Brian Fry: Race — moving toward reconciliation
In his Other Voices column on Jan. 12, Daryl Grigsby throws quite a challenge, even an indictment, towards a majority of the white population for its support and tolerance for the racism and violence fueled by President Trump and his most radical base.
Even more pointedly, the reality that the large majority of persons claiming Christian identity firmly lined up behind the president’s message and behavior is sobering.
I, as a white “progressive” Christian, knew this (sort of), but it still evokes little stirrings of defensiveness in me. I took a little too much comfort feeling like I am among the “good and conscientious” white Christians he acknowledges more than once in his commentary.
I bet soon, or even before my letter may be published, people will be writing in to protest how Mr. Grigsby is guilt-tripping white people. I hope more of us instead will take his challenge as responsibility-provoking. Guilt focuses on the past and inspires distancing with various excuses like “I didn¹t know“ or ”I never owned slaves“ or ”they bring it on themselves“ or many others we have heard before.
Responsibility (the meaning is enhanced by using two words: response and ability) focuses on the present and future. I must take the time to learn more thoroughly, accurately, and inclusively the events of the past, which I can’t now change. Then it’s time to boldly put positive energy toward making a fairer, kinder, more honest representation of my faith values as a Christian as well as the values I learned as a child about what my country stands for. The response I hope for in myself is also what I hope for collectively from churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, other faith fellowships, as well as secular civic institutions.
Will I be embarrassed to be considered a Christian or a patriot, remaining silent, or will I make both identities a source of inspiration for justice and, ultimately, reconciliation?
Brian Fry lives in Grass Valley.
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