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By Tim Hunt

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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Re-thinking my view on white privilege and structural racism

Uploaded: Jul 2, 2020
I have a confession. Over the past few weeks, I have come to realize just how big my blindspot was when it comes to the lives of Black people, particularly Black men.

I have listened to several long discussions of race and race relations -- all put together by faith-based organizations that I have connections to.

It was striking to hear Dallas megachurch Pastor T.D. Jakes tell Pastor Ray Johnston that he had influence when he was in the pulpit, but was just another Black man when he was driving in a car.

I read a lengthy interview in the Wall Street Journal with South Carolina Senator Tim Scott who is Black. He described the Washington Capitol police stopping him four times as he tried to enter the Senate even though he was wearing his official lapel pin. He's been stopped while driving at night several times.

Other Black pastors described having the "talk" with their sons about what to do if they are stopped by a police officer. Jakes described an incident where his adult son called him late at night to say he'd been in a car accident. Another driver had T-boned him and they were waiting for the ambulance and police to show up. Jakes said he reminded his son exactly what to do when the officer approached him and then stayed on the line until he heard a polite interaction.

This is a world that I do not live in. With one exception, every time I have been stopped for a traffic violation I earned the stop. Nothing bogus. Clearly, that's not true for Black men as I have come to learn.

It was also striking to hear a Nigerian-born British pastor talk about his heritage and compare it to African Americans. His parents moved him from Nigeria when he was 2 so he grew up British. He has a family name and a family history. Compare that to American slaves who arrived in chains and were given the last name of the family that owned them. The family history goes only as far as the first slave.

I also heard a pastor lay out a convincing case for how the country was built by whites and for whites. Whether it was Jim Crow in the South, redlining for lending in Black neighborhoods, or zoning designed to keep Blacks out of the explosion in private Christian schools once public schools were integrated in the South. I recently read an article that demonstrated that homes in Black neighborhoods were assessed at significantly lower values than other neighborhoods in the same city.

I heard another pastor argue that reparations are a Biblical principle. That was a word that I typically dismissed out-of-hand or get irritated. I have a new understanding.

What I heard over and over and over again was how frustrated and tired these Black leaders are because they've been battling these issues for years and ears (mine included) were closed. Jakes, who has a national presence and is a guest on talk shows frequently, summed it up when he said, for the first time, he can be completely honest in a conversation with fellow pastors.

My eyes and ears started to open when Transforming the Bay with Christ put together a forum with Effrem Smith and three other Black pastors from the Bay Area. Smith planted a multi-racial church in Minneapolis before moving to the Bay Area to head a mission organization. I got to know him through the Barnabas Group of the San Francisco Bay Area before he moved to Sacramento to co-pastor the midtown congregation of Granite Bay.

I also plugged into the Q Conference when it did a special program on race relations as well as Granite Bay's Thrive Conference that went virtual this year (seen in 98 countries) and featured a half-day program on race. That's where I saw Jakes and Pastor Miles McPherson from San Diego interviewed as well as Condoleezza Rice, the former Secretary of State and national security advisor, who is back at Stanford and will move into leadership at the Hoover Institution later this summer. She grew up in the Jim Crow South in Birmingham, Ala. I've heard her speak a few times and she emphasizes that there's been significant progress, but there's still much work to do.

I also joined an international call put together by Global Celebration, the Christian group that we went to Israel with in 2018.

My takeaways: I have much to learn and will listen. McPherson asked a particularly pointed question: How often do you hang out with a person who doesn't look like you, doesn't vote like you, doesn't watch the same media as you or has different political views than you do? Ouch.

This is a very complicated issue and is one that will require a multi-faceted approach to move forward.

The Thrive Conference is available online free at {http://www.thriveconference.org. videos" />. Jakes, McPherson, Rice, Smith and other Black leaders are interviewed.



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Comments

 +   6 people like this
Posted by clean comfort, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jul 2, 2020 at 11:22 am

"My takeaways: I have much to learn and will listen. McPherson asked a particularly pointed question: How often do you hang out with a person who doesn't look like you, doesn't vote like you, doesn't watch the same media as you or has different political views than you do? Ouch."

Seriously Mr. Hunt? - have you ever been married?


 +   9 people like this
Posted by Current Occupant, a resident of Las Positas Garden Homes,
on Jul 2, 2020 at 7:18 pm

Tim Hunt I'm glad your eyes and ears are finally open, but wondering what stopped you from listening before? I hope you will continue to seek out voices that are different from yours, histories that are different from yours. As whites people we need to allow ourselves to be uncomfortable and hear what people of color have been telling us for generations. We need to refrain from walking away when the conversation gets hard, when the stories are worthy of revulsion. Let's listen and believe! It's the least we can do, especially when we are merely listening to what someone else has actually had to experience. Listen, believe, and then act. Besides being against racism, we need to be actively anti-racist, which means speaking up when we see something racist happening instead of silently watching. Racist white people wont stop until good white people make them stop!


