Monday, July 11, 2016

Dear White Christian Women,

Can we just agree that last week left us all pretty heartsick? As a woman who writes publicly, who has a 22-year old African American son (with a record), who worries for him to tears, who has witnessed injustice dealt to him, who recently witnessed profound kindness toward him from a white police officer, who desperately loves my community and my neighbors, who aches for the white church to begin bearing the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are People of Color, well, there's just so much to think about. And the thinking doesn't always lend itself to speaking (or writing).

I'm also quite sure in these situations that my voice isn't the one that needs to be heard. I fear adding to the noise. I want to stand for what's true and right, but I want to listen and learn from those whose experience is so vastly different from my own.

I received a beautiful email last Thursday from an African American reader-friend. It was clear to me that we all needed to hear from her. I'd like you to meet Jess. She has been such a gift in processing these hard things and I'm ever-grateful for her willingness to give voice to her pain so we can all grow.


Dear White Christian Women,

I wish I were writing to you today for lighthearted things, but I'm reaching out today because I wanted you to know that I'm broken-hearted. I'm a black woman married to a white man, raising what the world essentially sees as "black males." But they are more than that. They are my babies.  They love me dearly and serve others with all their heart.  But with recent events, I can't help but fear that they will one day be seen as a threat, simply because of their skin color.

I know it's my privilege to serve a savior that is near to the broken hearted.  But I want to walk alongside a community of believers that are near to me as well.  Sadly...that's just not the case.  For every #AltonSterling and #TamirRice, I notice an overwhelming silence from my white Christian sisters.  It’s deafening.  I support every missional cause that my white Christian sisters push on social media for every impoverished country. But where is my community of believers when injustice is happening right in our own backyard? Is it less of a cause because there are no artisanal crafts to sell in honor of the slain?

I'm hurting here.  Really hurting.  Like the kind of hurt that leaves you with no eloquent words...just sobbing.  This. Should. Not. Happen. Whether you believe the victims are criminals or not, they deserve to make it to the police station, just like the police officer deserves to make it home. They deserve due process.  They deserve a trial.  They deserve to see their families again.  They do not deserve to be pulled over for a traffic violation and lose their life.  And when this happens, I want to know that my sisters care. That you think my son shouldn't have to fear for his life one day should he find himself in an encounter with a police officer. 

So what am I asking of my sisters in Christ?  Well, I read Colleen Mitchell’s piece, 10 Reasons I Don't Want to Be Your White Ally. I hear your fears and your questions.  You don’t have to worry about getting it right.  Please just let us know that you “get it.”  Let us know that you acknowledge the pain we feel when we witness another news story about a police officer unnecessarily firing on a man that reminds us of our sons, fathers, brothers, uncles and cousins.  If you have a social media outlet, we don’t expect you to pen an essay every time this happens…because frankly, it’s just too often.  But a statement of solidarity goes a long way. 

And I’m #sorrynotsorry, but I must go there.  Please, if you have an ounce of sensitivity, stop posting #alllivesmatter in response to #blacklivesmatter.  It is dismissive and suggestive that anyone using the hashtag thinks black lives matter over others’ lives or that only black lives matter.  Can we just all agree that ALL LIVES SHOULD MATTER.  We are ALL image bearers of God.  But we continue to see that all lives are often not regarded equally. 

Please know that I write to you not to scold my sisters.  But instead, I pray that God will use my words to serve as a call to unite. 

Your Black Sister-in-Christ

Jess

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Additional reading:
 

60 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Shannan. And thank you, Jess, for your words. I needed to hear them! ❤️

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  2. thank you Shannan, and thank you so much, Jess. I'm one of the (mostly) silent ones, not because I don't weep and pound my fists almost every day, not because I don't pray for the black men and boys who I'm privileged to know, not because I don't think things are VERY wrong - but because I don't want to add to the pain. There are so many words, so much noise, I'm scared to make it worse, to hurt someone else with my naivety. I am taking these words into my aching heart. I'll do better, thanks for the guidance.

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  3. Jess, thank you for sharing your words and hurts with us. I want you to know I hear you, I hurt with you, and I pray for your words to reach the hearts of all of us who need to hear them. Praying for you and your boys!

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  4. Jess - Your words are powerful...evident that they are sent from Christ. I agree so much with your overseas mission comments. Let's let the light shine here too!! Let us not be the people who take a quick picture of suffering orphans in other countries and deny our brothers and sisters here. How have we let skin color define individuals and personalities?...wake up we are all children of God...please Jesus help us to see Your kingdom first.

