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Are the Lights Really On?

Dan Berry – March 8, 2022

Who would have ever thought that stepping into enlightenment, when it comes to racial understanding, could be a bad thing? That it could even be the very thing that causes us to stumble?

Like most White people, I lived in darkness, devoid of any level of racial understanding for way too long.  When I stepped into “wokeness,” my life and journey began to change.  I was so excited about learning and educating myself about race!  As I grew in understanding, it wasn’t long before I fell into the trap of moving from student mode to teacher mode. 

Could it be that my desire to learn about race was being replaced by a desire to offer solutions to fix it or to offer  opinions on how others were tackling these issues? (Most often in a judgmental way.)  

Maybe people who refuse to understand race are not the real problem here.  Maybe it’s people like me who consider themselves to be “Woke” — who think they have arrived and as a result, stop learning. 

It’s not that we don’t need teachers and leaders in this journey, but always remember if you are going to be a teacher, you must always remain teachable.  If you really want to be a leader in this journey, you must remain leadable.  

Wokeness doesn’t mean you have arrived. It just means you have only just begun a much-needed journey.

May we always be people of peace, with voices of hope, who are willing to do the hard work of love.


Dan Berry is the author of Navigating Diversity In Our Most Segregated Hour, a Certified Instructor for the What LIES Between Us and What Does It Mean to Be White courses, and advises individuals and organizations on how to take first steps toward racial healing.

He has pastored for forty years in Iowa.  After pastoring in predominantly white spaces for several years, he began to realize the need to bring about racial healing in the body of Christ. For the last 30 years he has worked to bridge ethnic and cultural divides, a work that has led him into confronting the churches complicity in upholding systems of racism.

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