I haven’t been posting much about the racism, violence, and controversy that have enveloped our nation. I have become convinced this is an historic time, and that we are seeing what the US was like in the 1960s all over again.
But as a white person growing up in a white community surrounded by structural racism, I know my knee jerk reactions tend to be ill-informed, even if they are well intentioned. And quite frankly, who needs to hear from one more “born again” white anti-racist about how holy I am now?
The ugly truth is that I have to constantly question my sub-conscious responses built as a child.
Like any other type of recovery, I do anti-racism work one day at a time. Most days I will have internal voices, and often external voices, flooding me with images and words and feelings that I know are damaging. My job is to identify what is untrue and hurtful and say no… over and over again.
But I have hope for myself, and want to share my process with you.
To rewrite my internal script, and resist the racist vortex I live in, I try to take the advice of this week’s Sunday reading:
“whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.” –Philippians 4:8
It is so hard to find reliable sources that are gracious and just. Lately it seems you can’t get a following if you’re not rude and crass. I try to follow and support and understand black-led efforts for justice and peace, particularly ones I learned about while I was living in the Hough neighborhood for 8 years.
Here are a few sources of information I follow on Facebook (and before that, in real life) that help me focus on what is true, honorable, just, and excellent:
Equal parts history, news, and inspiration, this page is full of heart-warming content
“Why don’t black people talk about black on black crime?” Oh wait. They do. All the time. It’s just most white people don’t listen until it’s about them.
This Cleveland-based organization is one of many similar ones in the country trying to use arts, public forums, outreach, political action, and dialogue to address the underlying issues causing high crime rates in our city/cities. If you’re not in Cleveland, find and support an org like this near you.
I’m Catholic, and was a member of an amazing Afro-centric parish. Our quiet Mass was 90 minutes of spirituals, and the big service was 2 hours with full Gospel choir, African drums, praise dancers… Talk about lovely and praiseworthy!
“I give you praise / I give you praise…” Oh, sorry, did I wander off into worship again? Just thinking about it and I am transported.
The US Black Catholic Conference is a wonderful place to learn about Black Catholic history, news, and how to support justice efforts aligned with Catholic social teaching.
Though this isn’t solely about Hough, I find it to be the most positive and realistic source of news on the neighborhood. Neighborhood Voices used to be my favorite, but it looks like it went under. Sad.
If you want to hear about what’s honorable and excellent in Cleveland, check it out. Support local media that shares positive and honest information about people of color.
Otherwise all you will see is memes and mug shots.
What are your favorite sources for just and true media? Comment with links!