The Shield of Silence

I often feel that I have nothing to say. On the topic of racial injustice and many others, I have generally remained quiet because I sensed and felt guilty of hypocrisy by simply posting a viral video or picture of a person whose name I will mostly likely forget. I know that I am imperfect and I know that I will forget. I can’t remember all of their names because they are so many. And it’s easy for me to forget because this is not a reality I live with every day. Even the difficulty of remembering is evidence of the privilege I experience. Every day.

I see evidence of my own privilege in the fact that my most prevalent reminders of racial injustice are the waves of posts that I see periodically of a face and a name on social media: stories of real horrors happening all over our country and world. What could I possibly say? How can I add anything of value to the dialogue? I’m so keenly aware of my ignorance and horribly ashamed of my tendency to forget. 

So I say nothing.

Once again a face is circulating our feeds. The name “George Floyd” is accompanied by videos, pictures, and hashtags. Everyone cries out for justice.

As I scrolled and read caption after caption, still feeling that a simple repost would never be enough, I searched for other ways to help. Books to read, organizations to follow, research to conduct. I found others who shared their stories of remaining silent and realized that it takes courage to invite the challenge. My ignorance is not something that should prevent me from speaking and listening– only by joining the dialogue will my actual prejudices be revealed and challenged by those who know more than I do.

I am finally able to break my silence when I remember that I do not have to say something profound.

Marianne DiMascio in “The Deafening Silence of Whites“, an article written OVER 20 YEARS AGO

This article, written over 20 years ago, changed my perspective. The issues discussed are still extremely relevant today. Sometimes it’s not enough to just listen. I am so thankful for those who have loved me enough to challenge me on other social issues and for what I have already learned. I know that I will never be done learning.

I thank God for reminding me that the first step is to educate myself and not to be afraid of starting conversations. I found some books to read and I know that God will open the doors for real conversation in His timing. I only pray for the courage to be vulnerable and not to protect my ignorances and prejudices behind a shield of silence. I pray for reminders to continue the fight whether the voices are deafening or silenced.

Today I am saying that black lives matter. I am recognizing that we live in a broken world where both systemic and individual racism still exist. I believe that we are all created in the image of God and this God whom I worship “shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34-35). As one post (see below) declared, “I worship Jesus Christ — a dark-skinned, middle-Eastern Jew!” His Spirit inside me is the only One who can bring true conviction and remembrance to my limited viewpoint.

So challenge me! Send me book recommendations or other content that has guided your learning experience. The conversation is open. I am ready to listen but I am also ready to speak freely and act openly.

3 More Posts that Stirred Me Out of Silence