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  5. Jess, thank you so much for speaking truth and being bold. I hear you and I want you to know I stand with you as a sister and say this is not okay and we need change. Thank you for speaking honestly and in love and for being a necessary voice in the conversation.

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  6. Jess, this is such a great read. I feel like one of those girls who's spent her life stuck in the middle. While my skin is darker than my half-black nephews and sister in law, and I have a way bigger Afro than she does (something that's been a contest between us ;D) it's because I am
    Middle eastern with Mediterranean olive twinge. My race has always been weird to people, so most people wait till they know me better to ask. Plus, I'll be frank, I have a black girl's name.

    I was raised in a neighborhood where stories like these went down on the daily. I've been harassed by police for being female, young, a little too brown, for having radiator fluid in my jeep (true story), and in the wrong place at the wrong time. I understand a lot of this- or rather, much of this has made me so jaded it's almost normal.
    I've not spoken up much for a few reasons: we war against the evil-not the man, I don't believe social media is where these genuine words belong-I would much rather speak face to face, and I'm frustrated with America's take on just about everything.
    These men were made in God's image. So valuable. My heart aches. As a mom and a member of a family that boasts every skin color from four different continents, I can't understand why race has anything to do with anything other than one way God made us unique. As Christians, it seems we would focus more on this and the actions each man took and how he will be answering to God for those. As a mom, I won't to hold all of them. Hateful cops don't just wake up hateful. Why are they hurting? Men don't just decide to whip out a sniper rifle. What is his hurting story. We all know he has one.

    We all have one. Thank you for letting us get to know you a little in this post. My prayer for this new generation is that they won't be so jaded that it hinders them from stepping up and standing firm. I'll pray for your boys, too. No doubt the enemy meant all of this to breed a little more fear. But no thank you, sir. We fear the Lord alone, so get behind me where you belong.
    Blessings

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  7. And please I am trying to find the actual facts without listening to say things that are not factual. Please please if you have other facts and the sources I need those in order to better understand what the issue is. I am open but need the actual statistics that proves the point and not people just saying what they feel.

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    1. Hi Janet,
      I'm not sure which facts you'd like, though I must admit I'm not great with numbers anyway :) Unfortunately, there are no statistics to prove the oppression that black males feel and the pain we feel as black women fearing for their lives.

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    2. I agree and may we attack that issue vs the police.

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  8. Jess - I am a "white" woman, age 65, for reference. My great-grandmother and her parents survived the "Trail of Tears", whereby much of the great Cherokee Nation was forcibly removed from their lands in Michigan and Louisiana, and "relocated" to a desolate reservation area in Oklahoma. Many died along the way. Families torn apart. I tell you these things because I don't want you to think that I am just standing by silently watching what is happening in our country. I am horrified, sick to my stomach, scared, disappointed, angry and frustrated. I want our county to come together as "humans", not as white or black or red or blue, not as animals that kill each other at perceived provocations.......I pray daily about this. My entire church prays about this every Sunday, and the membership includes representatives of the police force of this County. I can't change what has happened. But I can stand up and tell public officials that this is unacceptable. That killing each other is horrific, deplorable, unjust, heinous, criminal and will not be tolerated. So my response is to pray and to write and call my city, state and federal representatives. I don't know what else to do. Jess, what else can I do?

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    1. Thank you Sunny! I appreciate your continued prayers. And yes, standing up to public officials is very necessary. Please ask your police departments to implore community policing. It's a proven method that helps police officers and the ones they serve and protect to see each other as community. And please pray for hearts. We are ALL fallen beings. And whether we are broken-hearted, weak in spirit, corrupt in intentions, or fearful of others, they are all heart issues that our savior can heal!

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  9. Thank you, Jess. I am a "white" woman living in the Deep South, where feelings regarding this issue run deep. I am increasingly frustrated by those (many in my own family) that declare they are not racist, yet, immediately jump to judge those who look different based on what they read on social media. I cannot imagine worrying every day that my son or even daughter was being looked at differently or suspiciously based solely on the color of their skin or the way they wear their clothes. It is hard for me to understand why some thing we need to choose between supporting law enforcement and acknowledging that some people are not treated fairly.

