Friend, we’re diving in deep today because this is a conversation that we need to have.
We all want to live and love like Jesus. So, on this episode of the 4:13 Podcast, author, speaker, and historian Jemar Tisby is with us. He shares his model called the ARC of Racial Justice and gives us practical ideas of how we can be agents of healing to a world that desperately needs it.
Jemar is the author of The Color of Compromise and How to Fight Racism and is the co-host of the Pass the Mic podcast. He’s spoken nationwide at conferences, and his writing has been featured in The Washington Post and CNN. Jemar is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Mississippi studying race, religion, and social movements in the twentieth century.
Now, I know this topic is heavy with all sorts of emotion, but no matter where you are with it, this is a safe, humble, kind, and informative conversation that was super helpful to me, and I know it will be to you too. So, listen with openness and humility and tell your pride that it’s not welcome to participate in this conversation!
3 Steps to Help You Do Racial Reconciliation Right
- Become aware. The first step in Jemar’s ARC of Racial Justice is Awareness. He explains that there’s a way that race and racism function, and there’s basic knowledge, facts, and information about it that we need. So awareness involves us building our knowledge base.
For many of us, this starts by understanding what racism is. Jemar defines it as “a system of advantage based on race” or as “prejudice plus power.” He says that there’s a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to defining racism because we often view it as merely interpersonal and individual. But racism doesn’t just operate in people; it also operates in policies. “Racism is the link between a person’s individual prejudice,” Jemar elaborates, “and the power to put that prejudice into policy, into rules, into law.”
What are some more practical ways we can build our awareness? We can do things like watch documentaries, read books, listen to panel conversations, and go to conferences.
- Enter into relationships. Awareness isn’t enough, though. The second step in the ARC of Racial Justice is Relationship. One of the things Jemar loves about a Christian approach to racial justice is Jesus demonstrates that all reconciliation is relational.
When God wanted to reconcile humanity to Himself, He didn’t tweet or record a TikTok video. Instead, He sent His Son—a real person to establish a real relationship with us. God has set it up in such a way that true racial justice and reconciliation can only happen in the context of relationships with real people who we get to learn to get along with and love.
- Get committed. The third step in the ARC of Racial Justice is Commitment. As Jemar shared when defining racism, it can work itself out not just through people but also through the policies people set up. So step three means committing to anti-racist action.
Jemar says anti-racist action is fighting against voter suppression or doing something about the mass incarceration of Black, Latino, and poor people in the carceral system. It also includes addressing the racial wealth gap. He explains that we have to commit to working on those kinds of levels to fight against racial injustice.
Friend, this conversation may have created more questions than answers for you. It may have made you mad or sad or sparked feelings of empowerment or confusion. But, instead of getting mired in emotions, focus on the fact that God loves people, and so do we, and we want to do it well.
When we live and love like Jesus, we fight any battle with powerful weapons of love. So, let’s keep seeking God and loving our neighbors as ourselves and ask God to make us part of the solution. When we live and love like Jesus, there is hope that will transform our nation and the world.
And, remember, no matter what you face, no matter how you feel, you can do what God shows you to do because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
Books & Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild
More from Jemar Tisby
- Jemar’s website
- How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice
- Follow Jemar on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram