Blaming and Healing

I bumped into the following video yesterday. The well-known commentator begins with the striking question, “Why do white people think they’re so much better than black people?” I recoiled at that thought and applauded her declaration that she “is not OK with it!” Very good. Who, conceivably, could be OK with it?

The video continues along these lines and tells the story of a committed mom defending the value of her adopted kids. Very good. There is a militant tone here, totally appropriate to the defense of children but, when the video was over, I felt unsettled and was not sure why. I watched the video a second time and noticed that, in explaining the origin of her passion, the commentator very reasonably began with her perceived need “to confront my own bias” but moved immediately and confidently to a very different assumption: that her bias was shared by many (most?) Americans, notably “white, straight, married, pastors and upper-middle-class” people, who “have the luxury of not having to care”.

Here I felt, if I may say so, manipulated. I believe that every child is precious, created with purpose and in the image of God. Many Americans share this belief and it provides the foundation for our law and conscience. We (along with many Americans who do not share that belief) cringe at the obvious absurdity of claims that our ethnicity has any connection to our value as people. None of us has the “luxury of not having to care”, and few people would consider such apathy a luxury.

I fear that the commentator’s assumption about her country shares the illogic of the problem she wants to address. Making broad generalizations about people we don’t know is tempting but it’s simply not truthful. And because they are frequently untrue, generalizations create or inflame feelings of injustice. And that — regardless of our intentions — is the path into conflict, not out of it.

What do you think? We'd love to know...