As I was perusing Facebook this morning I came across a video that left me completely dispirited.
Before continuing I must first lay my cards on the table. I am a white male college student living in a wealthy Seattle neighborhood, and to the discredit of the societal forces that shape our culture, that affords me particular unearned privileges. Race and gender are difficult conversations to have, and absolutely by no means have I arrived at a full understanding (I even had some fears about writing this), but they are conversations that must continue to happen. As an individual I have a lot of growing to do, and as a society we do as well, in our ability to eradicate hatred and injustice in all its forms. I hope that this situation allows us to understand where we are as a society, and shows us how much we still need to grow into God’s love and peace.
Here is the video:
The woman’s actions and speech left me feeling great sorrow, for the man in the car and for her and her children as well. I understand racism as a form of hate, hate that demonizes an individual based on ignorant stereotypes and caricatures of their race or ethnicity. This is a problem that is still alive and well, as the man in the video states. No human should be subjected to this hate. However, it also brings me sorrow to see this type of harmful perspective coming from inside this woman. The behavior I see from her in the brief video diminishes and eats away at the beautiful and vibrant personality she was given by God to share with the world. I do not pretend to know this woman’s story or how this very short interaction fits into the broader context of her life, but I know that even an isolated uncommon slip in the way we interact with someone can have significant effects on them. I also have a great concern for the children and how this experience may influence them during these highly formational years of their life. I’m convinced discrimination and unlove are things that are learned, and it can be very challenging to unlearn them. I think this unlearning and relearning is only fully possible by God’s grace as seen in the Messiah Jesus, that’s part of why Jesus’ message is good news. The woman responded after the man uploaded the video. The authenticity of this apology is not fully convincing to me, but I think it’s a move in the right direction. The man also speaks about the experience afterwards.
I’ve heard some critiques about the man not immediately leaving, or about uploading the video for the whole world to see. While I do have tangled feelings about nationally shaming a person, I think showing America that we really are not beyond racism is important. This is obviously an apparent and extreme example, but I think it’s a starting place for conversations that can examine the less noticeable forms of racial unlove, and hopefully all forms of unlove.
I would appreciate hearing the thoughts and feeling of friends on this.