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COVID-19 How to live in uncertain times
(70 - Can You Hear Me?)

Si Walker, 11th June 2020

See part 1 of this series here.

Recently, when I posted about George Floyd, I said “I think we need to listen to brothers and sisters who have experience racism and learn from what they tell us.”

Then I realised I better actually do it. I wanted to share a few things on this blog. .

This is about loving our neighbour well, which is what Jesus does. And more than our neighbour, it is about loving our brothers and sisters.

In staff prayers this morning, we read from Psalm 82 that we should ‘uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.’ So there is a strong imperative that God will not let us out of.

Here are some things from my, probably very imperfect attempt at listening, this week.

-The use of terms “thugs” and “gangs” when black men may be involved in a crime and the lack of use of such terms when referring to other criminals not originating from a black or afro/Caribbean background.

-Seeing the person of ethnic minority and assuming that they are the “help” or cleaning staff.

-Security following you around the store when you go in, despite being as smartly dressed, or whatever, as everyone else in the store.

-Stop and searched outside the house you own.

-Having to laugh things off or act tough as a defence mechanism. You have to sweep things under the carpet.

Things that get said to BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic people):

-“your name is so hard to pronounce” – mostly African names or Asian names seem difficult to pronounce. There’s no other way to put this but if you can learn Daenerys Targaryen from game of thrones, then is there an excuse after a while?

-“Black people scare me” – ever stopped yourself to think why is that? Because of stereotypes? Internal bias or perhaps both?

-Being told that an Afro is not professional (the natural state of African hair).

-When little school children call BAME people the N word or tell them to go back to where they belong. It is extraordinary to think this happens; but it does.

-“it was just a joke, calm down” – not everything needs to be joked about.

-“why is it always about race” – I’m told BAME people would also like to ask this, when they experience racism.

-Do you call BAME aggressive or angry when they are passionate about something, but don’t see anything wrong when white people have a riot in the streets about football for instance?

Final thought from Si:

Almost twenty years ago I sat in a church in Tanzania where I was the only white person amongst about 400 people. The preacher even addressed me individually from the pulpit! Everyone looked and smiled—but it was strange. I think it is honouring to Christ to imagine ourselves into the situation of being the minority, or the one who experiences the above. None of us are all sinful or all good; but we are all called to grow in love otherwise we are nothing.

During these strange and testing times, we hope to post encouragement for you here each day. As ever, if you would like to speak with a Minister, please get in touch through our contact us page.