Speaking to the pain of a black Mormon

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The last time the N-word was hurled at me was in April 2017. And yes, it was the full word. Sadly, I was angrier that the guy reset my clock than I was at being called a racial slur. Trust me, every black person distinctly remembers the last time they were called the N-word. Now, thanks to some saint with a slick tongue, it’s a frighteningly fresh wound from 2017.

Racism is a sin. An LDS Church definition of sin is “to willfully disobey God’s commandments or to fail to act righteously despite a knowledge of the truth.” It seems pretty straightforward, right? Except for that key word, “knowledge.” The fact is, there’s a facet of Latter-day Saints that don’t actually “know” what racism is or “know” that it’s a bigger deal to the church than say swearing.

When we don’t understand the very real damage that even the smallest act of racism does to those it is inflicted upon, we sit silently. Which means we’ve convinced ourselves that we don’t need to speak up against it, because discomfort is too high a price to pay to keep our Christian covenant to comfort those who stand in need of comfort.