Truth and Reconciliation

Hearing Stuart Stevens confess his mistake in believing the Republican Party was about governance and prosperity rather than about its true north, racism, reminded me of Bishop Desmond Tutu’s seemingly quixotic effort to reconcile the two sides in the battle against apartheid. Tutu was successful.
As I hear Americans talk about reconciliation after Trump, it was difficult for me to remember the first word of the slogan, Truth. That was because no one was talking about telling the truth.
As we read books like White Fragility and It Was All a Lie, we see how most White Americans are unable or unwilling to face the truth of their racism. In reading reviews of Wilkerson’s (The Warmth of Other Suns) new book, Caste, the negative reactions revolved around the rejection that White people are racist. Even people who had not read the book felt obliged to criticize it on that basis. Wilkerson broke the first rule of talking to White folk: Keep Them Comfortable.
Until White people can tell the truth….. oh, and the same goes for Black people and other ethnic groups in this country, we’ll get about as far as Starbucks good intentions. We all harbor a vision of other people that is at odds with the oft-heard declaration, “I don’t see color,” usually followed by, “Hand me that green towel.”
I have tried to model this on my blog, making it clear that 56 years of being married into a Black family no more absolves me of essentially racist reactions, feelings, even notions that haunt me from my rather racially benign upbringing than it absolves Trump supporters of knowingly voting for a racist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *