We are endlessly being misdirected in search of the crude “hate crime.” After centuries of racial oppression and violence, our society eventually became uncomfortable with the overtness of the racism of the past. Slavery is taken for granted as a horrific thing, something that couldn’t be assumed a few generations ago. For mainstream America, to be accused of being racist is to have been labeled something despicable. Few would willingly accept this charge upon themselves, defending themselves adamantly against such accusations. However, even worse than the racist label for those within the dominant culture, is for a person to be accused of a hate crime. Hate crimes have been created to isolate the most heinous of offenses that have been committed because of prejudice.
Over the summer I participated in a panel hosted by MennoNerds.com on Race and the Church. The video has been available on youtube for a while, but I figured I would repost it here for those that might be interested in the far ranging conversation that we had.
This temptation will always remain when we are willing to blindly benefit from and represent a system that is working well for us, without the concrete concern for others that are silenced or stigmatized by that very same system. In the name of making a difference, we can actually begin to help the system be sophisticated in its ability to point to its “change makers” (even though they are merely exceptions to the rule) as evidence of its commitment to anti-oppression.
Am I using my gifts and my body in a faithful manner, given my abilities? To be honest, one of the most encouraging things I had to hold on to was when I remembered the words of James Cone as he accounted for his own struggles back when he was in graduate school.