... racial righteousness...
what an intense and exhausting day and a half. and now what?

you say i'm not supposed to feel guilty, yet i feel so much anger coming towards me. you are proud that you are black or african-american or a woman of african descent, but i do not know how to finish the statement "i like being ___ because..." as i do not identify with my race or background. i am english and german, but that means nothing, i am here with no idea of what that means, no traditions or even sauerkraut every now and then. i am white, but what does that mean other than that i was born into privilege and wealth? i am grateful that my family has always had enough, and to be honest, much more than enough, but i don't know that i am proud of that. i am glad of where God put me, but i feel more of a responsibility that comes with that rather than a feeling of right and what i deserve. i am glad i am white because... i have money and power... but i am not. i am not glad or thankful, i do not feel "blessed" because i do not think money and power gained by using people instead of caring for them and oppressing others is a blessing from God, it is something my people have stolen. i cannot say with pride that i am able to be where i am because my parents fought and struggled and sacrificed to get past discrimination and oppression like you can. although i am not angry with God for making me white, i am not angry that i was born in the u.s. or that my family has enough money, i do not believe that these things make me better than anyone else or that they are things i ever deserved and i do not know that i am proud of them. how can i be proud of these things i have no control over? how can i say that because i was born in the u.s., i deserve to have the benefits i am given? i am not proud of my country that was able to become a super-power because of the genocide and displacement and oppression of those who originally were its inhabitants, the enslavement of a people we subsequently decided must then be inferior, and the unfair treatment and unequal pay to immigrants? how can i be proud, say, of the new car i have recently stolen, or even paid for with stolen money? how can i like the privilege and resources i have because i am white if i cannot be proud of them? and so i cannot identify with being white, or being german or english. although i know they are true of me, i have been told nothing of what they mean, no stories of family history, nothing to connect me with my ancestors or "my people." i don't know who my people are. and so i cannot answer your question. not because i am afraid of what you might think, not because i don't want to identify with "my people," but because i know nothing to identify with. i do want to know my history. i cannot answer your question because no one has ever told me how. so please don't make me struggle with these hard issues and ask this question of me without also telling me why i am beautiful, why i should like being me, why being white is a good thing. you say our differences are good, but i feel that what we say here is only that your differences are good, and mine are only the norm.

and so i am tired. and i am ashamed. and i am overwhelmed. and i do accept that these stories and these stereotypes and these beliefs of what is normative are real. but what do i do? how do i change those who do not want to be changed? how can i bring truth to those whom i love that believe they already know it all? i am so easily immobilized by this feeling of helplessness. so i guess the truth really is in relationship and in story and in knowing one another. in intentionality and in honesty and authenticity. in having the guts to go outside of my comfort zone and really know and become able to love someone that is not like me in a big way.

in love and in listening.
"the powerful find it difficult to listen. but listening is what must happen, somehow, on every frontier, for only if the powerful listen will the needs and rights of the vulnerable be respected."
...hugh brody, the other side of eden

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