Pastor Carl Lentz says ignorance is the root of racism

Hillsong Church NYC pastor Carl Lentz pointed to ignorance as the root of racism and called out white Americans who become defensive when talking about the issue.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey on SuperSoul Sunday, Pastor Carl Lentz conveyed his frustration over the issue of racism and the defensiveness of some Americans when it comes to that topic. For him, racism stems from ignorance, which in turn creates a chain of insecurity, defensiveness, and violence, The Huffington Post relays.

Members of the group Black Lives Matter march to city hall during a protest in Minneapolis, Nov. 24, 2015. | Reuters/Craig Lassig

"Ignorance is a lack of information, which creates insecurity; insecurity creates defensiveness, and defensiveness creates attack," Pastor Lentz told Winfrey. "It frustrates me that people want to act like this isn't a conversation. White people can be so defensive about this subject."

Winfrey agreed with the evangelical pastor, admitting that some of her white friends have a hard time taking in the magnitude of the issue of violence against black Americans. She recalled how she opened up the topic to her friends after Trayvon Martin was shot, and people back then thought that the incident was an anomaly, SuperSoul.TV reports.

Although some of Winfrey's friends told her that the Martin shooting does not happen all the time, she insisted that it does. It was only after Walter Scott was shot that a white friend agreed with her that she may be on to something.

Lentz, on the other hand, pointed out that they still need to talk about the Martin shooting even it was merely an isolated incident. He said the big problem in the country is that people do not want to constructively confront inconvenient truths about race. He emphasized the importance of conversation about the issue because it helps people find a common ground.

As part of an effort to combat ignorance which gives birth to racism, Lentz has been talking about the issue to his community. He then urged his white followers to open their ears to their black neighbors' stories about their struggles instead of avoiding the conversation about racism.

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