Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Easter Tuesday #2

A second entry for today as Holy Week did not leave a lot of time for writing blog entries. I did not want Senator Obama’s speech on race to go without comment. It seems to me tht he did a pretty good job of keeping faith with his church and naming some of the problems of black anger, while at the same time letting his white community of support know that he ‘gets’ their issues as well. He seems to understand that sometimes movements outstrip their leadership who are left with nothing terribly new to say. Good for him. But then there is the call for a ‘national conversation about race’. Who could be against that? I imagine there will be lots of conferences and references to this speech for a while. What interests me however is effective change and that means first not assuming that the symptoms and effects of modern racism (or any other prejudicial ‘ism’ for that matter) is that same for the person or group with power and the person or group without power. The symptoms and their meanings cannot and should not be easily equated or considered ‘opposite and equal’. There is a good paper on this (originally given, I believe, for the Episcopal House of Bishops) by Valerie Batts of VISIONS-Inc. You can read it here. Change won’t come from insight alone, but from pain or something like it that creates urgency in the hearts and minds of those of us who appear to benefit from all domination systems: black middle class with Philippine servants, whites with Mexicans without benefits caring for our lawns, engagement rings made of blood diamonds and so on. I’d be happy to offer some scholarship to anyone in our parish who would like to take a four day VISIONS workshop. See for more information.

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