#Blackouttuesday: It Wasn’t About a Trend, It Was About Real Life

by | Jun 3, 2020 | Blogs, Prayers, Race, Spirituality

What did you learn yesterday? Anything? My interpretation of #BlackOutTuesday: mute the self-centeredness of social media and heed the words of Psalm 34:15: “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and his ears toward their cry.” It was a call to learn something, and maybe even do something. 

Here is what I learned:

I learned from Embracing Equality that as a non-black person of color, “I have the privilege to fight racism with less risk than a black person because of the pathological anti-blackness that undergirds systemic racism in the U.S. and the ways in which black people are more severely retaliated against than non-black people of color.” Though I am brown, though I have experienced levels of racism against my own brown body, I am not black. My brown skin may have scars and bruises, but it does not carry the unhealed and recurring wounds of black skin.  

I learned the differences between being an ally, an accomplice, and a co-conspirator in the fight against racism. Google or YouTube those terms and discover them more fully with me.  

Here is what I did:

I had conversations about race with my father, two colleagues, three friends, and the lady across from me at Krogers as we waited in cars for our groceries. The conversations were uncomfortable at times. Confusing. Frustrating. Hopeful. Affirming. And in having them, I discovered resilience. I uncovered hope. I realized I have a long way to go in my own self-education about racism, and I found I was okay with that. I felt encouraged to learn more. 

I prayed too. Lord, I prayed! And you know what? The discoveries I made, the little bit of self-education I did, and the conversations I had informed my prayer. I had better language to pray with, my heart felt different, and I believe the Lord reads our hearts. Prayer was alive because I knew what I wanted to pray about! Not just prayers to end racism. Prayers for courage to engage myself in my own weaknesses and fears. Prayers for the stamina to endure the long work of dismantling racism in me so I can better confront it in the world. 

Learn these things with me. Have these conversations. And, pray with me. Here’s a way how:  

  • Take a moment to silence yourself. To be still. Breathe in. Breathe out. Become aware of God’s presence in this moment. Focus on God’s love around you.
  • Ponder three moments you were grateful for in your day yesterday. Allow those moments to be a reminder of God’s love for you.
  • Ask God for the ability to reflect honestly about yourself in the context of race and racism. Sift through the happenings and emotions as you have watched or read the news surrounding the death of George Floyd, the recent protests, and the history of racism you are aware of.
  • Choose three features (event, feeling, etc.) of your day yesterday and pray from it. In light of #BlackOutTuesday, what did you see, hear, or read from others? What did you feel? Did you learn anything about yourself in the context of race or racism? If none of these happened for you, that’s okay, and don’t let it go. Sit in prayer with what you are feeling right now, acknowledge it, offer it up to God and ask for what you need to freely step inside the work of anti-racism.
  • Embrace today, tomorrow, the week by looking ahead. Identify something in the context of race or racism that you want to learn more about. Take a moment to pinpoint something you feel uneasy about in the context of race or racism and invite God into that fear. What do you need to aid you in this work of anti-racism and ask God for that grace.
  • Conclude with your favorite prayer or the Our Father. 


Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash


Damian Torres-Botello, SJ

dbotellosj@thejesuitpost.org   /   All posts by Damian