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  11. Shannon you may print this if you like but this is a message for you. Please check facts you hear. For example I heard on the View this morn that black men are killed at a rate 2 and half times higher than whites. Horrible yes indeed. I agree however I checked the facts and blacks commit crimes at 3 times the rate of blacks. So in fact whites are killed at a greater rate than blacks. I realize there are racial inequities and these need to be corrected but let's be sure we are correcting the actual problems in race relations which there are many. Again if you have actual facts and not instances I would truly appreciate seeing all of this in the light of truth. That is sincere.

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    1. Hi Janet, I challenge you to consider the way in which black people are regarded because of those facts. Please don't use those facts to justify a man being shot during what should have been a routine traffic stop. He was not a statistic, but a man. Arguing statistics about black on black crime or any other crime is not what we are called to do in times of mourning. If you sincerely want to walk with me in this then stop seeing it as a matter to debate. Consider that EVERY instance in which this happens in heart wrenching and makes me cleave to my sons tighter. That's what my letter was about.

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    2. I agree it is heartbreaking but statistics do count. Because both sides are throwing out statistics. And not looking at the fact that white men have been killed also but it is not highly publicized. Making it a racial issue is my problem. There are more facts. Blacks are more likely to put up resistance when arrested. Blacks are more likely to attack a police officer. I don't like those facts. But they are true and thus make it more likely that police will respond aggressively. No I don't want someone killed and that is the issue. You make it sound that I have no heart because I am looking at statistics. That is soooo unfair. I think the bigger issue in this society is how a girl any girl does not matter white or black can video her friend dying without callin 911 or attempting any help. What is happening to our country when this is not even seen as a problem?

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    3. Janet, I would encourage you to read the book The New Jim Crown by Michelle Alexander. It really should be required reading before entering into this debate, particularly for those who want more facts. It was so eye-opening!

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    4. Janet, I would encourage you to read the book The New Jim Crown by Michelle Alexander. It really should be required reading before entering into this debate, particularly for those who want more facts. It was so eye-opening!

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    5. I will if you read the War on Cops. And I would like people to receive their facts from impartial statistics vs biased accounts. But it's a deal if you will read that. I want both sides because unfortunately that's what we have. I have not decided who is correct but have been checking out statements fro the sides. I desire truth. Maybe both books should be required and more fact finding and less judgement of others. Just feeling very offended at this point that some Christians are questioning others Christianity for the feelings they hold. Oh we need not go there. They will know we are Christians by our love on both sides not our judgement.

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  12. I grew up in the projects in Chicago. I was one of maybe 10 white people in the neighborhood. My sisters married black men and my nieces and nephews are black. I feel like I have a slightly more educated view on this than a typical suburban white lady. That being said, the reason I say life matters, all of it instead of black lives matter is threefold.
    1. Unfortunately, the black lives matter movement seems to carry elements of racism in itself which is heartbreaking and counterproductive. And I have personally witnessed people attached to the movement make ridiculous arguments that are nothing more than conspiracy. Therefore, while the intent is good there are definitely elements I don't want to associate with.
    2. With all due respect, to say black lives matter only when there are instances of police killing black individuals seems insincere. In Chicago alone there have been over 2000 murders this year, many of black people. Those people are never mourned with a blacklivesmatter hashtag. Why? Don't their lives matter? If people aren't enraged when black people are killed by gang violence or black on black crime but only when a police officer is involved it doesn't ring true to me.
    3. Another thing that bothers me about this movement is the suggestion that racism is a white towards black thing exclusively. Growing up as the minority in my neighborhood I can tell you I was bullied for being white. And when I moved to the deep South of Arkansas in high school I was again bullied for being white in a black neighborhood. My sisters and I, the only white kids on a bus full of black students, had things thrown at us for no other reason than being white. My point in all this is to say, I was raised to love everyone. My earliest and best friends were black. My family is black. I have never taught my children anything but love and respect for all people. I feel that the movement does not inspire unity but more separation which is not at all helpful.
    I appreciate being able to have an honest discussion. My hope for our country is that we can get to a point where the atrocious stains of slavery and segregation can be put behind us. I am not so naive as to think that they don't still affect us everyday. I know that they do. The bottom line is at some point we all have to work together to get past it. More division is not the answer.

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    1. Amy, I just want to thank you for your explanation of not using the black lives matter hashtag. I feel the same way but had not been able to articulate it so eloquently!
      I want to "weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn,"but feel there are better ways than that hashtag in which to do it.

