White Folks, Relationships are Key for Movement Building

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Demonstrators at a June 14 nonviolent assembly and vigil supporting the Movement for Black Lives and in honor of loved ones killed by police violence in Grays Harbor County, Washington. Photo credit: Chaplains on the Harbor, chaplainsontheharbor.org.

By Tim W. Shenk

Part 2 of “Don’t Delete Your White Friends.”

I wrote a short piece recently, encouraging my fellow white people not to delete our white friends who post hurtful or misinformed opinions, especially around race and racism.

Lots of people have read this piece. Many have gotten what I was trying to say, but I don’t think I was clear enough. It’s not about penance or doing hard things out of guilt about our whiteness, and it’s not about staying friends with white supremacists. Here’s a second attempt to say more about what I was driving at.

I want to be clear that the “don’t delete white friends” proposal applies to people we’re actually friends with — in real life! Not just on social media. “Don’t delete” is less about curating a Facebook profile and more about an orientation for our actual lives. The friends I’m talking about are people that at some point have shared something significant in common with us. People who have some reason to care about us and what we think, and vice versa.
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