A series of racially-motivated murders in Atlanta against Asian American women this past week have been swirling in the news and in many people’s minds. As we closely approach the 4,000th hate crime against Asian Americans since the COVID-19 pandemic reached US soil, we as Christians must stop and really ponder this. (And–what I’m really saying is–white American Christians need to start listening more and learning, because people of color might not know a day when there was Not an act of racism in their lives.)
The suspect was a young, white preacher’s kid. While he mentioned a sex addiction, we can connect the dots to the rampant fetishization of marginalized Asian American women. This was clearly a racist act. And the treatment of the tragedies by those with power has not been just. I have found such good information from Asian American press outlets this week to learn more and understand.
What do “we” do with all of this information? How are “we” supposed to feel?
Thankfully, there is access to articles and voices and art that represent the pain and abuse that AAPI are facing on a daily basis. A simple internet search can start the conversation.
This article from Christian Century paints a picture of churches’ and white Christians’ part in not only flaming the fire but lighting the match over and over again to encourage a culture of racism and hate toward Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) people.
How do “we” act?
The lead pastor at Korean Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, located a few miles from two of the spas that were targeted, said he will ask congregants during his Sunday sermon to “not just pray, not just worry,” because “it’s time for us to act.”
“I’m going to urge people with love and peace that we need to step up and address this issue, so that … our next generation should not be involved in tragic … violence,” the Rev. Byeong Han said. “That’s what Christians need to do.”
The beautiful, incredible opportunities we have in 2021 are endless. With so much information at our laptop fingertips and across a myriad of sources, we as Christ followers can dig and do our homework. We can listen to voices (like the Be the Bridge movement) and learn from AAPI groups taking action. Whether we are a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color), and AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islanders), a white person, or an individual who identifies with a variety of these groups, we are commanded by Christ to be a bridge toward, love, acceptance and deep kindness for all God’s children. And, yes, that includes people created by God who don’t believe in God, too.
Join me in continuing to learn, listen, and find ways to act in your own life. Find out why certain groups are marginalized, from the bad/ugly/wrong parts of our history up until today. Which stereotypes and microagressions are perpetuating racism and violence against marginalized groups? What can you and I do to combat such evil?
I realize March is the month of Spring Break, yet I suppose we have more homework to do. And when we do even a little bit of this work, it is like a mustard seed. Tiny at first, but grows into a fully blooming colorful plant that benefits all. So if you do the work and I do the work as anti-racists, it benefits all people in the end. And certainly Christ calls us to this. Let us be encouraged by the fruit that grows from this work, especially when it is difficult, gut-wrenching and exhausting.
Certainly prayer and contemplation are so needed in this time. As I reflect on my biases and actions toward people of different cultural groups and ethnicities than myself, I must go to the Creator of us all for guidance and wisdom. What are some of your own biases and tendencies when you learn of a tragedy such as this? What are your “go-to” thoughts and tendencies?
Let us pray for the victims of these tragedies, for the communities and families who are experiencing shock and deep loss, and for the country as we are able to come together and speak out against this hate woven into the very fabric of our history and our homes. Christ, have mercy.