On Race Talks and the Possibility of Silence and Self-Care
The connection between race and human suffering is undeniably an American experience, which divides and unites individuals and (racial) groups in our contemporary society. Race talks with no clear objectives toward forgiveness, restoration, reconciliation, and transformative justice will not heal our deep racial wound and suffering in this country. As a people, we need to cultivate constructive conversations about our racial problems that are purposeful and cathartic.
In our contemporary society, constant unstrategic conversations about racial injustice can be overwhelming and could potentially lead to enmity, individual oppression, and other health problems. Sometimes, it is important to just observe the order of things and stay silence for a little while for the sake of self-care. Evidently, we are consumed with unhelpful race talks in this country; frankly, I’m tired because the solution to our racial problems and the crisis of race in America seems to be very far and remote from us.
Nonetheless, silence is not equated with racial blindness, nor does it mean the intentional ignorance of racial matters and unfairness that affect us individually and collectively, both directly and indirectly. My point here is not to make an excuse to those individuals who have always been silent and colorblind on matters pertaining to racial injustice and discrimination. In fact, if you have been a passive observer about these matters, maybe now it is the time to explore the connection between love and justice, and human dignity and hospitality, as these issues may pertain not only to race but other equally important areas and concerns in our lives. Maybe, you should become an active agent of racial healing in your neighborhood, community, city, workplace, church, etc.
Individuals who are intentional about meaningful conversations about race matters should first take good care of themselves–at the spiritual, mental, and psychological level. Constructive dialogues about race is not/ should never be about winning an argument by proving that person is a racist or that particular individual is wrong about interpreting our racial history. Race dialogues should aim toward collective healing and unity.
Perhaps, toward the process of focussing on self care and self rehabilitation, the most convenient action to take about the pain and hurt of race in our nation is to grant yourself the opportunity to withdraw from race talks and to muster up the courage to be silent, even temporarily.
As you’re waiting patiently for a brighter day and actively working toward a beloved community, do the following without being weary: (1) Pray incessantly for forgiveness, healing, and unity, (2) listen carefully to individuals and families who are hurting and suffering, (3) continue in the path of justice and love, (4) show hospitality to the stranger, and (5) practice small acts of compassion and kindness toward the poor, the widow, the orphan, the disinherited, and toward the most disadvantaged individuals and families in your community, neighborhood, and city.