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  • Hillary Zouck Shaffer

Lenten Reflection: Wednesday in the Second Week of Lent

“I can’t give away my privilege. I’ve got it whether I like it or not”. Waking Up White, page 249

Whew! Got this in hours before it was due… the Sunday snowfall was a welcome distraction. Soothing, lovely and peaceful. I chose to savor it; I chose to spend some time relaxing.

As a white person, I largely can choose when I think about race. It is not something that I live with 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When I walk around my suburban community, I do not worry that my race will lead to a Next Door post about my presence in the neighborhood as if I don’t belong. When I drive to Target late at night to pick up some groceries, I don’t fear a police officer pulling my car over because of my skin color. I have no worries that my children will be treated unfairly by a teacher due to their ethnicity- it is the same as many of their classmates, it is the same as most of their teachers. And I could go on and on with examples...

It is for these reasons that race rarely leaves my thoughts these days. My whiteness provides me with the option of avoiding/ignoring/excusing situations in which racism occurs, or where racial discrimination and oppression still remain. However, that is an option I cannot take. There are far too many people, communities and places impacted by the evils of racism, the damage it brings, and the dreams it destroys- for whom there is no choice available.

Choice. Bishop Curry’s sermon on January 8th, 2021 was titled “Who Shall We Be?”. Not “I”, but “we”. As a white person, I have privilege that I cannot give away. So I prayerfully ask God, and try to discern what choices can be made by “me” that benefit the greater “we”, in terms of racial reconciliation and repairing the breach.

Hillary Zouck Shaffer

“… white privilege is about the word white, not rich. It's having advantage built into your life. It's not saying your life hasn't been hard; it's saying your skin color hasn't contributed to the difficulty in your life.” Emmanuel Acho, Author

If both of your parents are white, imagine just one of them being a person of color. How might that have changed your life experience?

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