I posed the question on Facebook on the purpose of giving up something for Lent. I had been seeing posts about giving up random things – from candy to social media but, since I did not grow up in a church setting that observed Lent, I asked, what for? The responses ranged from symbolic fasting to making time for worship to being mindful of Jesus’ suffering. It would seem to me that if one is going to spend six weeks being mindful and worshipful, then that time should produce something significant.
What if White Christians used those six weeks to give up racism and White supremacy and, spent time reflecting on what Jesus meant when he talked about the least of these. A six week break from chocolate will not change society but, a break from racism will. Six weeks of not telling a racist joke, of not denying an applicant an interview because of her black-sounding name, of not seeing young Black boys on the street and thinking they are up to something deviant, and of not calling the police on a random Black person because you can.
Six weeks. It might not sound like a lot to some; but if multiplied, the time spent without racism could have great impact. How, you ask? White Christians could spend the next six weeks contacting their lawmakers to demand policy changes that benefit the Black community specifically – reparations, equitable school funding, and several others. They could visit predominately Black neighborhoods and invest in its businesses. Or, help black nonprofit leaders raise enough funds to provide quality programming in their communities.
Doing something for six weeks could develop into long-term habits and help people who proclaim to be non-racist become anti-racist. In six weeks, our region could have another powerful voice against racism or, it can have a group of people who return to the status quo.