June 26th

Our thought for this day is provided by one of our members reflecting on their life, attitudes, desire for change and struggling to understand our own white privilege in light of #blacklivesmatter.

“Black Lives Matter” challenges me: how much do I still have an inbuilt pro-white bias? I’ve always been OK around black people, BUT I haven’t always thought of them as EQUALS.

In 1958 when I arrived in Congo, BMS was paternalistic, and so was the Belgian colonial government. This had to change abruptly with Independence in 1960 – and without adequate preparation. I worked with Congolese teachers and women’s groups, especially in Bible camps in village centres – hugely enjoyable, and I respected all these folk. We aimed to train Congolese leaders and “do ourselves out of a job”. BUT I did not think of them as EQUALS. I never had a Congolese friend to whom I could open my heart as to an English friend.

Back in UK in 1993 I volunteered with a Birmingham church so I could get to know Afro-Caribbean Christians, and learnt a lot from them, though the church then still had an all-white leadership. I still thought of these folk as “not like me”. For a long time I noticed black newsreaders and presenters as being “out of place”. These were internal thoughts, never spoken.

BUT I have now got to know individual black people: my friend’s Congolese husband, our family’s West Indian foster brother, and instinctively think of them as being like me. So have I got rid of my inbuilt pro-white bias, and will this help how I act to help make Black Lives Matter?