Teenagers need safe places to talk about race.
I wish it were my parents who pushed me to value race.
But the truth is, they didn’t have parents who valued race.
They did their best raising us, but they weren’t able to help me as much as they likely wanted to.
My youth pastor was the first one to invite me to think critically about race and identity.
He didn’t minimize the role of my parents.
More like a vitamin in comparison to a meal, he supplemented so much in casual interactions and decisions that built up over time.
I’m grateful he wasn’t someone who passively overheard our conversations and ignored them. He chose to help us instead.
Youth ministry (and kids ministry) are fertile places for social and developmental conversations. In this season that has followed the death of George Floyd (and so many others who’s lives have been unjustly taken), it’s been important to stay engaged. We can remember and get better at practicing the continuous work of reconciliation that we are called to be a part of.
I want to be someone who can make the journey from callous ignorance to compassionate humility.
The conversation here is another layer of that journey.
Last week, Cassandra Dorsaint and I had a chat over zoom about things youth pastors can do to help students value race.
For many students, the race conversation feels unsafe. For some, there is exhaustion from having the conversation since the day they could talk. Others are frustrated and overwhelmed with the enormity of our challenges and wonder how they could ever manage anything that could remotely change the reality they see around them. Teenagers can be caught in a whirlwind of outside opinions and influences while trying to form their own core identities and worldview. It’s not an easy place to be.
But we’re here to serve youth.
And one way we can serve them is to help them value race in their conversations and community.
Below you’ll find the conversation with Cass. Her insights are rich and I so helpful for all of us.
We would love to know what things you might add to the conversation as you listen in.
If you would like the conversation notes, these are here for you!
And, for everyone wanting more goodness from Cass (I know I do) have a listen to her Q Ideas talk on The Key To An Effective Movement.
For more on this topic, check out the conversation I had with Isaiah Board where we mapped out 5 Things Teenagers Can Do During Times of Injustice.