Seven Ways White South Carolinians Can Respond to This Week’s Tragedy in Charleston

Seven Ways White South Carolinians Can Respond to This Week’s Tragedy in Charleston Marion D. Aldridge

  1. Say these words or something like them to black people you encounter today—at work, at the grocery store: “I am sorry for your loss and our loss as South Carolinians.” Grieve with those who are grieving.
  2. Call your pastor, an elder or deacon in your congregation and ask if your church can begin a sister-church relationship with an African-American congregation in your community. Begin conversation. We’ve lived in two separate worlds too long.
  3. Call an African-American acquaintance you would like to know better and invite him or her to breakfast or lunch or, even better, to dinner in your home. Thousands of white South Carolinians would swear they are not racists, yet there is a huge difference in how they relate to blacks and whites. Get to know people of a different hue better than you know them now. You don’t need to be coy or clever about it. Just say, “Can we have lunch?”
  4. When you are engaged in a conversation with a person of color, listen. You already know what you know. You don’t know what they know. Listen. Listen. Listen.
  5. A house in my neighborhood lowered the flag in their yard to half-mast today.
  6. Pray.  Privately. Or, go to your church, synagogue or mosque or to an African-American church and pray there.
  7. Begin to read books about race relations and/or the black experience in America. Here are some suggestions: Autobiography of Malcolm X, Ben Tillman and the Reconstruction of White Supremacy, Stephen Kantrowitz, Black Like Me, John Howard Griffith, I Never Had It Made, Jackie Robinson, Race Matters, Cornel West, Roots, Alex Haley, The Orangeburg Massacre, Jack Bass and Jack Nelson
Categories: Faith/Spirituality, Race, South Carolina | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Seven Ways White South Carolinians Can Respond to This Week’s Tragedy in Charleston

  1. Anonymous

    Nicely said Marion! 🙏

  2. Anonymous

    This is really good, Marion

  3. Anonymous

    Thanks, Marion. Ken L

  4. Anonymous

    I would like to start by saying that I appreciate your goal and purpose in writing this post. Throughout this horrific tragedy, people of all backgrounds have come together to support Charleston and the families of Mother Emanuel. However, I have concerns with the first suggestion in this post. By suggesting that we tell the black people that we see that we are “sorry for their loss” implies that all black people have some connection to the slain individuals and that individuals of other races do not. While this was clearly racially motivated, this is a loss and a tragedy for all the friends and families of the victims, the Mother Emanuel community, and those who stand against such hatred, regardless of race. By suggesting that we say “sorry for your loss” to black people suggests that only individuals with a certain skin color feel this loss when the reality is that people of all races feel this deeply. I am quite sure that there are a great number of black people that I encounter every day that feel terrible for what has happened but have no direct connection to these individuals. I know for a fact that there are a great number of white people who are directly impacted by this tragedy as they had close relationships with the victims. I would like to suggest that instead of encouraging your readers to tell black people that we are sorry for their loss, let’s tell the friends and families of the victims that we are sorry for their loss and let’s tell those that we encounter in our day-to-day lives that we appreciate and respect them for all of our commonalities and differences.

    Thank you for taking the time to think about ways that we can come together.

  5. Cousin Peggy

    I thought of canceling my upcoming trip to Stumphouse Mt in SC for the 4th out of anger and extreme sadness. Then this morning I read Jesus in Luke 21:28 telling folks what to do when terrible tragedy strikes. He said, “when these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads because your redemption is near.” I was so impressed, how my God is right on time with these words of hope. Don’t run away in fear. Stand up, he said. Prayfully I considered his words and turned from my first fearful consideration. I will come to SC. I will stand up with those brave South Carolinians who responded with love in Jesus name. Then I wrote a sympathy card and sent a donation to Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston.

  6. Anonymous

    Most of these suggestions make it seem like all whites are responsible for what one man did.

  7. Nancy

    I would also suggest that we contact newspapers and TV news sources to tell them to limit attention to the perpetrators of such crimes, as I believe the hope of noteriety encourages ‘the next one.’ Tell us about the victims, limit exposure of pictures and mindset of the criminal. Also encourage parents to quit buying vigilante video games for their kids and monitor use on the internet. There is plenty of garbage to sustain any viewpoint, no matter how bizarre.

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