Confessions of an Ignorant White Person

I once suggested that we “have a powwow soon” to a Native American church leader. I assumed that the Black man in a suit was a server. I touched Denise’s hair.

I am a White Person who has said, thought, and done ignorant things. I am ashamed of these things and I am trying to do better.

This week – with Denise – I’m facilitating a pilgrimage of mostly White Mid-Council Church Leaders to Montgomery, Alabama to focus of something my generation never learned about (and if some people get their way – no generation – will ever learn about): the history of racial violence in the United States of America.

It certainly didn’t end with George Floyd. And it didn’t begin with the enslavement of people. It’s happened throughout our nation’s history.

I am no less a grateful American knowing this information. In fact, I am a better American for knowing it. And I am more likely to marvel at the resilience of my dark-skinned siblings by knowing it. I am more likely to work to make it never happen again.

As we have prepared for this pilgrimage, some of my colleagues have expressed anxiety that they will say or do something ignorant. This is not the Woke Olympics. Each of us is not only capable but likely to show our ignorance. It will happen.

And this is why we learn new things. This is why we read books and watch films and take pilgrimages to visit The Legacy Museum and The Holocaust Museum and The Wounded Knee Museum and the World War II Japanese American Internment Museum along with our pilgrimages to Disneyworld. It’s essential to becoming a compassionate and educated human being.

Our FBC took a group of high school students to The Legacy Museum in 2022 and this documentary – created by three of those students – is getting a lot of attention. If you have 30 minutes, please watch it. It will inspire you more than it will trouble you. It will make you appreciate the youngest generation of Americans and honor those who have suffered. I hope it will move you to support public schools and their teachers.

I am a ridiculous Karen-adjacent White Person. And I’m trying to learn – not to be “woke” but to be more faithful to the God who created each of us in God’s image. May God have mercy on us who fail to acknowledge and confess.

Image is the sculpture Doubt by Titus Kaphar (2017) in The Legacy Museum.

6 responses to “Confessions of an Ignorant White Person

  1. yes, yes, yes, and amen

    Like

  2. Christy Vogelsang

    Personal to Jan Edmiston – I think you might appreciate the ideas of this person who is in business in Wisconsin. And if you know anyone else who might appreciate his light humor approach to a serious subject, please share.

    Thanks, Chris Vogelsang, loyal reader referred to you by Nancy Ross-Zimmerman

    Like

    • Hi Christy – who’s the business person in WI? I’d like to read more.

      Like

      • Christy Vogelsang

        The business is Penzey’s Spices. The owner is Bill Penzey. Here is the address of the company: 12001 W Capitol Drive, Wauwatosa, WI 53222.

        Bill has a regular email newsletter that I tried to forward to you, not sure if you received the full text I sent to you.

        He lists this as his contact information: Comments for Bill? Email – bill@penzeys.com bill@penzeys.com Phone – 414-882-8752

        Right now he is on a buying trip for spices, out of the country I think. But maybe you could call the number and leave him a message.

        Bill is someone who runs a spice business, with international contacts all over the world. He is quite knowledgeable about world politics as well as local in Wisconsin.

        Bill decided to call out the Republicans for their treatment of LGBTQ kids and also the blatant racism of some policies.

        Like

  3. For a few years now I have been reading a book to first graders, Don’t Touch My Hair, to help them understand that even though the hair, the braids, the beads, may be fascinating and you mean no harm, you cannot touch without permission. I teach them the words to say to those who do touch their hair. The teachers have told me that they hear students using those words. We all have to be taught to understand others.

    Like

  4. Christy Vogelsang

    Personal to Jan Edmiston –

    The business is Penzey’s Spices. The owner is Bill Penzey. Here is the address of the company: 12001 W Capitol Drive, Wauwatosa, WI 53222.

    Bill has a regular email newsletter that I tried to forward to you, not sure if you received the full text I sent to you.

    He lists this as his contact information: Comments for Bill? Email – bill@penzeys.com bill@penzeys.com Phone – 414-882-8752

    Right now he is on a buying trip for spices, out of the country I think. But maybe you could call the number and leave him a message.

    Bill is someone who runs a spice business, with international contacts all over the world. He is quite knowledgeable about world politics as well as local in Wisconsin.

    Bill decided to call out the Republicans for their treatment of LGBTQ kids and also the blatant racism of some policies. One of his customers sent the email to FOX News and they decided to call for a boycott of his company.

    Bill is a decent guy who is just trying to make a living; he is not trying to exploit anyone. He shares recipes with his members, as well as other merchandise which supports the idea of being kind and showing love.

    I hope you can reach the website and see some of his special focus on kindness and love for all.

    Chris Vogelsang, Ormond Beach, FL

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.