Read John 1:19-28.
When we are asked about the people and places we come from, what does it mean not to deny, but to confess? For White Americans, there can be incredible comfort in denial, especially when faced with questions about white supremacy and its continued workings in our world. “Why should I be held responsible for the sins of my ancestors?” we might ask. “They were just products of their time.” These words grant us the distance we crave from legacies we are not proud of, but more often than not, that distance comes with the assumption that these ancestral sins are the stuff of a long-gone past, rather than living memory. Three of my four grandparents were 18 in 1964, the year the Civil Rights Act was passed. The fourth was 27. To claim that the injustices of that era are part of a long-dead past is to obscure the reality of history. To claim that racism and white supremacy died with its passing, or with any of the other examples of progress we’ve witnessed over the past decades, is to be deliberately, dangerously dishonest, and to deny the existence of that lie further obscures the truth. I do not pretend to fully understand where that leaves us, but I do know this: we did not have to be this way, and we can be something else. Honest, responsible, radical love will be the thing that saves us, and that love requires us to confess, rather than deny, exactly where we’re from.
Loving God, give us courage, kindness, and grace for ourselves and each other, as we seek to confess the realities of our world. Amen.
Student, UKirk Ole Miss