Top 2014 Posts
Friends! We've come to the end of another year together. Can you believe it? We've walked through a lot of turmoil this year. We followed the trial seeking justice for Jordan Davis's murder. We paused to celebrate the life of Maya Angelou. We were gripped by the protests in Ferguson; stunned by the no-indictment decision. We nurtured a movement, stretching ourselves wide to bring light to injustice. Instead of showering Advent in a false sense of celebration, we dived deep into lament, acknowledging the reality of the darkness. And thats just what we've been through together.
Before we jump into the New Year, I have compiled a list of my top posts for 2014. These are the ways we have grown together, questioned together, turned a corner together. These are the ways we've been practicing a reconciled life, and I look forward to continuing the journey with you all.
10. The Tipping Point Subjects are asked to quantify a diverse neighborhood. Average answers? Black folks responded that a 50/50 split would qualify a neighborhood to be considered diverse. White folks responded that 96/4 (whites/blacks) would constitute a diverse neighborhood. While most respondents- black or white- declared they would like to live in a diverse neighborhood, there was a vast difference in how each defined diversity.
9. Top 10 Conversation Deflections Unfortunately for many people attempting to speak truth to power, sharing our hearts on these issues (not just theories, but how they make us FEEL) is always risky. Sometimes those listening engage well, but we always know there is a chance things will fall apart. It doesn't always matter what the justice issue is- mass incarceration, education, immigration, or in this case racial justice- there is always a risk that our hearts will leave as broken as when we came.
8. White Privilege Weariness My weariness is rooted in realizing how often starting the race conversation with white privilege automatically centers the experience of white folks. On the day mentioned above, I so clearly saw how focusing on white privilege filled the space. There was no room left for the stories, the experiences, the realities of people of color except in service to the education of white folks. We almost served as more of a comparative study than live humans standing on the opposite side of the room.
7. Metaphysical Dilemma When I first learned to write my name, I had no idea it would be so subversive. I had no idea it carried meaning, expectations. I had no idea it was tied to race or gender- how others would perceive me. I had no idea. But I experience the "surprise and wonder" pretty regularly.
6. Talking Points: You Bought the Lie You bought the lie that extra force is necessary when dealing with blackness. That we are heartless, monstrous, beastly. You believe our bodies are to be feared. You believe that the police can't treat us the same way because we are far more resistant to authority, far more disrespectful. You believe that it is we who are solely responsible for the dangers officers face. You believe we bring it on ourselves because we couldn't possibly be innocent. For the rest of America we believe in innocence until proven guilty, but for us- there is no question of our criminality.
5. My Faith & Feminism #FaithFeminisms has been the slowest conversion of my life. There was no flipping of a switch, no church service revelation, no falling to my knees in wonder. The connection was borne slowly, tumbling and kicking inside, peeking out to see if it’s safe, grasping and begging for air. The midwives of friends, authors, sisterhoods, mentors and preachers it has taken to help her live would form quite an extensive list- crisscrossing the country, reaching from heaven to earth.
4. Worthy. I want to scream to the world tonight, that black kids are precious. They are beautiful. They are full of life, of creativity, of soul. Black kids are bursting at the seems with potential, with possibilities. Black kids are made in the image of God. Black kids are made in the image of God. They carry within themselves the capacity to love deeply, to give generously, to hope eternally. They could change the world, if only we would let them live.
3. Made for Whiteness I used to think I was made for white people. I know that sounds a little crazy, but its true. When I discovered this thing called "racial reconciliation" I was attending a predominately white college where many people of color found themselves constantly teaching white folks about racial justice.
2. Justice, then Reconciliation We use the language of reconciliation fairly often in Christian social justice circles. Sometimes we offer ourselves synonyms like diversity or multiculturalism, but I think it's really important for us to explore the realities of practicing reconciliation. The fact that there is no singular definition of racial reconciliation, practically speaking, has created a situation where we are not entirely sure when we're doing it and when we are failing miserably at it. So let's explore the requirements for reconciliation to take place.
1. Black Bodies White Souls ...what I found most intriguing is MLK's response to the question about his mistakes as a civil rights leader. His reply: "Well, the most pervasive mistake I have made was in believing that because our cause was just, we could be sure that the white ministers of the South, once their Christian consciences were challenged, would rise to our aid. I felt that white ministers would take our cause to the white power structures. I ended up, of course, chastened and disillusioned."