Why I’ve been pondering racial issues lately
On Tuesday of this week I posted the first of at least three entries in a series subtitled, “thoughts on racial issues”. So far I’ve had nothing but good feedback and comments from people both here on PoG and in physical reality. But it occurred to me that some people might want to know why this issue has been popping up in my head so much lately. In fact, people who have known me for any significant length of time might recall any number of statements that I’ve made over the years about how I wish we (America) could just move past the issue of race altogether and truly become a post-racial society. Growing up where and when I did (suburbs south of Atlanta, GA, that were rapidly shifting demographics from mostly white to mostly black in the mid-late 90s and early 2000s), I knew some people (both white and black) who were openly racist towards others, but these people were a small minority. By and large, white and black coexisted, and even got along. There was just nothing out of the ordinary at all about it. It was normal to us.
So it might seem out of character that I would be pondering issues that I grew up believing I was beyond. If you’ve read PoG for awhile, you may remember a post I published back in March called The Day My Self-Image Shattered. If not, take a minute or two to read through it. In all honesty, the biggest part of mine and Michelle’s discomfort and fear that night was about being in an unfamiliar place by ourselves and being approached by a total stranger on a dark and lonely street at night. We would have had similar reactions had it been a white man or a woman. But I can’t deny that, at least for my part, race did play an issue. That’s why I titled that post The Day My Self-Image Shattered. As I reflected on the incident in the following weeks, I was forced to recognize and admit that, on some deep level, probably near (if not inside) my sub-conscious, I held some of the views that I had arrogantly judged others for displaying outwardly for most of my life.
That night in Columbia was a catalyst for a long train of thought that is still ongoing. So much information and so many ideas have been piling up in my head that I felt like I had to write them down somewhere. And I figured that PoG was probably the best, probably not the safest, avenue to release those thoughts. I chose PoG over my own personal journal so that it could become more of a discussion, in addition to catharsis for me, and spur others on to consider some of the same deep-seated and underlying beliefs and attitudes that might be far below the surface.
So, my hope and prayer for this series on racial issues is that it will be thought-provoking, convicting when necessary, but ultimately healing and bridge-building. I encourage discussion, provided it remains honest and considerate dialogue.