Seven Ways White South Carolinians Can Respond to This Week’s Tragedy in Charleston Marion D. Aldridge
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?”
- 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.
- A house in my neighborhood lowered the flag in their yard to half-mast today.
- Pray. Privately. Or, go to your church, synagogue or mosque or to an African-American church and pray there.
- 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