“I can’t breathe.”
This simple statement resonates around the world today, especially for people of color. It’s something that multiple people have said over and over again as they lay dying at the hands of police. It has rightfully become a rallying cry against injustice, oppression, and mistreatment.
It resonates powerfully with me as well, and yet I do not want to compare myself or my situation at all to the long term sufferings of brothers and sisters due to their race. Theirs is a level of anguish and sorrow that I can grieve but not fully experience or enter into.
I am white, and in so many ways, privileged.
I don’t have to be afraid to go for a walk, run, or bike ride in my community, giving thought to the color of shoes or clothes I wear and whether they will protect or harm me in an unexpected encounter.
I don’t have to worry about being labeled a thug, or how I’ll be perceived walking into a store while wearing a face mask.
I don’t have to worry about being pulled over by police and harassed for minor issues.
I don’t have to worry about teaching my children how to “behave” in a way that minimizes their risk of harm or negative perception by others.
I don’t need to be willing to suffer ongoing, repetitive humiliation, type casting, and negativity due to the color of my skin.
I don’t have to struggle to fit in, to be invisible, to always be “less than.”
Lord, help open my eyes to see, to fully see my brothers and sisters. Help me to act and to move on their behalf. Help me to change for their benefit and to lift them up and to see others as You see them, as your children, and as co-heirs with Christ.
Lord, most of all, help my sisters and brothers to be able to breathe.