White Americans can choose behaviors in our everyday lives to grow racial justice. It’s especially vital for white people to engage in and with our families, through our social networks, in our neighborhoods, and at our jobs to make antiracism a daily living commitment. Meanwhile these are some of the hardest places to do so. We have real power in our relationships with other white people—and not enough of us have used it. We need to talk about why white people struggle with knowing what to do about racism, and the significance of emotions like grief and anger (as well as the harmful role of shame) in reckoning with the transformation our communities need to become the partners in justice that Black communities and other communities need and deserve. Not only is such transformation vital to the well-being of U.S. democracy, it’s vital to the freedom and wholeness of white people too.
Rev. Dr. Jennifer Harvey is a writer and educator long engaged in racial justice and white antiracism. Her books include the New York Times bestseller Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in Racially Unjust America and Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation. She has written for the New York Times and CNN, appeared on CNN’s Town Hall on Racism with Sesame Street, and been heard on NPR’s All Things Considered and “It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders.” After serving nearly 20 years at Drake University as a professor of religion, she recently became the vice president for Academic Affairs and academic dean at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. Dr. Harvey is ordained in the American Baptist Churches (USA).