Series 34: Spring Back | Episode 04
Spring Back Series #4: Loving Fiercely with Marcie Walker
There are so many lessons in life that are evergreen; they stay with us through each season, and that’s why we’re revisiting some episodes that bring those truths home in ways that are so applicable to where we are in life. Right. Now. For this episode of our Spring Back Series, we are bringing back one of our favorites – Marcie Alvis-Walker. Marcie is the creator of Black Coffee with White Friends and is an incredible teacher, leader, and woman. The first time she was here, Marcie and Jen talked through what racism actually looks like in America, the ways our history is steeped in minority erasure, and how each of us plays a role in the way stories are told. And this is a topic that is not going away, in fact, it may be more prominent now than ever before. Plus, Jen weighs in with some all new commentary regarding some key events of the past year that relate to this timeless conversation and how we can continue to uphold the idea of putting aside opinions for just a minute so we can better listen and know our neighbor.
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Hey, everybody. Jen Hatmaker here, your happy host of the For the Love podcast. Welcome. Welcome to the show. So right now is fun, because we’re in a re-imagined series, an old-to-new treasure hunt that I’m really enjoying, because we have had so many, too many, good conversations on this show that are too good to let them stay in the archives. We’re evergreen here on this little show. We like to talk about stuff that’s relevant always. So before I dive into the interview we’re sharing today, and spoiler alert, it is with the creator of Black Coffee With White Friends, Marcie Walker, let me dive into why we have to keep this dialogue open, why this convo of all convos is really crucial to be having right now.
So honestly, just taking stock of where we’re at right now. Golly, we’ve come through a year plus of this pandemic, over a year of our lives, as we knew it, being shut down. We’re going to be talking about this for decades, maybe longer. Our people are tired. Our first responders are exhausted to the bone. Death has run rampant. Gosh, it’s just a tragedy. Businesses are shutting down. People are losing jobs. We have been stuck in our homes to the point of going bananas. Our kids, they lost their senior years. They lost their proms. They lost their first year of high school. They lost their last year of college. They lost kindergarten. We’re arguing still over the wearing of masks and what rules we should be following. We have just felt a ton of loss. We have collectively sat in grief. It has been trying, to say the least. Golly, you know, I know.
People are mean, y’all. Coming through an election season, I think it was the worst, well, it’s the worst I’ve ever seen. It’s the worst I have personally ever experienced. Everything, and I mean everything, is politicized, everything right now. Everything is politicized, down to vaccinations, which is science. I’ve never, ever seen people more divided, in my lifetime at least. It seems like basic humanitarian issues are somehow up for debate now. Rights have come up for debate. Freedom has come up for debate. It’s overwhelming. Honestly, it can be scary. I just want to sit in that with you and acknowledge it, that I feel it too in my bones. So here we are today, because we’re going to talk about racism, which we talk about a lot here on this show. And we always will, because it’s just as ugly as it has always been.
It’s interesting to listen in right now to what people are saying, like, “Racism is just spiking,” and, “We’re being divided,” and, “It’s making racism worse.” I’m like, “No, we were founded on this!” It’s our founding value. White supremacy was the cornerstone that we built this country on. There is nothing new here. This is as it has always been. Obviously, right now in the world, for reasons that just break me down, I’m broken hearted, I’m scared, and I’m mad. I oscillate between not even having any hope anymore in it. Senseless black executions are still occurring at an alarming rate. For reasons I don’t fully understand, skin color is still determining worth and privilege and power and position. Honestly, it’s devastating. It’s broken my heart, to be honest with you. This is where we’re at in America. We’re really not better than we ever were.
Places where we are celebrating equality are still slanted. Pay parity is still slanted. Power, position, representation, just look around. If you’re white and feeling defensive and thinking, “No, it is…” Ask a black friend. Ask a black friend. Give them permission to tell you the truth. Ask what their perspective is. I don’t know what else to reach for. This is the thing that I know, it is the anchor that I have held onto, I guess, my whole life, we’re going to have to dig deep and figure out a way to center love again. I don’t mean that in a squishy way. I don’t mean that like, can’t we all just get along? I don’t mean that in a way that turns a blind eye to injustice and inequality. So what does it mean? What does it mean? Well, I mean, for maybe starters, right here in our own little lives, in our little worlds that we live in, maybe we put aside our opinions and we prioritize our neighbor.
