It's been difficult for me to figure out what to say about Charleston. While I've found myself sweeping through the range of emotions -- sadness, outrage, frustration, hopelessness, and then some more outrage -- despite being someone who has been on the receiving end of bitter racism, I've struggled. Strangely, the person I really wanted to talk about Charleston with is Laurel, but I haven't done that yet. She feels things so deeply and we're still, for example, working with her on issues related to the Boston Marathon bombings.
Clearly, I've still got conversational work to do in my home, but meanwhile I want to both start conversation via this platform and also encourage you to do the same, whether that's at home, at work, on the playground, in your community, or in your place of worship. I saw one headline last week that really stuck with me (I wish I could remember the source so I could properly attribute) -- that when murder occurs at the hand of a person of color, the assumption is that it's due to a terrorist mindset, but when murder occurs at the hand of a white person, the assumption is that it's due to mental illness. The bias is so palpably and painfully strong.
Our country is a diverse place. We can't go on like this. Even in the moments that feel hopeless, we can't give up, regress, or forget. Envision yourself and your family in the shoes of any one of the Charleston victims if that's what it takes to feel, think, act, discuss, or challenge assumptions. While racism is a huge problem that -- like many things -- does not have a quick fix, I've seen time and again how using your voice, taking a small action, or simply having a direct conversation can ignite change.
Today, for example, I'm seeing an uptick of conversation on Facebook about how many people are disappointed/frustrated that their churches have not addressed Charleston in their sermons. I do not attend church but this seems crazy to me. If you share this frustration, take 2 minutes to express your concern via a phone call or e-mail to your pastor.
Meanwhile, I wanted to direct you to some other thought pieces. I am blessed to have some very talented writer friends who have posted about Charleston. I urge you to read and share their work:
- From Luvvie: About Charleston, Forgiveness, and Black Pain
- From Karen: Say Something
- From Kelly: Let's Get to the Work of Anti Racism
And this is an older post, but obviously relevant: my friend Kristen shares resources for talking to kids about race and racism.
And Jon Stewart's segment on Charleston is spot on:
Let's keep talking, friends. We are all human. We are all relevant. We need to do better for ourselves and for our kids.
Image credit: Pixabay