The main theme behind this blog is wisdom-driven action–the places where the rubber of grand principles meets the road of my daily life, decisions and priorities.
With this in mind, I have to go ahead and dive into what is absolutely the hardest “road” for me to take these tires too.
It’s the road toward racial reconciliation* and acknowledgement of white privilege, both in my neighborhood, in my church and in my homeschool.
More About Me
I grew up in a suburb of Detroit and then lived in Ann Arbor (an extremely nice middle class college town with everything a nice white girl could want) for twelve years as an adult. I went to school, got a job, got married and had two babies there.
I grew up with an awareness of and fondness for the city of Detroit, attending games at the old Tiger Stadium with my dad and brother, volunteering at the Rescue Mission and going to concerts downtown. My dad was a suburban pastor who had gone out of his way to build relationships with several black pastors in the area. Our church had built an incredible relationship with a church in Russia that was trying to rebuild after the fall of Communism, and I traveled there with my parents when I was 10. Later, when I was 15, my family spent three weeks in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa, interacting with Christians from a wildly different background than mine. Two of my cousins are multi-racial, and I have participated in several bi-racial weddings. My husband grew up in Flint, MI (now of water-crisis fame) and was, ironically, bullied in elementary school because he was white. Nevertheless, some of his best friends were/are black, and his parents placed a high priority on building relationships across ethnic lines.
When my husband and I moved into Detroit proper in 2013 as part of a campus church plant team, I knew I’d have a lot to learn and that I’d probably be a little uncomfortable.
Here’s the thing: despite what some might consider a decently balanced cultural upbringing, probably devoid of most racism, I knew nothing.
Nothing of the truth about what it is like to be a person of color, particularly black, in America. Nothing about how I got to be where I am. Nothing about my own deep underlying prejudices. Nothing about my own fear and shame about my own ethnic background.
The last three years in Detroit have called for a steep learning curve. We have been loved and accepted by our black neighbors. We have been accused explicitly of racism by strangers. People smile, wave and chat with us; others glare or even yell. Most of my white friends in the city are light years ahead of me in terms of understanding this issue. A whole multi-racial group of Christians in our neighborhood meet regularly to dialogue openly, pray and seek healing. I’ve read some books.
I could get away with engaging half-heartedly on this topic. I don’t know how long we will live here, and the next place we live may not be an epicenter of racial fracture. If I’m honest, I don’t want to engage all that much, because I am scared. But I know that of all the things God has been teaching me–about Himself, about my children, about Charlotte Mason and homeschooling, about our nation–the one thing I would most regret not acting on is what I’ve learned about racism and God’s call to healing and reconciliation.
Still On the Fence About This Blog?
This humble spot on the internet is in its infancy. It exists as a processing space for me, but I also desire readers. When I think about my potential audience, I think about homeschooling moms, because you are the people I interact with most online and with whom I share so much in common. I think about those who homeschool classically and/or according to Charlotte Mason’s guidance. Are you interested in this topic, or is it a little too outside the box for a homeschool blog? Are you skeptical? Maybe I am someone who swims downstream of the culture, only talking about this because it’s what everyone is talking about on social media?
I’m asking these questions of myself. But I’m also asking:
- Are there people out there who have already found all the living books about people of color or about the dark underbelly of our nation’s history?
- On that note, how do I teach my girls about that dark underbelly without moralizing?
- Am I perpetuating white privilege by keeping my daughters at home, isolated from the kids in our neighborhood? (The only Charlotte Mason school in the state of Michigan is four miles from our home and is beautifully diverse).
- Might God put some under-served kids in my path whom I could welcome into my own homeschool?
- Who else is talking about this in the online homeschooling world? Do people believe it is an issue at all?
- Why does it seem like some homeschoolers are patriotic and political to the extreme? This is a genuine interest. I really want to understand.
These are not the only questions and topics I want to write and dialogue about in this space, but it is a major area where I need to take action. So it fits. I hope other people are out there, homeschoolers or not, who want to take action with me.
*I recently learned that the term “racial reconciliation” is received by some as an offensive white construct, but I have yet to hear a term that is more appropriate as well as universally understood. Racial implies that white and black are different races or species, which perpetuates racism. A better term would be ethnic/ethnicity. Reconciliation implies that there is a relationship to be healed, when for many, no relationship ever existed in the first place.