I will never have to have the talk. As the parent of a white child, I will never have to sit my son down and explain in painful detail how he may be unjustly targeted by police and neighborhood watch-folk, how his community may view him as a threat before he ever speaks.
Sure, I will talk to my son about sex. Drugs. War. Unbridled capitalism. Everything I want him to resist in life. (Oh, fine: sex when he is old and betrothed. Fine.) My point is that I parent in the context of privilege.
The not guilty verdict recently issued by a jury in Sanford county Florida has made us talk. Not always in helpful ways. We shout. We blame. We speculate and shout more loudly. But talk we must. Unless we calm down and talk about race, we are doomed to witness more and more violence.
Talking about race, and all other aspects of human division, is sticky. We never come out clean. We cannot. We wish to speak as individuals, people whose minds have been freed to see all people as equal in worth. Yet we speak with histories and legacies behind us, whether we wish to or not. We feel stuck. We say the wrong thing. We are exposed.
And into this painful mess comes the good news: for freedom, Christ has set us free. We are one in faith, one baptism, one God. We were once estranged and dying; now we have been given the ministry of reconciliation.
Freedom. Oneness. Reconciliation. May our talking, in the church and out, be formed by these good gifts from God. It will be painful and sticky, but we must talk about race and privilege. We must interrogate the daily affect of oppression on our lives. We must remain grounded in the love of God which unites all people in love and will, one day, bring true peace.
Liv Larson Andrews believes in the sensus lusus, or playful spirit. Liturgy, worship and faithful practice are at their best when accompanied with a wink, she says.