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    2. THIS!!!!!! Oh I could say so much more. But this just about sums it all up! Totally agree with Amy!

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    3. THIS!!!!!! Oh I could say so much more. But this just about sums it all up! Totally agree with Amy!

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    4. Yes. I agree with you many times over. thank you for voicing what many of us could not.

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  13. Amy, thank you for your honest thoughts on the matter. I understand the arguments many have against the black lives matter movement, but please know that all social movements are subject to radicalized sub movements. At its core, black lives matters is simply a cry for black lives to be regarded as equal to all other races. And I do recall many churches protesting violent crimes in Chicago. As a community, black people do not turn a blind eye to all other murders of black people. We mourn then too. The news doesn't broadcast that. But in my humble opinion, what I think the black lives matter movement hopes to accomplish is abolishing police brutality and fear towards black people, hopefully establishing a better rapport between both parties. Because we need the police just like every other race.

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    2. I hear you. Unfortunately none of this is a simple problem and there aren't simple answers. I agree that police brutality should be abolished. To think of my nephews being murdered because of bootleg cds or a broken tail light is unimaginable. What I would say to my family members is the absolute worst thing you could do for the cause is reinforce people's prejudices. Be the exception. Change people's perceptions. Thank you for having this discussion Jessica. We need to all hear each other out and not get offended when the truth is spoken.

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  14. I usually would not comment if I can't be positive but all this bothers me.
    Just when the letter begins as" Dear White". I do get what you are trying to say. Yes, my heart hurts for those killed that shouldn't have been. There are some bad apples in those defending us. But waiting to hear both sides before we judge is important. Please don't tell me that I don't understand.
    And to tell us not to say "all lives matter", they do . It sure seems to me that lines are being drawn and not United in your words.
    Was this written before all the police officers were ambushed.
    I seriously think that the big problem is lack of respect. We need to respect one another.
    I'm going to stop right there.

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    1. Thank you for having the courage to post, Debby...I agree with your words; I, too, was borderline offended right off the bat with Dear White Christian Women, seems like those trying to understand are told 'you don't understand'...and to me it says 'you don't understand ENOUGH'. I am going to stop right there, too. Blessings!

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    2. When I wrote the original letter, it was before the Dallas shooting. And now that this has occurred, my thoughts have not changed. OFCOURSE I am outraged and saddened by the shooting of police officers! EVERYONE is ALWAYS outraged and saddened when a police officer is killed in the line of duty. But we also know that when a police officer is killed in the line of duty, the killer will receive a fair punishment or worse, death. We also know the officer will be honored in the news and no one will bring up his past wrongs or character flaws. We know that it will be assumed that the officer was doing what was right and the one holding the murder weapon was obviously in the wrong. But this is often not the case when an officer shoots a black person.

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    3. I assume the reason why "Dear White..." is relevant is because that is Shannan's primary readership. In which case it's an appropriate greeting.

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    4. Yes, Amy. It was in no way meant to be divisive, but instead address the women that identified with Coleen Mitchell's article. I hope the letter is clear that White Christian Women are my sisters in Christ.

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    5. would it be offensive to many if I titled a letter.....Dear Black Christian Women? I have a feeling many would be upset. It works both ways.

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    6. Hey ya'll! I've got to say, I'm stunned and honestly confused that so many of us are upset by the word "white" in the title. Presumably, most of my readers are white and this letter was written to those of us who have looked around and wondered what we can do to learn, grow, and help. It makes me sad that Jess's tone of speaking the truth in grace and love is not what we're noticing here above all else.

      As for me, I am a white, Christian woman. I own it, and find nothing offensive about being called such. I want to confront the things that make me defensive, the things that my experiences have not allowed me to learn, or even the things that I'd rather not notice. I want to do better when it comes to loving all of my sisters, but right now my African American sisters are feeling very alone, so for this moment, my attention is there. Jesus went directly to those who were the most understood and walked with them. My prayer for weeks as been this: "Be near, Jesus". We just need him near. We need him to permeate all we say and do right now. Some of us need very much to know we're not alone and others of us need to know he's nudging us into a new place of love and growth.

      I want this space to continue to be a place of welcome. I want us to extend the benefit of the doubt and *really try* to understand one another. I thin of Jess's willingness to offer her voice here, and the reception she's received, and it makes me sad. But I also feel as thought it did not surprise her. I have a feeling she knows to expect this, whenever she dares to talk about race with privileged white folks like you and me.

