It’s Black History Month and I can’t help but wonder how many times I can write about race before there’s a backlash and people in KO begin to roll their eyes and say, “Here she goes again”. To be honest, as your Conference Minister and one of a few persons of color in our KO Conference, I worry about that. It’s a bind I find myself in; but I don’t know how to be faithful in this role and to who I am and not write about race. But I do worry about “backlash”; we know how detrimental that can be as it just results in making conversations more difficult. I suspect that our country is experiencing a great deal of backlash these days.
I don’t name this for any of us to feel badly, but because we are on this journey together and I value our ability to name our reality with each other. My hope is that if I name what some might feel they could never really say; that it is seen as an invitation for conversation; not a judgement. It’s an opportunity to hear each other about why I feel compelled to write as often as I do about race and to hear why it feels like it’s too much to those who are weary of reading about it. Differences are to be expected; they are only problematic when we aren’t able to talk about them with each other especially as communities of faith.
So, it IS Black History Month. And the need to continue to lift up the stories of the gifts of African Americans in the founding and development of this country is essential. It’s essential not only for African Americans, especially children, but for all of us to know the breath of the persons who have contributed to building the country as we know it; gifts and stories that have not been told, valued or celebrated. Black History Month is a way to recognize and address this reality; but it falls short if it’s a one-shot deal that we do in February and forget about it the rest of the year. I know it would be great for me to just say; “Yeah, celebrate Black History Month” and that’s all I said; but we all know that it’s much more complicated than that. The need to have a Black History Month at all reminds us once again of the pain of the past and the continuing challenge and sin of racism that plagues our country. So yes, please celebrate Black History Month as this Google Ad does:
But in doing so remember as this accompanying article reminds us that for many celebrating Black History Month; Is Complicated.