 +   35 people like this
Posted by Bill T, a resident of Alamo,
on Jul 3, 2020 at 6:54 am

We all need to do better, to be better loving, caring human beings, including African Americans. What happened to Mr. Floyd was terrible and disgusting. What is also terrible and disgusting is black on black crime, as statistically a black is 700 more times likely to be killed by someone of color they know then by a police officer. It is not uncommon for over 20 blacks to be killed daily in Chicago by other blacks, and that has nothing to do with white privilege or police racism. In fact, last year only 10 unarmed blacks were killed by police, while in the same year 48 police officers lost their lives in the line of duty.

If you want more people to have empathy and join the movement to stop racism, you also need to hear the message that everyone, including blacks, need to improve, to be better, caring, loving citizens. We all need to improve, including blacks, to stop the violence, no matter what the color, and when this message is sent you will see those on the sidelines joining the fight to stop violence. When the only message is whites and police are evil, ears close, and no true improvement can occur in society. We are truly all in this together.


 +   17 people like this
Posted by Anti racist, a resident of Ruby Hill,
on Jul 3, 2020 at 8:20 am

Anti racist is a registered user.

Hey Bill T, you know that whites are more likely to be killed by whites,right? So what's your point?

The topic at hand is racist over reach by police who needlessly over react in situations that don't remotely call for the use of force. You see it everyday where a black person (not a black, you ignoramous) is doing something minor, jaywalking for gods sake, and gets rousted by the police. I take it you're a white dude, and you know the police aren't going to throw you to the ground for jaywalking, hell they probably wouldn't even approach you. But for a black person they run the real risk of not only being stopped, but the whole interaction has a high risk of blowing up. That's what we're talking about in this movement. It's NOT about general crime. Stay on topic white dude.


 +   19 people like this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jul 3, 2020 at 8:51 am

I gotta agree with Anti racist. Too many Black Americans are murdered by police and it's becoming clearer and clearer daily. Thanks to phones...HOORAY!

I GOTTA TELL YOU: I'm working with a luthier to make me a 3/4 Tenor guitar for being such a neat soul! The BZ is exquisite and I'm gonna have the best materials available so it can be played like a jewel! I can hardly wait for it to be completed...yup

I sure hope that rewarding myself for being like waaaaay cool that somebody doesn't get J E A L O U S....tee hee





 +   4 people like this
Posted by Local person, a resident of Val Vista,
on Jul 3, 2020 at 10:38 am

Local person is a registered user.

I suggest everyone reading this watch American Son on Netflix. And also the documentary Thirteenth. Excellent for those white people who haven't worked in a mixed work setting with conversations on a regular basis.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Jocelyn Combs, a resident of Pleasanton Valley,
on Jul 3, 2020 at 11:15 am

Jocelyn Combs is a registered user.

Thank you for your article today Tim. I appreciate your honesty and humility.
I hope one day you will join us and say “Black Lives Matter".


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Self Reflection, a resident of Danville,
on Jul 3, 2020 at 12:03 pm

Thanks for acknowledging your change of heart Tim!
Might I suggest you open up on other subjects as well?

Reading your articles I'm often struck by how you have only seen one side of the story. There are never one or two sides to any issue but our society focuses everything into one of two available opinion boxes. Neither of them are ever reflecting the real complexity of issues today.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Ptown Mom, a resident of Avignon,
on Jul 3, 2020 at 4:37 pm

Tim,
I've often found myself thinking you were the epitome of the privileged white man when I read your articles. I am thrilled to see that you are learning and listening. Learning about the lives of others in this country and listening to how their experiences are not like yours. We can only get to a more Just Nation when men with privilege acknowledge this and help create change. Thank you for being willing to speak up. I hope that other men listen to you and join the fight.


 +   16 people like this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows,
on Jul 4, 2020 at 10:53 am

I don't understand how anyone that has any understanding of human behavior can believe that Tim does not believe that Black Lives Matter.

Tim has been involved in providing fresh water to people in Africa. MOST IF NOT ALL OF THE people that have benefited are Black Africans.

It seems to me that many folks are saying Black Lives Matter but have never done anything to benefits groups of people who are Black who also need clean water.

I appreciate Tim's honesty.

Change is coming in the USA! I hope Plutonians will change in a way that benefits all AMERICAN CITIZENS.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jul 5, 2020 at 9:23 am

FYI: Web Link


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Karl, a resident of Birdland,
on Jul 7, 2020 at 3:10 pm

Ptown Mom -

How about opening up your mind to include the privileged woman of Pleasanton?

It's not just a male problem in this town.

Or is it politically incorrect to point out all the Karens we have here now?


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