Rozella White on street harassment.
I have no desire on being used for another’s purpose that mainly meets a quota. I don’t like the feeling of being used. I’m realizing that I am lifted up by people when things are going well or when I’ve brought positive attention to something. However, as soon as I say something that is critical or viewed as disparaging, my “token status” is revoked.
At some point, my friend interrupted me and asked, “Roze, what do you want from white people?”
In a very exasperated voice I said, “I want people not to be racists and I don’t want to have to teach them!” To this my friend replied, “People genuinely don’t know what to do.” I sighed at this response. And then something happened. My friend forced me to articulate what I wanted from white folks. And this is where my understanding of who I am and how I show up in the world and what this means actually comes into play.
I’m going to get straight to the point. I am a divorced, 33 year old black Puerto Rican who is 3rd generation Lutheran. I was baptized and confirmed in this church. I worked at camp in this church. I went to seminary in this church. I am a woman in leadership in this church. And I also live with depression and anxiety.
I am a part of a church that raises racist white people who then kill people of color who are educated in our institutions. That may seem like an oversimplification to some, but this truth broke what was left of my heart and I plunged into despair.
There is no clearer image for racism as sin then the gut-wrenching death that was caught on tape. I believe that Eric Garner’s death symbolized the death of God.