The last few days have filled our memories with more blood of unarmed black men and women.
It is impossible to know how many other lives of minoritized people were taken in the last few months, weeks or days.
Asian Americans are being increasingly threatened in the streets of the “Land of the Free.”
White supremacy kills, terrorizes, traumatizes, limits, offends, hurts, disorients. And yet, far too many white people still continue to raise racist children.
To be clear, we do not challenge the fact that many white individuals are sincerely outraged with the display of racist carnage in the taking of minoritized lives.
We do, however, see that this outrage comes with a paradox: White people continue to be outraged at these monstrous events as if they were unharmonious with American society.
White friends, this is the society in which minoritized groups have always lived, and your children are destined to continue it.
White outrage against racist monstrosity distracts whites from the insidious reality of white supremacy.
Racist carnage gives whites a scapegoating mechanism that allows them to show how racially conscious they are without committing to changing the normalized, structural elements that sustain their privileges.
Don’t get us wrong. You should be outraged, white friends. Just do not be outraged only at the spectacles of racist violence that went viral.
Be outraged at a broken educational system that favors your child over ours. Be outraged at a legal system that will acquit you when you are guilty but condemn us when we are not.
Be outraged at an entertainment industry that continues to portray you as the hero and us as the violent villains. Be outraged at the fact that in the race of life, you start many miles ahead of us even when we beat you.
Be outraged at the fact that it is harder for us to go to the polls to vote. Then let your outrage be heard on Nov. 3; you can speak louder then.
Outside of this more general, consistent outrage, your racial consciousness is a good start, but not much more.
Unfortunately, outrage on its own does not substantively shift systems that have been built up and maintained for centuries. Shifting public opinion is good and necessary but not sufficient.
If there is anything that American history teaches us, it is that white supremacy is resilient and insidious.
It took generations of being bathed in racist narratives for even racialized minorities to feel uneasy around their brothers in hoodies.
If we are to be anti-racist and consistently so, it is going to require resolve as we are up against centuries of history and it may require that long to see its eventual eradication.
Unlike racial chattel slavery, white supremacy will not end with war. Unlike lynching, white supremacy will not end with publicity. Unlike segregation, white supremacy will not end with legislation.
We want our white brothers and sisters to know that one of the best ways to end white supremacy is to fight it where it began and where it finds its most fertile ground – in your homes and in your own hearts.
Ibram X. Kendi is right when he says the heartbeat of anti-racism is confession.
It begins with beating back the voice in our heads that insists to us that we’re “not racist” and instead listening to the one that tells us we don’t even know the extent to which we hold racist ideas and rally support for racist policies.
We must not remain in that position, however. That is only the first step in a lifelong journey of confession, self-interrogation and activism as we not only recognize white supremacy but also seek to root it out.
Yet it is necessary for you to first walk that path and teach your children and communities to walk that path.
Then the cry of “What are you doing to make sure you’re raising children that won’t kill mine?” won’t fall on deaf ears.
So, take it to your homes, take it to the streets and take it to the polls because white supremacy kills, and we must be in the business of preserving life.
Joao Chaves, Ph.D. is Associate Editor of Perpectivas, the Journal of the Hispanic Theological Initiative.
Malcolm Foley, Ph.D. (ABD) is Director of Discipleship at Mosaic Waco.