Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What Your Thanksgiving Dinner Has to do with Ferguson

Over the past couple of nights I have been glued to the television watching the events unfold in Ferguson, Missouri. 

I have been paralyzed by the events that have unfolded. 

I hurt for the family of Michael Brown.
I know Officer Wilson's life will never be the same again. 
I sympathize with the business owners who must rebuild their destroyed businesses in Ferguson.
I mourn for the African-American community that feels let down by a system of law in a country that has repeatedly treated them as less than human for so many decades of our shared history.

But I am most upset at the ensuing conversations on social media from people I am close to. 

I don't have answers to the questions. I am paralyzed to write constructive thoughts. I want to learn to speak constructive words rather than destructive emotional words that cause damage.

So, what can we do? What can I do? What can you do?

Here's my best suggestion of a 1st step...

On Thanksgiving, many of us will find ourselves around tables with family and friends. Those tables will include conversations about current events. Ferguson will be a topic of conversation at many of our tables.

When someone at your Thanksgiving table makes a racist comment feeling as if they are safe in your presence to share what often goes unshared in diverse company, speak up and challenge the comment.

The comments will happen at more tables than not. It happens all too often. And too often I have been silent. And I have been wrong.

Because let's be honest. Some of the most ungodly things Christians say happen around tables where people feel safe to say the most ungodly things without fear of being challenged.

Challenge lovingly. Challenge in a way that doesn't shut down dialogue. Challenge in a way that forces your loved one to understand that you refuse to be an accomplice to racism. 

Don't excuse it. Don't condone it through your silence. 

That's it. 

It won't change the world. But it's a 1st step worth considering.

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