It’s a weird luxury being able to look white in America. With the right hair cut and clothes I’ve felt like I could walk through any suburban neighborhood in America and get waved hi to. And I have felt ostracized at times for wearing certain clothes and being able to tan. I have also been lectured for not speaking Spanish in certain neighborhoods. The pressure to conform to certain ideals is real.
I have lived in a variety of American cultural contexts so I count my unique ability to look Mexican or white a blessing.
With that said, I am presently watching on the news as Ferguson, MO riots and burns, primarily over racial tensions.
I want to empathize with both the black and white American experience. To me there is a huge gulf between those two groups in our current American context. One side senses a lack of truth in American society and the other senses a lack of justice for America. Both are great ideals and visions to have for America; but those are affective ideals not effective ideals and this difference is crucial.
Let me put down my theology and sense of Christ for a minute to speak to the cold harsh realities of the American world and modern context as it relates to Ferguson.
Those groups who do best in America pray first, then get educated, then buy lawyers, lots of them, then they buy the politicians. That’s how you really change modern America.
Rioting and celebrities and politicians will do nothing for a cause but get you a lots of re-tweets on Twitter. But shrewd ethics and lawyers will rock American society to the core.
People who are successful in America and benefit from society the most prioritize effectiveness over affectiveness. No one cares how you feel. And even if they did, empathy will not change the dominant rules we are governed by.
If people really wanted to see change in Ferguson they would’ve skipped the hash-tags and called the lawyers.
It’s too late for Ferguson but it’s not too late for those willing to come together and be effective.