      I dearly love each of you. None of us is perfect. But I hope you continue to come to this place because it challenges you to be faced with new ideas. There is nothing I love more than sharing a table with those who live or think differently than me.

      One day, we'll all do that together. :)

      Peace and love,
      Shannan

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  15. https://thesocietypages.org/toolbox/police-killing-of-blacks/

    This article is for Janet. A friend shared this with me. Hope it helps.
    I pray pie charts and graphs aren't necessary for us to see that hate is outweighing love in our communities.
    The real enemy here is Satan...and boy is he having a heyday with our media and anyone with their guard down for a second.
    I also pray we see people as more than a hashtag. Let's get together with friends and neighbors and see humanity for what it is...broken people clothed in beautiful shades of melatonin.
    I am an extremely white woman with extremely white friends who has attended an extremely white church all my life. God is quickly chiseling all that away and instead of gritting my teeth and squeezing my eyes closed, I am trying to embrace my own brokenness and truly be a [seeing] witness to the pain others face right in front of me. Like Shannan is teaching us...I don't want to be guilty of not paying attention.

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    1. Autumn read this. Please don't use just one source. Those may be true facts but blacks commit 3 times the crimes therefore the statistics come out totally different. Also people who try to run down police with a car are considered unarmed and blacks are more likely to use car as a weapon. Blacks are more likely to attack a police officer. Blacks are more likely to resist arrest. I don't make this up. I read. I am searching for truth. Please don't read one skewed article that says nothing about crime rate when talkin about deaths by police. If more crimes are committed by blacks there will be much more possibility of a bad outcome. 3 times the amount. Like I said I have searched for truth. And no I can't support BLM. Look at the website. They support dissolution of nuclear family etc. please check what you all are supporting and putting out there. Rather than calling for black men to be in the lives of their children they are supporting a matriarchal society.

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    2. I just thought the chart might help you. I honestly don't even know what to think about this whole issue. Mostly, I just stay quiet because no matter what I say, article I share, person I quote...it's wrong, misinformation or considered ignorant.
      I will go back to the only thing I know how to do...pray...and I will pray you find peace and truth as well.
      May God bless you as you seek Him. Jess is truly the ONLY answer here. While we wait for His return...I will choose love and try to understand the hearts and lives of those around me. Blessings to you.

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    3. *Jesus! Not jess. 😏 Must check typos.

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    4. I feel the same. People skewing facts on both sides. Christians judging other Christians walk with Jesus. I just want those who are stating things and espousing causes to check the facts and not just the ones supporting their cause or side. What if we only pulled the facts we wanted that supported our view from the Bible. I think we did that once and it was wrong. And probably many more times in our daily lives. Just pray people. Spend as much time in prayer as you do on Internet. Now wouldn't that pound heavens doors!😊

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    5. Hi again, Janet!
      I hope all this exchange means we're becoming friends 😀

      I think what you were referring to was this quote "We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable." I copied it directly from the blacklivesmatter website.

      First please understand, that I am not associated with the official movement. But what I believe they are trying to convey is that Western society glorifies only the typical patriarchal household. Unfortunately for many, this isn't an option. I was raised by a single mother. I'm sure she desired to give me a two parent household, but my father just wasn't present. But what she could do was raise me in a village like setting of believers. She did.

      Black lives matter does not claim to be a Christian movement, so we can't expect them to align perfectly with the Bible. But when someone exclaims that black lives matter, it does NOT mean that they believe black lives matter more nor do they matter only. That is the point I was trying to make.

      And yes, please pray! Go before the Lord as much as you can about this situation, because we are ALL fallen souls. We all have impure hearts in this matter. But please after you pray, grieve with me. If you agree that these situations cause hurt and heartache, then I'm simply asking that you share my burden as I will share yours.

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    6. Just noticed in my first comment, my phone put melatonin in place of melanin. Grrrr! Sorry for typos. Must slow down!

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  17. Hello Shannan and Jess! Thank you for sharing! As a woman with a black father, white mother, white husband and beautiful baby boy with a beautiful heritage, we're all trying to figure this out. The hurt and pain are real. I struggle so hard when friends don't understand the pain because they aren't the same color as I am. But God has been so faithful to keep my heart in check! When I feel blanket statements begin to rise in my heart toward any certain group or ethnicity, God gently remind me to look at my skin, my husband, my mother, my father. The most amazing people I know. Could I ho estly lable them? Lump them in a group because of the color of their skin? Hate is real. Prejudice is real, but Jesus is stronger. Praying for strength to run the race in love.

