Why still talk about trauma and justice?
As a white man I am not free of trauma, but there are areas of trauma where I have choices. I can remove myself. To choose to remain in the issue is a luxury I have as a white man.
Two areas in particular come to mind: race and gender.
I am ordained in a wonderful tradition of the Church but it has its struggles. The luxury of being men in control has afforded the marginalization of women in ministry for centuries. Do that long enough, it turns out, you get to call that the “tradition of the Church” and make the argument that this is how God ordained it all along.
As a man, I can easily step away from that argument and not be involved… because I, as a man, can feel a call to ministry and not find ANY obstacles to ordination based on my gender. Yet, I have made another choice.
When it comes to race I again have double privilege: white and male. If I can’t “solve” racism in a six week Bible study, I can retreat to my comfort and simply not engage.
To be Black in our culture is not the same. To be a woman in many church denominations is not the same.
To think that an ordaining body of a Church can quickly disqualify someone because they show up and happen to be a woman without any other questions is offensive to me. And, as a man, I have to choose to say that. I can choose to not say it. It makes my life easier, to be honest.
To think that someone in authority, like law enforcement, can roll up on a situation and see a Black body and become instantly guarded is offensive to me. For that to happen in a the mind of a trained professional is the problem. But no. To law enforcement, the Black body is the problem. Law enforcement can choose to train their employees better. They can insist on better behavior. But the easier path is to be on alert when they see a Black or brown body.
Why still talk about race? Because we still act on race. We still think in terms of race, even if we don’t mean it.
So, I choose to be uncomfortable. But that is my luxury. I get to choose. My Black friends and my female colleagues in ministry don’t have that luxury.
These things ought not to be.