Hi, my name is Laura-Jane, and I am the most selfish person I know and maybe the most selfish person you know. Because I am so selfish, I can see the selfishness in others, and when I see it in others, it’s almost worse because then I’m reminded of things I’ve said or done because of my selfishness.
I see so many people ignoring the cry of our black brothers and sisters for selfish reasons. I have been guilty of it too in the past. I’ll give you an example from my life.
When Colin Kaepernick knelt for the National Anthem. I didn’t even try to hear why. I didn’t care to understand because I was so disrespected by it. The National Anthem makes me cry because I have a husband who has served on deployments in dangerous parts of the world 3 times since we’ve been together. On one, his vehicle was blown up, and his experiences have changed him and our family forever. I focused on that and didn’t even know why Colin Kaepernick knelt for the flag until this year. That’s right, I assumed it was something to do with race, but I didn’t even know the specifics. Go ahead and judge me. I deserve it.
I was so focused on what his act appeared to say to me that I didn’t even care to find out why he actually did it. And if you know me at all, you probably also know I can be quite stubborn when I feel I’m right.
I was so selfish and self-righteous over the National Anthem. Over a song. A symbol. And you know what I found here in my circle in Texas—a lot of peopel who agreed. So I was able to sit in my pride and self-righteousness with support all around. No one told me, “LJ, maybe you’re making this about you when it’s actually not.” Okay, maybe one or two on Facebook commented that on a post, and I probably ripped them to shreds with my “righteous anger.”
Today, I roll my eyes at 2016 LJ. I want to go back and shake her. I WAS WRONG. I am shouting it because I sure shouted back then in my selfishness. I WAS WRONG. I didn’t know that statistics show that police brutality against blacks is significantly higher than towards whites. If you don’t know this and go researching, be sure to pay attention to the breakdown of race in our country. If you look at numbers, there will be less listed for blacks, but whites are something like 70% of our population vs. 15% black. That is vital information to understand the numbers accurately.
I was in denial about the racism that still exists in my beautiful country. I LOVE THE USA! Anyone who knows me knows I have both USA pride and Texas pride. Sharing all of this is not me trying to destroy America (PS, I don’t identify with either party), it’s me trying to make America a place where all people have the same privilege that I do as a white person. I love this land so much.
I share this because I see people posting “All Lives Matter,” “Blue Lives Matter,” “why is no one protesting this white person killed by police?”, “why aren’t we protesting the death of this child?”, “how come George Floyd is getting a big funeral and my family didn’t get to because of the pandemic?” I hear your pain in all of those. I don’t disagree with any of that. Saying, “Black lives matter,” does not negate any of it. It’s saying I see that black lives are not actually receiving equal treatment and opportunity in this country. It means I see the systemic racism, and I’m ready to put my own selfish problems aside to help someone else who has been waiting 400+ years.
If your first response to someone’s plight or pain is to point out your own, you are being selfish. That’s the honest truth. I know. Because I’m often guilty of it. It’s not a competition—though I do try to make everything a competition and am in a constant battle to fix that about myself.
If you are holding onto your pain and selfishness/ self-righteousness, I beg you to take a step back. There’s so much noise on the internet. You will find people who agree with you. You will find people equally offended. You will find an excuse to stay there. I did. I’m not anymore.
Talk to a black person. Read stories, listen, learn. One of the hardest things I do is admit where I’ve been wrong. I was wrong, and now I know better. So I am trying to do better and be better. And I encourage the same of you.
We selfish people can overcome our selfishness with the power of the Holy Spirit. God gets all the glory in my story. He’s been breaking down my walls, and sin, and selfish heart for about 6 years. When Colin Kaepernick knelt for the flag, I was already regularly studying God’s Word (at least an hour or two a day) and had been for 2 years, and I still stayed blind. God has since removed my blinders. Now that I see, now that I’m paying attention, I am here to stay. I pray for open minds and hearts and for love to reign in the USA. May we change our racist systems and hearts. Maybe this be the end of white privilege in our history.
And may we all remember to put ourselves in other people’s shoes rather than cling to ours and think our reality is everyone else’s.
Glory to God!