Thursday, November 10, 2016

my place.

I hugged the covers under my chin on Wednesday morning, trying to decide whether I should read my phone or my husband's face for the answer I dreaded. I cried in the shower, wishing I didn't need to face children so soon after the news. My little ones pulled back the curtain and demanded me before I was ready for them. But such is life. Such was everything about yesterday as life ticked on.

I am sad and angry for all the reasons I thought I would be, but also because President-Elect Donald Trump is making me engage my white fragility from a completely different angle. 

You see, I am a straight, white, able-bodied, non-military, English-speaking, documented, Christian person with health insurance made available through my spouse's employment. I am done renting my uterus to unborn children, so the government will leave it alone. I am a tired 35 year-old mother of three, who Trump would consider "a 4 tops", so I don't have to worry about him groping me anytime soon. 

All this to say, I woke up on Wednesday with a vast majority of the same power I had on Tuesday. I get to feel all the things, but I don't get to be shocked or distraught or imploding in the face of people who are more personally affected by this because of their 
race
religion
loved ones
language
immigration status
sexual orientation
neighborhood
income
insurance
active military duty
or government assistance. 

Wednesday demanded that I get up and face the day: not only my children and my parishioners, but also the power I will continue to hold in this new administration. I will not deny it, putting even more distance between me and Trump supporters. For, if I am called to engage my white privilege for the sake of changing systems that oppress, I must begin in the most uncomfortable place each time. I must begin in discernment of theologies that make me responsible for my whiteness and the power that still - unfortunately - grants me.

In the wise words of Ruby Sales
I want a theology that begins to deepen people’s understanding about their capacity to live fully human lives and to touch the goodness inside of them rather than call upon the part of themselves that’s not relational. Because there’s nothing wrong with being European American. That’s not the problem. It’s how you actualize that history and how you actualize that reality. It’s almost like white people don’t believe that other white people are worthy of being redeemed. And I don’t quite understand that. It must be more sexy to deal with black folk than it is to deal with white folk if you’re a white person. So as a black person, I want a theology that gives hope and meaning to people who are struggling to have meaning in a world where they no longer are as essential to whiteness as they once were.
My urge yesterday was to run to those more affected than me, to express my shame and shock so that I could keep hiding out in the corners of my white fragility. But instead, I promise to use my power to do the work required of my sad, but oh-so-privileged ass. 
Friends, Beloved: You will not catch me crying at you, projecting my shock at your open wounds. And you will not hear my empty threats about moving to Canada, because that's a flippant micro-aggression. 
My first fear on Wednesday was that my place is with women set back in time, but the day proved my place is right here in 2016. This moment demands I continue to examine and confess my own whiteness, but with new purpose and urgency. 

My place is in the uncomfortable corners of my own cultural identity where hate and fear divide. My place is in and through the body of Christ, where I will hold space and move for those more weary and vulnerable than I am.  

Today I recognize I've got plenty of whiteness to spare and it's time to use it for good.  

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