You know, I keep hearing about how now is the time to stand up and be heard. I keep reading guilt-inducing posts on Facebook written to clergy saying that if you’re not talking about Charlottesville from the pulpit, you’re not doing your job. But you know what? Here’s how I feel right now: What is the point? If I said something about how racism and white supremacy are evil and sinful (which yes, I certainly believe), who would hear it? If I spoke about how Black Lives Matter is not a hate group, and if I said that making any kind of comparison between Black Lives Matter and neo-nazi morons is completely erroneous, who would listen? If I railed against the president, who is clearly (to me) sending messages of aid and comfort to the forces of white supremacy, what good would it do?
Here’s what I believe would happen:
- Those who already believe like I do would hear a word of affirmation. I’d get an “attaboy” from them.
- Those who do not believe like I do would see me as “one of them.” A social justice warrior. Or a libtard. Or someone who watches too much “fake news.” Or whatever. And they would ignore everything I say.
See, I can tell you categorically that there is nothing you can say that would change my mind on race. Nothing you can say or do will make me believe that the “white race” is suffering in America. Nothing you can say will make me stop believing in the reality of white privilege (and male privilege and straight privilege and cisgender privilege, for that matter). Nothing you can say will make me start believing that people of color are in any way inferior. Nothing. So where would I get the arrogance to believe that I could change anyone else’s mind? What magical power do I have that can change someone’s heart? I believe that I simply cannot communicate with someone who honestly believes that garbage. They would simply not hear my words, not the way I intended them. And quite probably: I would not hear theirs either.
Honestly, what conversation have you had that has changed your mind about issues this heavy? Has a Facebook comment flame war really opened someone’s heart? Did you ever walk out of a worship service and say, “Hmm, the preacher really had some points. I’m going to completely change my whole viewpoint on the world. I’ve been wrong all these years.” No. If change ever happens to someone, it’s not from a conversation. Certainly not from a conversation with me.
I am not recommending this for anyone else. I am not trying to encourage others to be quiet about this. If you have the guts and the energy to stand up and proclaim this, God bless you. I just honestly believe it’s useless. And I personally don’t have the energy to do it. I just don’t.
And I’m not trying to be a “centrist,” and say, “well, both sides just need to learn to live together and love one another.” No. One side is just plain wrong here. (The United States did some nasty things during WWII, but that doesn’t mean we were the moral equivalent of the Third Reich, or that we shouldn’t have fought Hitler.) I just don’t see what good it does to say that. This is America, unfortunately. Our country is filled with racism, misogyny, homophobia, and all sorts of assorted garbage. It always has been, and it probably always will be.
So why am I even writing this here? I don’t know. Maybe I’m hoping it’s cathartic. Maybe it’s my depression talking. Maybe I’m reaching out for some hope, for some assurance that it is worth it to put myself out there. But in my experience with people, it really just seems useless and meaningless. Feel free to comment, or not, or unfriend me, or whatever. Right now I just don’t care.