How to Begin Bridging Racial Divides

Last week we had the opportunity to be a part of a discussion at Mercy Quarterly on racial conditioning, led by Sabrine Rhodes, cultural responsiveness trainer, and Jason Julian, founding director at Urban K-Life.

We learned a lot about ways we can begin to bridge racial divides. Here are some practical ways you can apply this to your own life:

  1. Be aware of your own privilege: In order to begin bridging racial divides, we have to acknowledge what privilege or lack of privilege we experience in our own lives. Someone with privilege is able to count on the fact that someone similar to them has been part of the decision-making process. That’s not a reality for everyone.
  2. Know what lens you view the world through: Sabrine Rhodes explains our lens like this: “We are all wearing a set of lenses. We are shaped. When we’re part of the majority, we tend not to recognize our prescription.” We do a disservice to people in the minority if we do not understand our own perspective.
  3. Go out and have conversations with our ears open and our mouths shut: There are many people that lack the power and privilege to be heard. Be intentional about seeking out people with different experiences than you, listen to the powerless and be willing to learn.

4. Increase our level of responsibility: Recognize that it’s not about guilt, it’s about taking responsibility. Step up as leaders in your own circles of influence by beginning those tough conversations and challenging the norm.

5. Understand what justice truly is: Jason Julian describes justice as “treating each and every person with love.” Our responsibility is not to fix people, our responsibility is to show each person love, regardless of our differences.

Maggie Becker