some quick starting points: Check out #DearWhiteMormons on twitter. Follow people of color on social media (@SistasinZion, @FEMWOC, @tineshacapri, @sistabryndis & @HappyCosmopolite for starters). Listen to them. Don't push back against their experiences. If they call you out, listen. Don't beg them to teach you everything either, they don't have time for that.

Finally, learn to apologize for the things you've done that you didn't even know were wrong. Call out your friends and family when they're going too far. And pray to God that you can be forgiven for every time you haven't.