when race is the elephant in the room

White people don't really like to talk about race, do we?

Some wax poetic about colorblindness and a "post-racial America," as if talking like that will make it so, but remaining oblivious to race is a luxury enjoyed only by those who've not been on the receiving end of racism.

White privilege is an invisible knapsack, conferring benefits to some that are denied to others.  We take for granted many of the privileges we enjoy that are conferred by race and not merit.

Some white people do notice: we see injustice and inequality, and our hearts are heavy, but we still are reluctant to talk about race.

Our silence does not go unnoticed.

Coming on the heels of the Invisible Children/KONY2012, a viral justice campaign which occupied a tremendous amount of conversation, especially among young white Christians, the lack of attention to Trayvon Martin's death was especially glaring.

{Several white bloggers did offer comments this week:  Jen HatmakerMomastery, Kristen with "required reading", and Natalie with this piece on race and faith.}

I don't know how we choose what to speak out about--or not.  For many, racial injustice is off our radar, especially if we only interact with white people.  Perhaps we prefer to keep hard stories at arms' length.

Sometimes, we are afraid.  We don't know what to say or how to say it, and don't want to step on toes.  We fear doing it wrong, so we don't say anything.

Talking about race is not easy.  Relinquishing privilege won't be, either.

We will get it wrong.  We may look foolish or ignorant, and it will certainly be uncomfortable--a small price to pay compared to the racial injustice suffered historically and presently in this country.

Learning is a process.  But we don't need to be experts or have answers in order to listen, reflect, demonstrate compassion, or amplify the voices of people of color.

It's a start.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...