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  18. Jess!!!! Carry on sister. You are speaking the things us white women need to hear and take deep into our hearts. You are beauty and might and bravery all wrapped into a bright shining light. Shine on friend. I am listening and standing with you. And I'm so sorry for those who just can't say "I'm so sorry for your hurt" despite not fully understanding. I'm sorry for those who continue to fight and make excuses and refuse to choose the side of compassion and empathy. I'm sorry for those who can't simply carry burdens and mourn with those who mourn with out a "but". Scripture is scripture…God breathed…His words for us…His guide for how to live this chaotic mess of a life…and the Bible makes it super clear Romans 12:9-18 "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Clearly when Jesus saw people hurting he didn't say "I see you, but…" and then try and explain away your hurt. Please keep speaking loud. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing with us today.

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    1. Laura, thank you for that encouragement 😊

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  19. I am done. Just tired today of Christian women devaluing other Christians thoughts and journey for truth and judging others for trying to understand without taking a side. Has not just happened here but other places. Then they complain because people disagree with them or challenge their faith. Has not just happened here but other places. At least here some comments were allowed. Other blogs anything that didn't glorify the bloggers thoughts were not published. I will continue my search for truth. Hope you all will consider that also. Rather than believing everything your side says. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks for this comment. I am done too. I'm so tired of all the shame and guilt.

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  21. Thanks for sharing this my sisters in Christ (Jess and Shannan).

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  22. Comments throughout here have asked for statistics and facts, and I absolutely support those honestly seeking the truth. Anecdotal evidence is convincing emotionally for many, but I know that I'm driven by research and by facts. So, here are some that I've found.

    * When charged with the SAME CRIME, a black male is six times more likely to go to jail than a white male.
    * A study found that black people make up 15 percent of drivers, but 42 percent of stops and 73 percent of arrests on the NJ turnpike, although they violate traffic laws at almost identical rates as whites.
    * A black-on-white murder is more than twice as likely to receive the death penalty as a white-on-black murder.
    * Black people are sentenced to 20% longer prison terms than white people for the SAME CRIME.

    Of course, I always struggle a bit with just using crime statistics because it's easy to respond with, "Well, just don't commit a crime and you won't have to worry about any of that." That's true. I know many people who would respond with the idea that if people would just go to college and get a degree instead of turning to crime, everything would be fine. Well...

    * Black college graduates are twice as likely to be unemployed as college graduates overall.
    * People with “black sounding names” need to send 50 percent more job applications than people with “white sounding names” to get a call back.
    * A white applicant with a criminal record is more likely to get an interview than a black man with a clean record.
    * A 2015 study found that a black candidate with a degree from an "elite" university only received as much interest from employers as a white candidate with a degree from a less selective university.
    * For every $10,000 increase in pay, blacks’ percentages of holding that job falls by 7 percent compared to whites.

    Failure to find a good-paying job then leads to low income and poor credit ratings, so 73% of whites own homes compared to just 43% of blacks. The median net worth of white families is about $265,000, while it is just $28,500 for blacks.

    Institutional racism is real and overwhelmingly supported by facts and research. #BlackLivesMatter is more than just "Please don't shoot us just because you suspect us of doing something wrong." When you look at the very true statistics about the higher crime rate among African Americans, you cannot do it without looking at the black experience as a whole. You must think about the structures in place over time that have fostered these communities where crime appears to be a viable option to so many. Is there equity in educational options? Hiring practices? Housing? Healthcare? Equity in sentencing guidelines for some of those "young and stupid" crimes committed? If not (and many of the above statistics prove exactly that), how can we pretend that the high crime rate in black America is a "cause" of anything instead of a tragic "effect"?

