Today is Halloween though it may not feel like it. With the number of Coronavirus infections reaching its highest daily toll this week and the rate of infections on the rise in 47 states, it doesn’t just feel scary. It is. No ghouls or goblins but we wear masks because it’s scary outside. We don’t know where the virus is or who has it.
We keep our mouths covered while most Americans have their eyes on the polls and the prize that is American democracy. In just a few days, we will know if we have states that are mostly with the Union or if we are being led by the Confederacy. Yes, this presidency has taken us that far back. We are so far off track that I don’t even know where America is going. It’s scary to even think about.
But what I am not afraid of is race. Racism and anti- racism are no doubt on the ticket. In just a few days, we will find out if the majority of our country is for our diversity or against it. If persons decide they want four more years of the Trump presidency, then there will be no doubt as to who America really is and we can kiss that American dream good night.
Still, I don’t want you to be afraid of what this means. We are living in a house of mirrors; it is all reflection and for our internal inspection. Don’t be afraid to talk about race and what it means to you, what it has done for and against you. Even when the stories of police brutality don’t make the news, keep thinking it through.
Let me conclude with words meant to scare race away from you, unable to mask itself in scripture or science:
“Not all flesh is alike, but there is one flesh for human beings…” (First Corinthians 15.39, NRSV).
“… the ancient world did not make color the focus of irrational sentiments or the basis for uncritical evaluation” (Frank M. Snowden, Before Color Prejudice: The Ancient View of Blacks).
“… before the eighteenth century, physical differences among peoples were so rarely referred to as a matter of great importance that something of a case can be made for the proposition that race consciousness is largely a modern phenomenon” (Thomas F. Gossett, Race: The History of an Idea in America).
“… race is a concept which signifies and symbolizes social conflicts and interests by referring to different human bodies” (Michale Omi & Howard Winant, Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s).
“… ‘Black’ and ‘White’ are treated as natural categories rather than as concepts created through social, and at least partially through legal, interaction between peoples not initially racially defined in those terms” (Ian Haney Lopez, White By Law: The Legal Construction of Race).
Don’t be afraid to talk about race and even to talk back to it– no matter what it says about you.