I’ve been feeling down over the last couple of weeks and it hasn’t been just the spring cold that I can’t shake. The depression began on Maundy Thursday of Holy Week when a friend gave me a note that had been left on her windshield while she was grocery shopping. She has an Obama sticker on her car. The note was a vile, racist comment about the president. (I debated whether or not to include the note, but did not want to give the writer any press.)
I thought how ironic it was that the note would be left on Maundy Thursday, the day that the commemorates the arrest of Jesus as he journeyed to the cross. The cross has been compared to the lynching tree from which countless African-Americans have swung.
It wasn’t the presence of racism that bothered me. I know that racism is all around us. What bothered me was a realization of how silent our community is when it comes to race. Where is there a regular time and a place for interracial conversation? As near as I can tell, there is none. Churches, civic groups, government, nonprofits, business … silence.
The model for interracial conversation is within the Resurrection of Easter. Thomas Merton said, “So we are called not only to believe that Christ once rose from the dead thereby proving that He was God: We are called to experience the Resurrection in our lives by entering into this dynamic movement, by following Christ who lives in us. This life, this dynamism is expressed by the power of love and of encounter: Christ lives in us if we love one another. And our love for one another means involvement in one’s history.”
Entering into one another’s history. That is what interracial conversation is. My prayer is that someday the silence will be broken.
The writer lives in Pawleys Island.