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  23. Thank you jess this was definatly worth reading and I hope reached those that needed and were open to it. I will try to keep my comment short although i struggle with that alot lol I am raising 4 beautiful brown skinned children the oldest being a 14 year old male and Ive had to realize as he has gotten older that he is living in a different America than I am. I have told him to caution against being a stereo type but when i hear that referanced pertainibg to the BLM movment I felt offended and I want it to be understood why what that is saying is that you are in someway holding responsibility for actions that are not your own the same with black crime statistics, it is hurtful. Yes knowing all the facts is important however a police officer is only permitted to use deadly force if a person is an imminent threat to the officer or public, not resisting arrest or fleeing from the police or disrrspecting a police officer so to state these things sounds like they are explanations seems as though you lacking in understanding. Also pointing out other issues in the black community is confusing to me because while those are important why does this mean that this issue doesnt warrant attention and outrage everything can not happen in one movment. I will support the black lives matter movment because i am aware i could never fully understand i am trying and i understand enough to know that there is a great need here

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  24. This article as well as some of the comments have been on my mind a lot today.
    I want to say this....As a wife and mom, I'm truly sorry for the loss of life. I'm sorry we don't fully comprehend the pain, trauma and hurt you face all too often because of the color of your beautiful skin.
    I'm sorry we haven't tried harder to bring unity and I'm sorry if we have contributed to divide.
    I do not say this out of guilt or sarcasm. I say it with love and compassion for people I don't know, but I'm pretty sure that if I did...I would love them as my own.
    Help us understand and know that we do grieve with you for your children, husbands and fathers.
    I pray you will forgive our bumbling words, our misplaced anger and our fears and insecurities.
    I love you, sister and I'm praying right beside you before the Throne of grace.

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    1. Hi Jess,
      Thank you so much for your input on this conversation.

      When I addressed the recipients of this letter, I was speaking to the women that identified with Coleen Mitchell's, "10 reasons I don't want to be your white ally." I respect your individual experiences as a white Christian female. And I consider you a sister in Christ.

      Regarding the black lives matter hashtag: I'm not asking anyone to use the hashtag if you don't believe it's a sign of solidarity. If one believes the black lives matter hashtag is divisive, please consider for a moment that RESPONDING to it with all lives matter is equally divisive.

      And while I don't see the BLM movement as the resolution to our country's painful race relations, I do see it for what it originally was...a cry to be heard.

      Again, I'm grateful for the conversation that my letter has stirred. And I'm grateful for the further introspection it's caused on my own heart.

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  26. Interesting perspective. I'm a white Christian woman yet I've not been silent about this issue and I even invited a black man to guest post on my blog about it. Here's the post http://farmwyfe.com/black-blue-lives-matter/

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  27. I so appreciated this article! Thank you for sharing so humbly and thoughtfully. As a white Christian woman, I have not necessarily known how to show solidarity or support, but I want to and NEED to. Every life is precious to God, and Christians as a whole should be on the forefront of fighting for equality and unity.

    There are a couple comments on here from white people (and presumably Christians???) that have disturbed me. White Christians cannot sit in the background silently if we actually follow Jesus as we claim. Silence is always approval. And sitting around saying "look, I've been discriminated against too!" or pointing out the few hateful voices in the movement won't get us anywhere; every movement has radicals and people who will pervert it. There has been so much evil done in the name of Christ, but we don't desert His cause because of the evil of a few. We are no less obligated to fight for equality because some people are filled with hate! And for those uncomfortable with the anger of the black population - can you not see that if the roles were reversed, you would be that angry too?? Rather than making us defensive, anger should make us realize how pervasive and unending and serious this problem is. If this type of injustice was being committed against those who looked like you or your spouse or your children, would you not be just as angry too..? Anger shouldn't scare us away from standing with our black brothers and sisters on this issue - it is the only expected reaction when you experience injustice, prejudice, or hate. Stop telling black people how they should handle the problem differently, and deal with your own side of things! Stop pointing out what you don't like about the black lives matter movement as an excuse to not address the real issue! Injustice must stop NOW, not when "the others" stop saying things make you uncomfortable.

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  29. Hey ladies!!

    I'm making the executive decision to close comments on this now. I'm not doing this to shut people up or end discourse. It's just to the point that we're all talking in circles and it's no longer productive. :) I also just want to really protect our hearts here, particularly the hearts of those who are really wounded right now.

    Maybe we can talk about this stuff again one day. And I appreciate those of you who spoke up here, even if we don't see eye-to-eye on this. Honestly, I get (and read) every single comment that comes in on the blog and many of these are starting to make me feel sad, so for the sanity of me and for the sake of my kiddos who are on vacation and don't really need a sad mom, let's take a deep breath, seek God's council on what part of our own hearts we need to turn our attention to, and continue to work together as family. We all have a very long way to go.

    Love to each one of you. Have a sunny Tuesday.

    I posted some thoughts up earlier on this thread, if you'd like to read more of where I'm at with this.

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