Dear Editor: I was dismayed at Friend Mike Clarke’s letter in your Jan/Feb 2021 issue. I am a White Friend. In my yearly meeting, we are taking anti-racist work seriously, and that involves laboring together because we White Friends are not all in the same place as each other. Friends of Color are in yet other places.
My dismay at Friend Mike’s response is because it sounded to me like defensiveness. It did not sound to me like Friend Mike could acknowledge the anger and pain that I heard in the articles he was responding to [promoting ideas of defunding the police]. Instead, he gave an explanation of the good work of Quakers, which “these authors fail to recognize.”
I am worried that we may not hear the voices of Friends of Color again in Western Friend if they are informed that they “failure to recognize” Quaker labors and that they should temper their own expressions.
I do not wish to be the “good White person” who is calling out another White person because I’m “woke.” I don’t even use that word. I wish to ask White Friends to recognize that we need to develop the racial stamina to hear the voices of People of Color, believe them, and allow our spaces to change as a result.
– Karie Firoozmand, Timonium, MD
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