Danté Stewart’s book, Shoutin’ in the Fire, tells a story we need to hear. It’s completely uncomfortable and we, as whites, really don’t like that. His story is real. We are too capable of walking away from tough realities.
“The silhouette of a successful Black bod was no longer just a shadow of a figure; I had become that person. I had become a symbol of racial progress. Graduated college, married, working, ascending the heights of whiteness, critical of people who looked like me, and never, ever, saying those godforsaken words white supremacy.” (p. 69)
He is quite a bit younger than I am, but his awakening happened the same week as my awakening. He witnessed the video of Alton Sterling being murdered. It was the next day I saw the video of Philando Castile bleeding to death in his own car because he had been shot by a cop.
Stewart was well established in a white evangelical church, but there was no one to talk to about his pain. The message he bought into was one I had heard all too often: race is behind us.
The realization hit me that week I watched the video of Castile bleeding to death as it hit Stewart watching Alton Sterling being killed on video:
“Black people were still being murdered at alarming rates, Black people were still left behind economically, our children’s schools were still disregarded, our lives were still in danger.” (p. 71)
We still have work to do. Hard work. As whites, we can stay in our comfort. I find myself in a place where I simply cannot stay in my comfort. Stewart’s book is a good reminder for me.