Why do we need to talk about race?

Rough Reflections

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Photo Cred: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters

When the official summer time comes around, my mind becomes restless and weary. My mind becomes restless because I fear the rise of news cycle about new shooting incidents, new murders, new crazy hazing trends, and new race riots. This triggers us to take our “two-cents” on social media, allowing ourselves to be caught into this vicious cycle of judgement and anger. We can only find brief rest when the Mother Nature keeps us indoors with cold and wet weather.

A year ago, I joined a group of people who have been working in the background, trying to design a year-long conversation about race. This year, through the many talents of my colleagues, we are starting this discussion, a tense and necessary discussion.

Many people will ask, “why do we need to talk about this?” Many people will say, “we don’t need to talk about it.” Many people will conclude, “we know how to solve this.”

All I can say is that we need to have conversations about race and diversity because we are missing something. We need to have these conversations not because we are right and they are wrong. We need to have these conversations not because we are wrong and they are right. We need to have these conversations because we are missing something.

We are missing something when this issue will not go away. We are missing something when we are shouting at each other. We are missing something when we assume the worst in “others”.

And, when we are missing something, we need to have a conversation. We need to make room to humbly listen to one another.

One of my wise church members shared with me his reflection of raising a teenager daughter. One day, he realized that they were just yelling at each other. Things were going no where. Things were going no where for months. So on that day, he said to her, “we need to figure this out. We are going no where by just yelling at each other. Here, you go to your room and write down what you think I am missing. Not what you want me to do, but what I am missing. And, write down what you are hearing from me when I talk to you. And, I will go to my room and write about the same things.”

This wasn’t the “silver bullet” to figure out everything, but the act of honestly listening to each other was the critical step in healing their relationship. They were vulnerable, taking time to tell each other what they heard. They were honest, telling each other in love what they were missing.

Similarly, these race conversations won’t be the “silver bullet” in the overall discussion of race and diversity. Instead, I hope that these conversations will be a step towards healing, a step towards a beloved community.

So, why do we need to talk about race?

Because I am tired of the news cycle.

Because I am tired of seeing shootings.

Because I am tired of fearing the unknown.

Because I am tired of fearing the other.

Because I am tired of hearing the pain.

Because I am tired of worried families.

Because I am tired of broken families.

Because I am tired of avoiding the other.

Because I am tired of judging out of anger.

Because I am tired of assuming the worst in others.

Because I am tired of hating.

Because I am tired of yelling.

Because, I am tired of missing something…

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