On the subject of Erasure…
This week finds me mourning over the ways we amplify the experiences of some and erase the experience of others.
This sort of erasure allows us to keep a simple narrative about who is good and who is bad, who is trustworthy and who is to be feared or doubted. It allows us to the bias in our law enforcement systems—and our congregations—to go unchallenged. It keeps our ranks as religious liberals so centered towards the white and this sort of erasure is also why some of us know how alive and well sexism is in 2018.
How are we biased towards the experiences of people who look like what the leadership of this nation has looked like since European colonization? How are we biased towards the experience of men as leaders? How are we biased towards a basic belief that people who are white and have money are right and that others are to be doubted or even implicated rather than to take in the sorrowful realization that people’s lives are more complex than we know? And how, through our erasure of these experiences, do we continue to perpetuate a world that works only for some?
Today while I was sitting with a group of folks who have experienced great loss and grief, others were celebrating that the city of Concord was putting up a rainbow flag for the first time, while in neighboring Oakland others were rallying to ask us to stop pretending not to see the immigrant children who have been separated from their parents. Next week, the Contra Costa County Racial Justice Task Force will take up its recommendations and it is expected that the majority of the task force, which is made up of people predominantly involved in the systems which have been accused of being biased, will reduce two years of work to a series of recommendations about getting better data.
What is so tragic about erasure is the ways in which it denies us all access to the fullness of the human experience and to understanding the struggles that we face as a common family of humanity. For some, it is easier to impugn one party and to raise up another than to deal with the complexity that is human relationship. And it appears easier to blame the failure of systems on the victims of those systems than to actually say that we do not know the right way to mete out justice. When we are erased, we must find those who will hear and speak our truth. And those of us who are committed to a faith tradition that it reports to honor all have a special duty of care.
For me this week, I found solace and great comfort in the beautiful words of support and comfort which have been offered to me. And in spaces where people uprise in witness of those greater societal wrongs being done in our name. We should work against erasure in all its forms. No one has the right to deny the truth of another struggle, the potential of another human being, or the inherent worth and dignity that should be honored in all lives.
This is a little heavier than some of my blogs. It has been a heavy week. However, today was bring your pitbull to work day…….