Earlier this spring I invited a number of African American UBA pastors to meet with me for a candid conversation on black-white relationships. This was long before the events of recent days. Our conversation was honest, candid and forthright. I will be forever grateful to each of these men for the time we spent together.
As they shared their stories there were times when I was heartbroken. I heard what it was like to grow up in a sharecropper's home. I heard stories of bias, discrimination and violence perpetrated on these men and/or their families just because of their race. No one should live through the things they lived through.
We talked about white privilege, systemic racism, implicit racial bias, profiling, prejudice, discrimination and a host of other issues. We touched on some larger issues--black on black violence, the imbalance in incarceration, the breakdown of the family.
I'll be candid. There were also times when I felt defensive, like I was doing something wrong just being white just as I'm sure they must feel for being black.