Maybe it means listening, not talking over, not just rebuttal, not just defensiveness or justification, but just listening. It means empathy, that lost art. Trying to find the best, most honorable way forward. We’re all going to make mistakes when we try to love well, but that’s okay. Because at least you are attempting to bring something beautiful and good and pure into the world. The bottom line is that love is powerful and it matters and everyone deserves it. It doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree with that person. It doesn’t matter. None of that matters. We love, because that’s what we’re called to do. That’s what we’re supposed to do as humans. It is the best way. It is the highest way. It is the way of justice. It is the way of equality. It is the way of fairness. Love is the way of empathy and compassion. It is the way of the neighbor. I think it really is our highest and holiest path. So, we love.
In case you didn’t get a chance to tune into our first conversation, Marcie Alvis-Walker lives, well, she used to live in Austin. She’s relocated now. And that makes me mad, because I love her. She is my friend. She has brought a lot of joy and delight and wonder to my world, to my life, to my understanding. She’s been a teacher and a friend. Marcie has this uncanny ability to just describe in terms that anyone can get their arms around, what it’s like, what it’s really like, to navigate white spaces as a black woman. She’s also very gifted at filling in the holes, which excuse me, our entire white-washed history needs, our history books, the stories that we tell. She does this through what she calls her Mockingbird History Lessons, it’s so brilliant, in which basically Marcie shares missing narratives that help us understand the ugly, but real truth about how our nation got to where it is today and why the issue of racism is so baked into all of our processes.
Her socials are chock-full of resources for you, including live discussions, excerpts from her teachings and other people’s teachings, quotes from trustworthy leaders. She’s calling out the groups who need calling out. She’s digging truth straight out of scripture. She is Jesus and justice rolled up into one being. She’s gifted. And we need her right now. I’d like to share with you actually, before we jump back to it, I’d like to share with you this post that recently she put up on her socials, which by the way, follow her immediately.
Here’s what she wrote, “For generations, the way black people have pressed on has been to train our eye on whatever good we can find in any given situation. Mind you, we’re not settling or being willfully ignorant of our circumstances. We’re simply choosing an eternal presence over our current tears and terror. We look for whatever is eternal here on earth right now, just so we can continue to face the brute force challenges of the day. It’s the practice of deliberately maintaining hope and joy, any which way. And it’s a revolutionary act, much like the many times we continued to sing while bound in chains, like Paul and Silas. This practice of joy is not only holy, but essential in order to practice any act of love. There’s little chance of any hope of finding a reason to love without it.” Isn’t that good? Let that sink in, the weight of those beautiful words.
In light of the outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial, where he was convicted on all three counts of the murder of George Floyd, it’s tempting, especially for white people, to feel compelled to say, ‘Well, that is a huge leap in the name of racial justice.’ But I think it’s really important to insert a reminder here that we don’t center our own response to how this feels. What I’m hearing from my black friends and the black leaders that I follow and listen to is that it really isn’t justice. It was accountability. And we’re grateful for it. But justice would have been George Floyd alive. Justice would have been a traffic stop that didn’t end up as an on-the-spot execution. That’s justice. Justice is getting your fair day in court, like your white counterpart probably would have. That’s justice.
To that end, Marcie has been doing these incredible subscription-based weekly Bible studies on her website every week called Black-Eyed Bible Study. She has one called Letters, that talks about the Chauvin trial and other really important content, like the letter Paul wrote to the Philippians from jail. I cannot encourage you enough to go to her site and check out what she has to say about this. I’m so happy to bring this conversation back to the forefront. If you missed her the first time, I’m happy to introduce you to Marcie. I want you to know her. I want you to follow her and learn from her. I want you to listen to her. She’s a trustworthy guide, full of faithfulness, stubbornly full of joy and hope. She’s a good friend. And I’m lucky she’s in my life. I’m really pleased to share a throwback to my conversation with the insightful and wonderful Marcie Walker.
Books & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxanne Gay
Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan
Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia by Sabrina Strings
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XO – Team Jen