2008/09/21

A Few Questions on Race

I don't usually post political stuff on this blog. Lots of other people do, Fran is one of the best and most passionate. We all love Fran. There are others. Hat tip to all who've previously posted this. I nicked it from Fran but it's other places too.

I am going to post the following questions because they are important, because we are ignorant and lazy for failing to confront the latent racism in our society, all of us are lazy and guilty... except, of course, for the very few of you who aren't. And I am posting this because I am becoming increasingly aware of the very nice people in my neighborhood who are unaware -- blissfully and righteously unaware -- of their own racism, misogyny and homophobia. Yeah, they all go together.

Here are the questions:

  • What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
  • What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?
  • What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said "I do" to?
  • What if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?
  • What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?
  • What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?
  • What if Obama were a member of the "Keating 5"?
  • What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?
  • If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?
This is what racism does.

It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

We've got to stop pretending that all is well.


We are living in, and most of us benefit from, a racist, misogynist, and homophobic society. Awareness is a good first step. Of course, awareness will be difficult for white, straight, men and the women who benefit from their association with them.

I don't have a lot of answers for you. I'm an Anglican remember. My job is the questions. My responsibility extends only to myself. So, here are the questions I am going to ask myself this week:

1. How would my day have been different if my skin were a different color? If I didn't speak English? If I were not a citizen? If I had been hungry?

2. Who did I encounter today who was significantly different? Was I aware of their difference or did I try to pretend that they were like me?

3. In what ways did my race privilege me today? Am I willing to give that up?

4. How can I share privilege?

5. Am I willing to BE the other, or do I just like talking about it?

I think the examination of these questions, and our motives, is very dicey. We can't know our own hearts, they are so slippery and deceitful. Nor can we say what would have been. We just do the best we can. I hope that will be enough.

5 comments:

Barbi Click said...

We can indeed stop pretending that all is well. And we can begin to SHOUT it from the rooftops. The sky is truly falling...
Thank you Lindy for putting this is such spectacular perspective. You are anything but a blank slate! love to you and to Rowan

Diane said...

Amen, Lindy. Amen.

Lauralew said...

Tell it, Sister! Wow!

FranIAm said...

Wow - to see my name here and in this way... I am honored and humbled.

Race is so much more of a factor in this and I see it more and more each day...

How can this be?

You ask the questions that must be asked and we must all face the discomfort of asking them... and moving forward to some better place.

Lindy said...

I see it more and more everyday too Fran. I don't know if I was just unaware before or what...

Here is swampy south Texas people don't even try to hide their racism. I mean, they don't even try! Much different from Austin.