As the goal towards racial justice becomes more and more mainstream, I’ve had the opportunity to cultivate several discussions regarding racial reconciliation. Due to my inner circle consisting mostly of Caucasians, my perspectives sometimes come as a surprise to my white counterparts. There’s beauty in my perspective - these people will never be able to experience life through the eyes of an Asian American adoptee and hopefully, my viewpoint allows a glimpse into a wider racial climate than they were previously aware of.
And as I’ve gotten to have these hard discussions, I've also had the honor of getting a glimpse at their unique perspectives on the subject of racial reconciliation. Because even if this society holds biases in a white person’s favor, being a white American is a culture of its own and I value learning from an inside perspective.
When offered this intimate glance, I found myself discovering deep resistance to these conversations - resistance that stemmed from deep hurts. As I got more and more chances to listen, the more this hurt became visible to me.
Pain like this - I recognized it - and the root of it horrified me. These people have faced verbal attacks that have left them ashamed of being white.
If this doesn’t scare you, it should.
This is the same racism that’s plagued our narrative for centuries. History wails with the pain that occurs when we reduce and assume people’s value based on their skin tone. And even if discrimination changes its appearance, it is never justifiable and causes immeasurable damage and hurt.
Before I continue, I’d like to acknowledge that I do not take lightly the pain specific to POCs that unfortunately, is a part of our cultural narrative. The lack of value placed on a human’s life due to ethnicity is never acceptable and it needs to be acknowledged that certain categories of people groups are more brutally attacked for simple physical attributes. Furthermore, it is essential that our growth as a culture is to acknowledge and work to eradicate acts of racism. But as we emerge ready for social change, we must acknowledge that some means can cause hurt. In our drive, have we villainized white people for sins they themselves have not committed? Is that not an act of discrimmination? My friends, the goal of racial reconciliation is to address and heal pain, not to exchange it.
That being said, in order to avoid attacking others during our racial discussions, we must change our approaches to such conversations. If we point fingers, if we accuse people of their ancestor’s actions without on the other hand pointing out the growth they are able to cultivate, we lose our platform. Accusations we level on the white party today, they only serve as reasons for them to construct walls and maintain limited racial perspectives. When we point fingers, villainize people groups, we lose the opportunity to help guide someone to a wider, more inclusive racial worldview.
Racism has stirred deep pains in our stories, regardless of if we are black, white, or somewhere in between. In order to heal, we must be able to express this pain and treat the source, but please, please, ensure before these conversations occur that this pain does not drive us to drag down certain people groups to the level we feel we’ve been put on. Instead, we must be able to constructively express our pain in a way that seeks to be understood. From here, we can express our desire to see true equity - where all people are held to the same standards having already begun on the same level.
My friends, there is so much potential beauty and growth in the hard subject of racial reconciliation. But as we pursue these conversations, it is essential that we work to end discrimination, not transfer it. By recognizing the hurt each of us carry regardless of our ethnicities and embracing our different perspectives, we cultivate a safe environment to mutually expand our racial worldviews.