Sometimes I’m not very good at follow-through. I have all kinds of good intentions and verbalize them happily. And then sizzle… fizzle… blap (and by blap, I mean splat, kapooey, dead).
I don’t particularly want to be characterized by this.
So, when I say that Now Is Not the Time to Move On (referring to the Trayvon Martin case and all of the really tough stuff that’s been brought to light because of it), I want to mean it. I want to engage more dialogue, get more people thinking, help move forward in reconciliation, not “move on.”
When I don’t blog about it, it doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about it (although that’s a logical assumption); it means I don’t know how to say things, which approach to take, how to work some word-magic so, all of a sudden, people’s long-time blinders fall right off.
But this seems to be one of those times where, if I wait for perfect, I’ll be waiting forever.
And that’s not acceptable.
So I just want to talk about something that’s been bothering me. A couple weeks ago (actually, on the very night I wrote that blog post), I got a forwarded e-mail from a relative of mine. It was titled, “Be Proud to Be White.” As soon as I saw it in my inbox, my heart sank, and I felt physically sick.
“Really?” I thought. “Really?!?!”
I read the e-mail and only felt sicker and sicker. And angry. Angry that someone I’m related to by blood (not anyone in my immediate family–from my parents down–just to make that clear) is passing this around the internet. Applauding the person who wrote it, the person who forwarded it.
I’m not even going to dignify it by sharing any of it. I knew I had to respond but what on earth to say without unleashing a barrage of, “YOU CALL YOURSELF A CHRISTIAN??? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME ABOUT THIS?!??! DO YOU EVEN KNOW A SINGLE BLACK PERSON??!?!??! I’M SO ANGRY WITH YOU BIGOTED, BLIND, WHITE, REPUBLICAN PEOPLE!!!!!!”
Instead, I wrote, “This makes my heart sick.” (With a sad face.) And a link to this article and said, “please read this.” (I haven’t re-read or deeply analyzed the article to see if I agree with every single thing, but the premise is this: the privileged in our country don’t know what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes.)
Here’s the thing:
I refuse to be Proud to Be White if that means saying ignorant things like “racism is universal” and not believing my black friends when they say life in America is different for blacks than it is for whites.
And I refuse to be Proud to Be American when we hoard resources and money and freedoms while others around the world are starving and impoverished and enslaved.
And I refuse to be Proud to Be a Christian when so many people are shunned and mistreated and ridiculed and hated in “the name of Jesus” in this country.
I don’t see that pride really has a place here at all. In fact, I think it’s at the root of a lot of our problems.
It’s time to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk HUMBLY with our God.
I don’t claim to know exactly what that looks like, but I know God promises to give us wisdom when we ask. I’m asking, God. Show me what to do.