This is to people like me who are generally well meaning and inclined to be decent. I don’t have a single clue about how to communicate to folk who think it’s a good idea to have a man like we’ve got sitting alone and angry in our White House. Other than the same thing I’m saying to myself: be quiet and listen. Take the rage and anger in and let it crack our assumptions that we understand. Just be quiet.
And for god’s sake, if you are missing a lot of pigment in your skin for some reason, be especially quiet. Don’t try to explain. “White-splaining” is salt in the wounds. Quiet.
Ideally, turn off the TV with pictures from somewhere else. You can assume that nearby there are people with similar witness. In little Winston-Salem both of our senior law enforcement officers are Black and with vibrant lives of faith. I’m listening to them. And John Lewis, of course. And, a new one for me, Killer Mike. Any number of Black mayors; struck by Mayor Bottoms of Atlanta and Bowser of DC. Bishop Michael Currie.
Most of the work of our FaithHealth Division is woven into the fabric of the neighborhoods where the pain is felt predictably; where people know people dead of COVID-19 but still go to work. I’m listening to my own people. I am not inclined to talk.
I was raised in a gentle suburban Methodist family where nobody cried at the death of Dr. King. We couldn’t make sense out of why people in Baltimore responded with flames. We thought he should have slowed down with his movement to change things everyone knew had to be changed…at some point.
A half century ago. Shhh. Listen. Take it in.