~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Why We Can’t Wait
It is American to group, to lump together, to form insider and outsider groups. It is essential for the machinery of capitalism to function properly. Our ongoing arguments keep its gears oiled.
While fiercely declaring our independence and defending our individualism, we live in bulk. We take on more meanings than we understand, can handle or digest. We are not using all of the words that we take home with us. But, we pick them up and take them on just in case– because you never know when we might fit this stereotype or need to use this prejudice.
The idea that we have to buy into belonging and membership is the goal. The social invention of race has always been a matter of economic arrangement, a lie that was good for business. It maintains the goal of hierarchy through prejudicial ascent. The products have changed but the arrangement is the same. But the lie that we need race in order to live and exist in community needs to be discontinued.
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is still right. Our unity is not made possible in the belief that we are all the same. The hope of the race-less gospel is not homogeneity or the denial of difference, the banishment of reality for some nonexistent “La- La Land.” In order to get on the same page does not mean that we are saying the same thing but that we understand and can appreciate the other person’s perspective without attempting to change their mind or reduce the importance of their experience.
Instead, the aim of this ministry of reconciliation is to accept our differences, to seat persons for fellowship no matter what of our cultures we bring to the table. And it also means that we leave our low expectations, our poor and unfounded assumptions at home. There is simply no room for them. It’s tight enough already without cramming in things for which there is no space or purpose.
And I’m not scooting over.