BTSF in chronological order (most recent articles appear first):

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Plea to Engage in Racial Reconciliation (Part 2)

Grace Biskie, continues her series on racial reconciliation that origionally appeard on Rachel Held Evens's blog:

...(continued from part oneAs an American Christian trying to live in the tension, I am as screwed as it gets.

For all these reasons and more, I have been unable to disengage with the issues that plague black and white Christians in our country.* I've tried to disengage. Lord knows I've wanted to disengage. But I simply can't untangle myself from the racist web into which I was spun. And it's for these same reasons I feel terribly sad when I watch whites disengage.
To not know African-American history is to disengage.
To attend a large white church and never ask how the church got there or why it's staying that way is to disengage.
To never admit, let alone assess, your power and privilege as a white American is to disengage.
To not seek to understand why blacks were (and are) so angry about cases like Trayvon Martin's is disengage.
To decide to live in a mostly white community with no thought as to why it feels safer or mandatory for your family is to disengage.
To not read widely about racial and ethnic issues in our country is to disengage.
To allow yourself to be in places where everyone looks like you 90% of the time is to disengage.
To raise your kids to be color blind is to disengage.
I don't toss that list out lightly. Nor do I present it with judgment or condemnation. I am not looking to set you on a point-of-no-return guilt trip. None of that from me. Please consider this an invitation for you to love me, your neighborTo disengage is to fail to love.
I have been truly loved by many white people, most of whom I work with while serving in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. When I feel loved and cared for by a white person it's because they've done their homework and tried to understand my perspective. They know that they can read twenty books a day, but until they actually build a real relationship with someone who sees life differently, they are never going to get it right.
The hard days are the ones when I interact with whites that think they have the whole issue all figured out. They are quick to defend their white privileges and quick to point out their black friends. They make assumptions, and ask me to represent all blacks by answering that age old question, "what are black people so mad about?" That's not what engaging looks like. That’s what verbal self defense looks like.
The problem with disengaging is that it's not what God intended for us. I believe God expressly asks us to love people who are different than us. He especially desires for us to love those who would be considered our enemies. Take a look at Revelation 21; we know how this ends: We live in that not-yet-but-all-ready-here Kingdom, where God will bring together every tribe, every tongue and every nation, all of us speaking our own language, wearing our own cultural garb, eating our good cultural food. I'm talking about the day when Jesus' redemption brings total shalom to all peoples, complete peace between all people and God, all people to all people. In this partay of ALL partay's, the Hutu’s and Tutsi's will have a glorious celebration together. That final picture includes African-Americans and white Americans together…with no funky attitude problems.
No under-the-breath judgments.
No wealth gap.
No opportunities stolen.
No lynchings.
No death.
No gang wars.
No tears.
No blame game.
No race cards to be pulled.
No "shit black people think (white people think) about black people" YouTube memes.
If this vision excites you, know that your engagement in pursuing peace and health between African-American and white Americans is exactly what Jesus was talking about when he told us to pray like him: Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

If this vision doesn't excite you, I might ask if you’re working toward building God's Kingdom at all... 
*Note: I acknowledge there are many other racial and ethnic issues to be addressed by the Church regarding ethnic groups living in the U.S. However, I am primarily speaking to the issue I know and live while trying to respect the fact that only so many things can be discussed in one blog post. Please know I am not trying to ignore the issues that exist for our Asian-American, Latino-American, Native American, etc. brothers and sisters in Christ. I acknowledge that much more could be said on any number of issues. 

(Continue to the final installment...)



    In an audio clip of the same fund-raiser, apparently posted on the Internet by the person who gave the videos to Mother Jones, Mr. Romney is heard joking that he would have had an easier time winning the election if his father had been born to Mexican parents.

    “My dad, as you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company,” Mr. Romney says in the audio clip. “But he was born in Mexico and, uh, had he been born of, uh, Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot at winning this.”

    He added a moment later: “I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be, uh, Latino.”


  2. Yen Lee Loh, I heard about that as well. I was deeply disappointed in many of Mr. Romney's comments that have since come out since that fund-raiser. I think his desire to be something and someone he is not merely to win an election is unfortunate and reveals his ignorance about the actual issues surrounding race relations. If I were Mexican or Mexican-American I would have been very hurt by those comments as well. My personal opinion is that he can't handle all of the nuances of race and ethnicity relations in our country let alone run it.

  3. Thank you Grace! Sorry about the all caps. I was really angry at Mr. Romney. In fact, I'm still angry. I'm not one to worry that much about racial issues because I haven't been on the receiving end of it.... but still, coming from a possible future president, it was utterly disgraceful. Please keep up the good writing!


Creative Commons License
By Their Strange Fruit by Katelin H is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at @BTSFblog