Racial Reconciliation in a Time of Racism
The fabric of racism runs deep across the globe. Just this past week I read an article about a British company that offered an apology for their part in participating in the slave trade going back over 300 years. Lloyd’s of London, the world’s oldest insurance market that insured slave ships have now pledged new financial support to black and minority ethnic communities. The death of George Floyd brought to the surface the racism that has been running deep below the surface for centuries throughout the world.
Leaders across the board agree that the #blacklivesmatter movement has ignited actions on all levels that have pulled people in from all backgrounds. Some are still pushing back and, in my opinion, burying their heads in the sand thinking this will just go away. News flash, this is not going away. We all have a part to play no matter our race, class, ethnicity, culture, or religion. Although this started as a focus on the lives of black people being killed at the hands (or knee) of police officers, it has morphed into a human issue pulling in people from all walks of life. I believe it will continue until true repentance and understanding have been made.
The killing of black men and women by police is not new making people wonder what made the killing of George Floyd different? The question is being asked why has the world turned up and turned out to support police reform, especially around their disregard for the lives of black people? I along with others believe that it could be for a host of reasons including, but not limited to COVID-19. People are tired of being cooped up in the house; some also think that people are just sick and tired of being sick and tired; others especially young people are ready to have their voice heard; and finally timing, the time has come for a reckoning. It is time to clean house. The world has got to deal with the problem of race and racism. The magnifying glass is on the world to make things right, fair, and just for all mankind.
When South Africa was being dismantled after the end of Apartheid, Nelson Mandela created The Truth and Reconciliation Commission which served as a court-like restorative justice body. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was the chair of the Commission (TRC). Archbishop Tutu also created the Forgiveness Project. He has committed his life to the healing of his country and others who have experienced pain and suffering. The past must be dealt with for people to be able to move forward. If we are going to resolve conflict, we must be able to sit and discuss the “sins of the past” and then devise a plan on how we will collectively move forward. A change is going to come one way or another. Let us try and do so as peaceful as possible.
When people see things from different perspectives, they must figure out how to find common ground. Safe zones must be created. To achieve racial reconciliation, forgiveness must be part of the discussion. Forgiveness is not easy, but it is necessary. Forgiveness embodies our emotions and we must control them and not let them control us. If we can include forgiveness as part of the process, we will come out on the other side better people. The flip side is if we stay chained to the past it will continue to destroy us into the future. Mahatma Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Will the world stay blind to what is happening, or will we open our eyes to see our way to healing and reconciliation together? #racism #reconciliation #truth #catharsis #forgiveness #healing
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Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author and speaker. She can also be found live on Instagram @Wendygladney on Wednesdays at 12 noon PST.