Wednesday, March 11, 2015


By now you have probably heard about the OU SAE Fraternity scandal involving members chanting horrific racial slurs on the way to an event.  It was to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It," which only made it more disturbing.  The whole thing honestly made me nauseous to watch and realize that people actually thought it was funny in that moment or ever.  There is still so much hatred and ignorance in the world related to so many things and clearly towards race in our country specifically.

As John and I have wrestled through this, we've been encouraged by the overall sense of outrage.  It is nice to know that at an institutional level this particular incident has been dealt with and the university is making strides to change the issues they face on campus.  That said, it is depressing all over again to be reminded of the darkness hiding in the hearts of people - because though those students were not planning to actually lynch someone (I don't think) - the idea that they could make light of it on any level is sickening.

Another piece of this puzzle that is becoming more frustrating is seeing people that keep saying that this entire racism narrative is overblown and/or a political agenda.  Obviously there are political agendas and most major news sources have one bias or another.  We all have biases.  We come pre-programmed from our life's experiences and carry that baggage into the world.  Often it is hard to even realize how entrenched we are in certain viewpoints unless there is a lot of examination and introspection.

I've been amazed by the prejudices that I hold.  Amazed and at times ashamed.  It is easy to paint large groups of people with large brush strokes - especially if you are not interacting with them very often.

When I look at all of this, I wonder what in the world I could possibly do to make a difference not only in the race conversation, but also in the great socio-economic divide.  Both feel big, overwhelming and out of my influence - and on a grand scale, they are.  However, I can do my part by loving people in my corner of the world and encouraging them to do the same.

What does this actually mean?

For now, I'm going to listen.  I'm going to read - even things I think I may not agree with.  Because at the end of the day - who am I to counter actual experiences?  I want to love people and meet them where they are.  Which means that I need to move towards them.  I do not want to have expectations that people will meet some magical standard in my head of what they should do or be.  That is not real love.

Yesterday I came across this Samsung ad that left me in tears.  I am a giant softie and easily moved by advertising, and crying during commercials is not uncommon for me.  But - the more I thought about this, the more I loved the concept.  This community learned some basic sign language to be able to give a hearing-impaired man a great day.  Random people were signing to him, and his amazement grows throughout the experiment.

Obviously I know this is all for an ad and designed to help generate revenue for Samsung.  However, there is a message here that can be inspiring.  What if we really did meet people where they were?  I'm not just talking race - I'm talking anyone that is different than we are.  What if we tried to really understand where they were coming from and made an effort to communicate in a way that would truly speak to them?

After all - it is what Jesus did for us.  He didn't expect us to understand who he was without putting on our skin and living on our earth.  Real love listens.  Real love moves.  It lays down its own rights, biases and experiences and looks only at others.  It is counter-cultural and not at all intuitive.  BUT - I think it is what we are called to.

(All of that said - I don't think its easy.  I'm a work in progress at best.  And not even trying at worst.  I need more Jesus, always.)


Lucy Erwin-Brown Royster said...

Amen!!!! Lovely post today. I am a loyal reader but this is by far one of my favorites ever. Peace to you.

Carmen Smith said...