I’m really sick right now and can’t do much of anything, but this is too much to set aside and then forget.
I think about race and racism a lot. It’s in my bones. It’s in my skin. It’s in my daily experience. Even, or maybe especially, here in Maine. But in the church context it can’t be about me, because if it’s about me then not only is any conversation happening for the wrong reasons (like quitting smoking because your best friend said so) but anything bad that happens becomes about me (continuing the smoking example, it’s like blaming your best friend for the fight you got into with your spouse because you were irritable from nicotine withdrawal), even if it’s not really about me. It makes starting the conversation hard. It’s why white allies are so vital to the process, especially in churches, especially when the blatant racism is muted and what’s mostly left is subtle, systemic, invisible-to-most-people racism.
And common wisdom is that even this kind of speaking up is a risk, that I shouldn’t say anything precisely because it should be about the community, started by the community, supported by the community.
Okay, but I have a resource. So I’m not organizing any conversations at church. You can do that if you want, and it is my personal belief that the church is an excellent place to make these conversations happen for us and for the whole community. I am suggesting you read this elegant, gentle, true, informative, and accessible piece by Mary Anne Mohanraj–a writer I know a little and respect a lot–because, people? We all have to start somewhere.