By Zac Head
My name is Zac,
I am not a person of color. I am not female. I am not a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
I have not truly experienced poverty. I will likely never know what it is like to be a member of any of these groups.
I am a straight, white male, whose household income is significantly above the poverty line.
I grew up with happily married parents who were always very supportive of me.
I have broken laws, and been sent away from at least two encounters with law enforcement with “warnings”.
I have benefited from biases of others based on race, gender, social class, and sexuality.
I am privileged.
While I value all human life equally, recognize the sacred worth of every individual, and know that we are all God’s children, made in the image of God, and equally loved by God,
I have biases that affect the way I perceive people of color.
I have biases that affect the way I perceive females.
I have biases that affect the way I perceive people with different religious and political views than my own.
While these biases are most often subconscious, I am aware that they exist and that they cause damage in relationships and the lives of others.
My mind often feels threatened by those who are different than myself.
My mind often feels threatened by black masculinity.
I am aware of my biases and constantly fight against them.
I pray for deliverance from my biases.
Through prayer and conscious effort I have experienced deliverance from bias bit by bit, but if I am being honest I may never completely leave these biases behind.
All I can do is try each day to only see people for the children of God that they are.
Until we can acknowledge our biases we will continue to teach these biases to our children.
Until we can acknowledge our biases, it should be no surprise that those against whom we are biased will suffer.
Until we acknowledge the issue of black masculinity being perceived as dangerous, black men will continue to die from violence (with and without police involvement) at a higher rate than white men.
Until we acknowledge the issue of black masculinity being perceived as dangerous, little black boys will continue to grow up being told by the media that they are more likely to be violent than their white counterparts.
Until we acknowledge the issue of black masculinity being perceived as dangerous, we should not be surprised when this cycle continues.
I can never know what it feels like to be black, a woman, or someone who grew up in poverty.
All I can do is try my very best to listen to others who have those perspectives, acknowledge the worth of these perspectives and individuals, and live in such a way that teaches my daughter to move past biases while doing my very best to keep certain biases from forming in our household.
Today, I acknowledge my biases.
Today, I pray for deliverance (my own and that of our society) from these biases.
Today I am proud to see so many young people standing up for what Is right and am filled with hope for the future.
Forgive us, oh God of grace, for failing to see your image in one another.
Zac Head is a pastor at Mount Hebron United Methodist Church in Beaverton, AL.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.