Opinion: Privilege and prejudice — ‘Is it I?’


Videos of police brutality, messages of pain and calls for justice left me overwhelmed and
discouraged while scrolling my social media feeds this week.

I was about to close my apps, give myself a long break from thinking about protests or police reform, when I understood — this is white privilege.

I can choose to look away and remain unaffected, but for millions of black Americans, brutality, pain and injustice are an inescapable daily reality.

I grew up in a predominantly white community where I was not taught about contemporary
racial issues. I mistakenly believed that racism meant only to hate another person because of their skin color. I didn’t hate anyone for their skin color, so I patted myself on the back for not being a racist and absolved myself of further social responsibility.

I had never heard of systemic racism. I had never considered that prejudice and discrimination had outlived the Civil Rights movement. Hearing about the harmful words or actions of white people made me defensive and annoyed — I had never considered that I was benefitting from the systemic oppression of people of color, or that I might harbor subtle prejudices in my own heart.

On the night of Passover, when Jesus told His apostles that one of them would betray Him,
they didn’t wipe their brows and say, “Thank goodness He’s not talking about me.” Each of
them in turn asked Jesus, “Lord, is it I?”

When hearing about instances of racism — or for that matter, homophobia, misogyny or
any other form of prejudice — rather than washing our hands of responsibility or guilt because we aren’t actively hating anyone else, we ought to follow the example of the apostles and ask, “Is it I?”

Adopting this attitude has led me down an uncomfortable and humbling path of self-
examination and education. I’m not a perfect ally by any standard, but I have learned that
silence and complacency are acts of racism. We cannot passively allow widespread, systemic injustice to continue and still claim to be followers of Christ.

— Karina Andrew
Universe Campus Editor

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