We tend to view things from our own perspective. So when it comes to the wave of racial tensions that have rocked our country in recent weeks, we tend to perceive things in predictable ways. If you are white and live in the suburbs, you are sympathetic to the police officers. If you are a person of color living in the urban center, you are sympathetic to the black community.
My friendship with Dr. Charles Ware brought home to me the power of perspective. Dr. Charles Ware is an African American believer and the president of Crossroads Bible College in Indianapolis, IN. He relates many of the experiences in attending a theologically conservative and predominately white Bible college in the late 60’s.
Early on in his college experience he was invited to the home of one of his white friends. The sun was setting as they drove out into the rural countryside. The white friend kept talking about how good it was to be home. But Charles was feeling increasingly uncomfortable as they left the familiarity of the city. All he could think about was that there could be Klu Klux Klan behind every tree and no one would hear if he cried out. White people might feel quite uncomfortable going to the inner city but the perspective is very different for a person of color.
A white person growing up in the suburbs has experienced a certain white privilege and will find it difficult to truly understand and see things from another perspective. These issues are complex and there are no easy answers. Law enforcement officers have an incredibly difficult job and deserve our fullest support. But we should also be honest about some of the systemic problems that exist in our society. Instead of shooting off one-liners on social media, I would encourage you to establish an ongoing friendship with a person of color and make an effort to truly understand their world.
Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/circle-hands-teamwork-community-312343/