In 2017 the Southern Baptist Convention had the opportunity to outright condemn racism and white supremacy. They Blinked....(See Article here)
2 years and over 250 mass shootings later people like Beth Moore are calling on Christian leaders to denounce racism (Article). Specifically in the wake of the mass shooting that took place in El Paso, Texas where hispanics were targeted by a racist white supremacist. She is telling leaders to speak out and that silence is complicity. I couldn't agree more.
As leaders we shouldn't be silent. So, here are 5 ways leaders should respond after tragedy.
1. LISTEN…..In the wake of El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, the most important thing you should do is listen. This is not the time to make political statements. This is not the time to talk about what you “would have done” in that scenario. Just listen.
2. After you have listened…..ACKNOWLEDGE the suffering and pain of all those involved. Let angry people know, that it is ok to be angry. And that they should be angry. What happened is not ok.
3. In this particular case……DENOUNCE the evil of racism……bigotry…..and white supremacy. No one should have a problem with this. The only people that have a problem denouncing racist, bigots and white supremacists, are racists, bigots, and white supremacists.
4. Be an ALLY……Stick up for those people that are victims of all forms of racism and white supremacy. Don’t just be silent. Don’t be silent when someone uses casual racism by telling racist jokes. Don’t be silent when your favorite politician says racist things. Don’t dismiss the experiences of people of color that have suffered from racism. Check on your friends….co-workers….and family members who are people of color. Sometimes….acknowledging what happened….and then asking them if they’re ok makes a world of difference. To all my white friends……you don’t have to try to relate to the experience of racism…to people of color. Claiming that you too have experienced racism just feels very patronizing and disingenuous. On the flip side….White People…use your privilege. Use your privilege to have difficult conversations about racism with other White people.
5. Go back to number 1. Listen…..but this time…listen while trying to empathize. Think about…what if that was your family member that was targeted because of the color of their skin. Think about what if people in powerful positions tried to normalize racism and encourage racial superiority over you and your loved ones. Think about what you would want to hear from leaders in the days that followed the brutal murder of your loved ones.
Be a Leader……Be a Leader Right NOW….Don’t wait. Each of you has something you can do right now that shows the type of leader you are and the type of leader you can be.
So go ahead…..LEAD