As we endeavor to heal the wounds of racism, here are four steps each of us needs to take so that we can all move forward together in our efforts to reach our divine potential.
1. Acknowledge the Problem
The first step toward healing is the realization that the problem exists. We cannot fix that which we overlook or deny. Our attitudes toward others of a different race or of a different culture should not be considered a minor matter. Viewing them as such only affirms a willingness to stay unchanged.
2. Recognize It in Ourselves
Some people acknowledge the problem but may not recognize it in themselves. Sometimes racism is so subtle, we may not realize we’re expressing it. How are we to judge when our thoughts and comments might be out of line with gospel teachings? Consider how the following examples could represent racism. How would the Lord have you change your heart if you recognize that you:
- Prefer associating only with those of your own race and think others should too.
- Make jokes or disparaging remarks relating to someone’s race or a racial group.
- Believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ supports any racist thinking or behavior.
- Justify racist attitudes or behaviors because of similar attitudes or behaviors shown by other good people, including Church leaders or members.1
3. Learn a New Approach
If you are seeking a way to approach those who may appear different, try not to enter into any encounter with a predetermined set of ideas. Meet the person, not the color. Greet the individual, not the ethnicity. See the child of God for who he or she really is —a brother or sister—rather than someone different.
If we endeavored to truly hear from those we consider as “the other,” and if our honest focus was to let them share of their lives, their histories, their families, their hopes, and their pains, not only would we gain a greater understanding, but this practice would go a long way toward healing the wounds of racism.
Darius Gray is a founding member and the former president of Genesis, a group established in October 1971 by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that helps serve the needs of African-American members.
For more, read “Moving Forward Together” (Ensign, June 2018, 42-43).