17th August 2020

The institution I work for is often in the media for positive, uplifting reasons, but recently it was all too different. Findings from an investigation into racism made sickening reading. It has been said that for evil to flourish, all that is needed is for good people to do nothing. Was that what had gone so wrong, or is it much more complex?

Following on from publication of the investigation report, we were invited to a webinar on “White Fragility” with Robin DiAngelou, an American Sociologist (more here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/16/white-fragility-racism-interview-robin-diangelo). DiAngelou argues that white privilege is embedded in the very fabric of society and that it’s not enough to be ‘not-racist’, but rather we need to be ‘anti-racist’.

However, it was a video in which colleagues shared their own experiences of racism, that really moved me. One colleague described being spat on in the street and going home and crying. I don’t want anyone to ever have to go through that – not my colleagues, not any one I do or don’t know.

In Paul’s letter to the Galatians he says, “There is no longer Greek or Jew, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus”. All one in Christ, but how can we make that a reality in the world here and now? Do we need to begin with an acknowledgement of our (personal and corporate) starting point; to be open to seeing where injustices need to be overturned – and then be moved to act out of love for our neighbour?

Ruth Allen