In college, I attended a Christian Men’s rally where two speakers, one white, one black, addressed racial reconciliation. Longtime friends, they had spent years working through these issues together.
When the white speaker addressed the white men present specifically, he exhorted us to pursue relationships with people different from ourselves, to acknowledge the privilege we are born into and not to hoard that privilege but use it for the good of all.
Then the black speaker exhorted the black men to not use racial oppression as an excuse to avoid responsibility for the example they set for their community.
The white men sitting in front of us seemed defensive and dismissive of the white speaker, but cheered loudly when the black speaker addressed the black audience.
I’ve been thinking about that rally while reading the responses to my Facebook posts during our latest supposed national conversation about race. I’ve noted who has more to say about the loss of black lives and who has more to say about violent protests and it tells me we have a lot to overcome if this conversation is going anywhere.