In the past year, I have read more African American writers, theologians, and thinkers than I did in over 25 years of post-high school education. I find this education in history, social sciences, and Christian practice like a beacon of light and hope in a rather dark time of racial and political division in our country.
These times are not new or unprecedented in American history. There have been racist Presidents and Christian religious leaders throughout U.S. history. One might say that the nation was built by and for them. But perhaps a time is coming when awareness of antiblack bias and white privilege will provoke real and lasting change that will benefit all of us, and most of all those who have and continue to suffer under the oppressive nature of systemic racism.
Very few of my friends are black. A few colleagues are African American. I am realizing how isolating our racially segregated communities are. I have to intentionally seek out people of color to locate myself in their proximity, in order to have any kind of relationship whatsoever.
One of my new neighbors is an African American man married to a white woman. Their biracial children play with mine. I hope that my intellectual and spiritual journey will open racially diverse relationships for my kids that I never had. There is richness in the human community that we never experience when we live such racially isolated lives. I hope this changes, even as I hope for fuller equality and justice for people of color and marginalized peoples.
Christians are called to work together toward that for which we hope. May we do so wisely and compassionately.
To accompany the books I shared earlier this month, here are some links and documentaries for you to delve into over the holiday break and into the new year.