Racism is racial prejudice plus power. In our country, prejudice against people of color has been given power by being embedded in the systems and structures that shape everyday life. For people of color across many generations, racism has caused incalculable harm – physical, financial, psychological, emotional and spiritual. At the same time, for many white people, the insidious combination of racial prejudice and power has gone unnoticed or underestimated and frankly ignored, only adding to racism’s destructive power.
Racism is sinful; its roots are in the brokenness of humanity. Moreover, racism denies the imago Dei in all people. It is a form of evil, injustice and oppression, which we as baptized Christians are called to and have made a covenant with God and one another to resist.
We must acknowledge that racism remains a painful reality within the United Methodist Church. Good work has been done across the years to name and combat racism in the North Texas Conference, but, in many ways, we are still in the early stages of our journey toward racial justice. We have work to do.
So, for the next 18 months, I envision the clergy and laity of the North Texas Conference taking the next step in this important journey toward justice. It will be an intentional step, taken with forethought and prayer. It will be a bold step, taken in the strong name of Jesus Christ. It will be a step we take together. It will be a step that proclaims, “We refuse to give racial prejudice power any longer.”
Ultimately, my vision is for our churches to create environments where every person feels valued. My vision is for our systems and structures to be embedded not with prejudice but with truth and justice, so every person is treated fairly and is liberated from the sin of racism. My vision is for the North Texas Conference to become a beacon of light that chases away the shadows of racism lurking in our communities.