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How Can We Help?

Dan Berry  •  June 11, 2024

How many times have people asked this question without understanding what they are asking?   Good intentions lead us into the ask, but in reality, most of the time we secretly hope we don’t have to get involved or be faced with the answer.

In the last decade when horrific racial events would happen, I personally witnessed white people or white led organizations bring together a panel of Black leaders to talk about these events.  At some point the facilitator, who was white, would get to the question “How Can We Help?”

When the question was asked, you could feel the uneasiness begin to manifest.  Could it be that Black leaders have been asked the question over and over with ultimately no response to their answer?  Could it be that most of the time the question was not sincere?  

With white people the answer would require action, a change in their social norms.  The answer would require them to step out of their privilege and experience the truth about systems that have benefited them and marginalized those they were supposedly wanting to help.  Interpersonal racism will always expose the narratives, systems, and power structures that make room for abuse.  If we really want to help, it will always require more than an expression of sympathy.

We ask the question, but do we really want to know the answer?  It’s as if we believe because we are good white people.  After all, we asked the question, now let’s give it a little time and let it blow over and get back to our unaffected lives.

If you are someone who is genuinely interested in the answer to the question, allow me to share something with you that will lead to your first steps in helping.

Get an Education on Race/ism

Stop spending so much time and energy trying to convince yourself and others that you are not racist. Devote that time to finding the truth out about race, something I found out that I knew very little about.

“All you think you have learned is not all there is to know.”

There are plenty of Educators, Pastors, and Leaders that can help you take your first steps.  All we have to do is open our hearts and minds to learn the truth about Race.

How many times have we said to ourselves, “I don’t get it?”  “I don’t understand?”  and then went into the immediate denial and self-protection of “I’m not a racist!”

Here’s my challenge to you this month.  For any of you who have ever asked or thought, “How Can I Help?” – please visit our website at Brownicity.com.  There are so many opportunities to be educated on this difficult subject.  In the quiet space of your home you can learn how to take your first steps towards answering the question for yourself.


Here are some Brownicity courses to help you learn about race:


Dan Berry is the author of Navigating Diversity In Our Most Segregated Hour, a Certified Instructor for the What LIES Between Us and Confronting Whiteness courses, and advises individuals and organizations on how to take first steps toward racial healing through Bridge Building Solutions.
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.