This phrase was plastered all over the walls of the Catholic school I attended as a child. As a white kid in a super white place with very little diversity of thought or occupation, let alone race or life experience, this thought was abstract at best: Give money to poor people who live far away. Done.
In light of recent events I’ve been thinking about what it means to really live this message. It’s relatively easy for me to live a peaceful life if I choose where I look. This works because if I am kind to people, people are almost universally kind to me. I used to think this was because I’d unlocked the secrets of the universe. I. know now this is primarily the fruits of White Lady Privilege.
This life experience means I instinctively respond to any kind of unrest by reminding myself and others to “be nice.”
But that only “works” for people like me. George Floyd could not have saved his life by being nicer. The Minneapolis Police Department will not be inspired to hold his killer responsible by being politely asked to do so. We will not solve racial discrimination in this country by making white people feel safer and more comfortable.
To have real peace for everyone we have to wake up. We have to look at the parts of ourselves and the system that works so well for us at the expense of others and dismantle it.
We must demand Justice, whatever it costs. Only then can we have real Peace.