Prayer on White Privilege
We are all broken by something. We have all hurt someone and have been hurt. We all share the condition of brokenness even if our brokenness is not equivalent….Sometimes we’re fractured by the choices we make; sometimes we’re shattered by things we would never have chosen. But our brokenness is also the source of our common humanity, the basis for our shared search for comfort, meaning and healing. Our shared vulnerability and imperfection nurtures and sustains our capacity for compassion. – Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I call by day, but you do not answer; by night, but I have no relief.
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the glory of Israel.
In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted and you rescued them.
To you they cried out and they escaped; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.
“The very processes that confer privilege to one group and not another group are often invisible to those upon whom privilege is conferred…We always think about inequality from the perspective of the one who is hurt by the inequality, not the one who is helped…
…take a look at all the very different ways that these ascribed characteristics (those we were born with) have become so obscured that we have come to believe that the events of our lives are the result of achieved characteristics…it is difficult and often unpleasant to acknowledge that all the good things that have happened to you are not simply the result of your hard work, talent and motivation but the result of something over which you had no power.”
- “Toward a Pedagogy of the Oppressor”, Michael Kimmel
Reflection What comes to mind when I see or hear the term White Privilege?
What are some of the privileges that white persons enjoy?
“In our research we found there are many facets of white privilege including the concept of white fragility, which refers to defensive emotions and destructive behaviors in response to threats to one’s privilege. “ - Michael Kimmel
“When privileged people crumble under even the smallest threats to their privilege, their typical defensive reactions simply return things to the equilibrium of the status quo.”
- “White, Privileged, Fragile”, Natalie Wigg-Stevenson
Reflection Do I see value in moving from a life of privilege to one of shared equality?
How might I do that?
What we would like to do is change the world. We can to a certain extent change the world. We can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. People say, what is the sense of our small effort? They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time.
A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever widening circle will reach around the world. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. Ultimately there is nothing we can do but love. Dear God, please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy as our friend.
– Dorothy Day