PINK

There is this side street near my house. It cuts off from a busy, well travelled street near our home. But this side street, it's almost hidden by huge overhanging trees.

If you don't know it's there, you would never know it is there...

The street cuts off to the side suddenly, at this angle that is perfect for zooming down without missing a beat. Its not a hard right turn, but a small veer to the right that you can even pick up a little speed on. Its a quiet street, it cuts behind some stores and almost no one is ever on it. Almost immediately after you turn down it, there is a bump in the road and if you are going fast enough...lol, you can catch some air. If I'm driving our red car, not our soccer mom minivan, and if MJ isn't in the car (RARE) then I fly down this road. It's kind of exhilarating.

So I had a friend in the car with me one day. And we were going down the main road and suddenly I made the slight turn and picked up speed without missing a beat in our conversation. As the car hit the smooth bump, got a little air and kept going down this street I had no visible reaction and actually was sipping my drink. My friend just acted as if we had rode the upside down looping rollercoaster at Great America.
I was like, "Chill its a little bump in the road, we good."
I had travelled this road countless times, I was used to it. It wasn't abrupt, or shocking for me. I knew the turns of the road and the speed and how the stop sign appeared suddenly as if from nowhere at the end of it before it spilled onto another busy street going the opposite direction from where we started.
This was familiar territory for me in a car that I have driven for years and know inside and out.

That's kind of like Life here. Or my blog. Or some conversations that I have here in new contexts.

Talking about issues of white culture, the intricacies of it, intersections of race and class, how to view our country's history as white people, the fragility of white people in discussing history and race and class, I don't know BEING WHITE IN AMERICA AT THIS TIME IN HISTORY. whew. All of that.

Its like that road. I've been driving it for awhile now. I know the bumps and holes and how it curves. One time there was a fox on it, that was unexpected, but all fine. One time, a huge fire truck was chilling there. Things happen, but I know that sociologically examined road. Its familiar.

Some of you, perhaps newer friends or general acquaintances that read my blog now, are like my friend in the car.
Like, WHOA!
 Omgosh that was unexpected!
You are going too fast!
Do you know what you are doing?
Am I safe?
This is scary.

Like, I kinda get that. Perhaps you are unprepared. Maybe you never thought about these things, or they bother you to contemplate. Maybe you are realizing for the first time you are white and that is an actual culture. (Its hard to realize you and your friends and families preferences and values are a culture when you are always around people that share those same preferences and values. You think its just normal life. But it's not.)
Perhaps you don't understand the concept of white fragility, and how other people groups all know about this and are affected by this.
Maybe you don't have friends that talk about these things.
There can be defensiveness and shame in the dawning of a new awareness. But, my friends, shame is a bully and grace is a shield.

And, no you aren't safe. Like, new thoughts and ideas are so good for you. To interact with different cultures and people and examine other viewpoints isn't comfortable but I think its imperative to be a compassionate, intelligent and productive human in today's society. Not to even mention faith or Jesus, and how He calls us to be reconciled to others across race and class lines but  I mean, what the hell is safety anyway? (I'm writing a series on the misnomer and false assessment of safety, let's not pause here to unpack this. Go read Safety: Part 1 and then wait a few more months for me to edit Safety:Part 2 so its appropriate for sensitive readership)

Since moving here, my blog has changed. (My friend from Chicago told me that my blog is for white people now. Im not sure who she thought was my target audience before. Its a joke, kinda)

Winston Salem has worn a few rough edges off my brisk Chicago heart. My friend group is significantly less melanated thus far (that means I mostly have white friends here for now).
My slang usage has decreased in everyday conversation, my sassy-ness might have slightly. I definitely don't talk as loudly or quickly.
But this is cool because Im getting to experience more of white culture at this time in my life. Im learning things from friends, and Im bringing new conversations to the table also.
I bought a pair of Toms the other day (huge sale!!) and I like farms and stuff. I know what chacos are, and I sing hymns in church with words like Thee and Thoust or something. Sometimes there aren't drums at church and I still awkwardly notice but Im not like HORRIFIED at the lack of rhythm representation. Its good to grow.

But, while Im on this joyride down a side road in a trusted, faithful car Ive had for years...I have disrupted a few of you.
Some of you have told me. Publicly.
Some privately.
And I bet others are holding that close to them.

And Im here for all that conversation in whatever open forum or quiet room you want to have that in. I wouldn't be standing up and saying (or writing) all this if I was not. So feel free to respectfully but passionately (and hopefully humbly and peacefully) approach me about any of this.

But even if you mad, Im down.
(Translation into the Kings English for my peachy peach brothers and sisters: Even If you are unhappy with the aforementioned discourse here on my internet blogging site or any social media platform and are unable to properly compose yourself, I would still welcome your interaction and overlook your emotional and potentially offensive diatribes.)
Im funny.

Change happens in relationship. Let's have one. We can love each other and disagree.

And I know a heck of a lot of people read this and agree with me, or even think what Im saying isn't controversial and Im here for your conversation also. But if you see someone disagreeing with me publicly, don't come hard for them. Learning to disagree and discuss gracefully is something we should all strive for. Learning to disagree and discuss gracefully while your counterpart chooses to engage otherwise is a gift of the Spirit. Leave me to it and inbox me your love and support. Ive deleted far more comments from people who agree with me, then I have ever had to delete or ask the author to edit from people who disagree with me.

And one final conversation I've been ruminating on. Turning around in my mind. Taking seriously but also smiling at.
A friend here recently said that she wondered if I knew I was in fact, White? Like, she asked, the way I talk makes her wonder, 'Do I identify as white?"She said her and her husband were both wondering. LOL. But this was a real conversation. And I was like hmmmmmmm, what am I doing wrong here? Which in itself is one reason why its been several minutes since I wrote an entry.

Yes I know Im white. No, Im not sad Im white. This is who God made me to be. Im sure. Im not desiring to be anyone other than me.
The very fact that I write and constantly discuss WHITE culture and the propensities inherent in this culture is only possible because I AM WHITE. Why would I write about the misgivings and failings of another culture? You can (or maybe I should say SHOULD) only critique your own. I also enjoy and relish in the unique oddities and abundant awkwardness and kindness of white culture as well. But I feel like enough people are triumphing the glory of white culture and it has an over representation in everyday life so we don't need to cover that. Do we? I don't need to repeatedly affirm how God's glory is on display in white culture before I discuss the brokenness of man present in whiteness in America because it doesn't seem like anyone is doubting the glory part.

I often highlight things I took part in or enjoyed living in a mostly African American community for many years in Chicago, but I was still an outsider witnessing it. Having lived and enjoyed richer diversity of culture (not only African American) on a deeper immersive level makes homogeneity a bit shocking, and sad, to me. And no one self secludes in communal fashion like my fellow white brethren, to their own detriment. And I feel a greater responsibility to seek truth to power having lived with those at the other end of the power spectrum in our country.

And I like Winston.  We have had a few, short, and difficult years here in our new home but joy comes in the morning y'all, and I see the sun on the horizon so we hope to spread our wings a bit more here in the coming years. God is faithful.

By the way, MJ said Murray is black, Daddy is Brown, Mommy is pink and He is Blue.

Comments

  1. I really appreciate your openness and honesty. I have also gotten the "You know you're white right?" and questions like that. Funny how it always comes from other white people.

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