4 things whites can say to African Americans about Baltimore and Ferguson

May 12, 2015

Faith, Man Stuff

By what I see (and don’t see) on social media and elsewhere online, whites can be at a loss for how to interact with African Americans about the various racial incidents that are in the news recently. Those of us whites who do comment on Facebook can betray, at best, a serious lack of understanding or, at worst, a lack of empathy or concern for people who are hurting.

Pastor Eric Mason of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offered some suggested responses for white Christians who are unsure of how to address their black brothers who are struggling with injustices connected to recent events:

  1. “How can I pray?”
  2. “Help me understand the emotions you are dealing with.”
  3. “Help me to understand how you are processing this.”
  4. “I want to empathize, but I’m struggling!”

Given the extreme level of separation between whites and blacks in the United States (check out major cities on this demographic map), it’s not surprising that whites lack the direct experience to understand the emotions which have characterized many black communities. But at a minimum, we white Christians should endeavor to understand and emphasize. Because the Lord calls us to “mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15).

You can read the rest of Eric Mason’s excellent article here.

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