Clearly there are a number of things I cannot do. I won't even try. I don't have the authority or power to deal with other people's attitudes and racism. The idea that I can affect change on a racist nation is without merit. I can only change me and those with whom I come in contact.
There are thing however I can do.. and will:
1. I will not be in the presence of out and out racists. Won't give quarter even in private to those who express such things. I will walk away from such conversation. I won't sanction racist attitudes when I see or hear them.
2. I will not be guilted into any action or endorsement that requires me to feel guilty about being me. I will grace the same offer to anyone and everyone. I will not allow a demon of guilt to possess me.
3. I will point out obvious forms of racial abuse, racial prejudice, racial misuse when I see it. Shaming is a clear way to kill racist action.
4. I will not leap on to every bandwagon that goes by disguising itself as racism or anti racism. Most of those are smoke and mirrors. Not everything that is called racism is. Some is just foolishness. Any effort to use money to try to level the inequity will be resisted. It's a band aid to impoverish more and helps no one.
5. I will be intentional in developing deeper genuine relationships with men and women with skin color different from mine. People who I love and who can love me. I have a start here, but love conquers sin and racism. That will be real when I can be real. Laugh, poke fun, cry with, tease, love, argue, forgive and treat them as I would my flesh and blood brother... and that can be brutal without the fear that it might be taken wrong.
6. I will not allow anger and disgust to put me off. I will hear, not agree, and try to help find real truth. Truth always lines up with reality. Facts are subjective and may not. Truth will be my focus. Truth sets people free.. and that's the goal.
7. I will face down blatant lies whenever I see them, those from the racists and those from those who are driven by trying to use racism as a reason for despair. The best thing I can do is to break the chains of lies that keep people in bondage.
8. I will expose the role indignation has in revealing guilt. Guilty people are always at first indignant. Racists and race hustler use indignation to try to keep people in bondage. I will be one who sets people free. Indignation will not be honored.
9. I will rebuke militant racists of all stripes. The first step to reality is to recognize that militant racists are there.. black militant racists and white militant racists. They are not interested in dialogue and won't respond to love.. so I will rebuke them and keep my distance.
10. I will keep asking "So What" to the surface efforts that many make in "Combating" racism. The flag in South Carolina no longer flies above the capital.. The question is SO WHAT? It's symbolism. I will no longer buy into anything that is meaningless and pure symbolism. We have too much of that already. The lack of net effect only frustrates people.
11. I will resist efforts to apply leaky band aids to a festering scab picked by those who profit from keeping the open sore of racism from healing. We were better ten years ago. There are answers but they aren't easy or quick. The whole economy of creating an equal and open society means all people have to adjust. It must not be a one way street. It won't be instant.
12. I will not allow the fact that I am who I am cause me pain and guilt. I understand there are inequities. I can't do much about that. I can't make excuses. I won't make excuses. I will only provide the reality that people oppressed by the devil do dumb things. I can't repent of the DNA that made me white, and when that translates into white privilege my acknowledging that fact does nothing to further the argument.
In the end, I can only be me. I can't allow those who would make me inert out of being white to disallow any effort I might make in combating racism. I think we could all benefit by doing these things. As a white man who lives in these situations, I can think of no fruitful way I can combat the depth of racism in America other than by these 12 principles. If you have suggestions.. I'll listen.. But it must line up with the ones already expressed.