Black History Month is an Opportunity

by | Feb 4, 2021

It’s early February and I’m already seeing Black History Month advertised on search engines, website banners, and TV commercials. The popular content is predictable. I remember it from last year and every year before that. We see images of Rosa Parks and Dr. King. We see the schools opening and the “Whites Only” signs coming down. The popular level content is celebratory, which can be a problem, or an opportunity.

I am not saying celebrating victories in the struggle for justice is a bad thing. Failing to celebrate robs God of glory and dishonors those who fought long and hard to see change. We celebrated the removal of the Mississippi state flag for these very reasons.

The problem is looking at the history of black people in our country and in our world and having such a one-note response. White Christians like myself should not look at black history and think, “Job well done. I’m glad racism is over.”

We may come to that conclusion if we only read celebratory headlines. But it will not survive a more thorough examination. So let’s see Black History Month as an opportunity to learn.

I encourage my white brothers and sisters to do a little digging. It’s not that hard. Much curating work has been done for us.

Take Dr. King for example. It would be hard to find a more universally applauded figure in America today. But his approval rating, according to public opinion polls, was not always over 90 percent as it is today. In the year of his death, nearly 75 percent of Americans disapproved of him. He was much more provocative than his soundbites might let us believe. We can still learn from him.

This February, why not do some reading and praying beyond the soundbites? Here are a few resources I suggest:

 

Pastor Bobby Scott wrote last year that understanding our history is necessary for charting a way forward. Let us resolve to understand black history, even (or perhaps especially) the parts that make us uncomfortable. Let us not do this as some act of emotional penance, but as a way to understand so we can act in love for our brothers and sisters. We love better when we understand more. The history and context of our brothers and sisters is not an obscure section of a textbook or a symbolic gesture for one month of the year. Taking these steps of self-education will help you learn more about your brothers and sisters without making them your primary resource for that education. As we read, let’s continually go to God, asking Him to show us what He’d have us do to honor all made in His image.

 


Prayer Requests:

  1. Pray that we would have a right understanding of history in a confusing world.
  2. Pray that our knowledge of the world would drive us to love our brothers and sisters better.
  3. Pray that God would more fully establish His justice in our world.
  4. Come, Lord Jesus.

 

Recent POdcasts

Black History Month: Martin Luther King, Jr

Black History Month: Martin Luther King, Jr

As we continue our Black History Month series, we look today at the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was a remarkably gifted man who managed to lead the complex, often contentious movement we now think of as the Civil Rights Movement. Though he is beloved...

read more
Black History Month: The Faith of the Enslaved

Black History Month: The Faith of the Enslaved

Continuing our Black History Month series, Jasmine Holmes stops by the podcast to talk about the faith of American slaves and the persecution they endured. We also discuss historical sources that can give us an idea of what slavery was like for the saints who lived...

read more
Black History Month: Francis Grimke

Black History Month: Francis Grimke

It will surprise no one to see that we're kicking off Black History Month by talking about Francis Grimke. Francis was a pastor in Washington, DC in the early 1900s. He was a former slave who lived an extraordinary life. His work inspired Isaac to start this ministry,...

read more

Upcoming Events

Isaac-Adams-United-We-Pray-speaking-at-an-event

Click Here to View Now

Recent Articles

Anthropology and Antisemitism

Anthropology and Antisemitism

Antisemitism is back in the news. Multiple presidents of prominent universities were recently summoned to Congress to testify about a rise in antisemitic incidents on their campuses. Their refusal to answer questions about whether antisemitism violates school policies...

read more
Dear White Woman

Dear White Woman

I don’t run at night or before the sun comes up. I wonder if you don’t either. While my husband can strap on a headlamp and reflectors and hit the neighborhood running, I have to be more cautious—even in the suburbs. Common sense tells women that running in the dark...

read more
Church, Diversity, and the Questions Kids Ask

Church, Diversity, and the Questions Kids Ask

A few years ago, our family attended an anniversary service for a good friend who pastored a church in our city. Like you would expect when visiting a church, we were greeted at the door by smiling faces and eager handshakes. People were excited to show us to our...

read more

We’d love to hear what you think about this article. Submit your feedback by clicking here to contact us.

Author

  • Austin Suter

    Austin is the executive director and editor for U?WP. He is a husband, father and seminary student at RTS Charlotte. Austin is a member at Iron City Church in Birmingham, AL. @amsuter

Related Articles

Dear White Woman

Dear White Woman

Courtney Reissig shares her experience of choosing to run at specific times of day in order to stay safe. She reflects on her own privilege and how she might leverage that in service of her minority brothers and sisters.

read more

Stay Connected