Reginald S. Screen
Earlier this week I read a quote on LinkedIn from Morgan Freeman called “How Do You Stop Racism?” Here is Freeman’s statement: “Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man & I am going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.”
There were many comments on LinkedIn that followed Freeman’s quote. Personally, Morgan Freeman is one of my favorite actors. And, I totally disagreed with his statement. To be fair, I did not hear the context from which this quote emanated. But, on the surface, this statement appears to be the Ostrich approach to things. Just ignore the problem, bury your head in the sand, and it will go aware. Be patient with me, please. Let’s extrapolate Morgan’s statement and see if you think other groups will embrace it.
How to we stop spousal abuse? “Stop talking about it.”
How do we stop child abuse? “Stop talking about it.”
How do we stop antisemitism? “Stop talking about it.” (Steven Spielberg will have none of that! 🙂
How do we stop … (you fill in the gap). “Stop talking about it.”
Friends, the logic just doesn’t hold up!
Maybe we shouldn’t stop talking about racism. Maybe we ought to talk about it honestly and with humility and from the position that I will not tolerate racism or bigotry of any kind, be it institutional racism or individual prejudice. Maybe our conversation needs to move us toward creating think tanks that will create action plans that will galvanize us towards an authentic community.
Stop talking about racism. I don’t think so! We need to talking about racism, and it’s reality and residue from a posture of honesty and with humility. We need to learn to listen well (we have two ears and one mouth) and then speak in a way that is graceful and respectful. Hopefully, if we can start to communicate with one another with an intention for healing, together we can come to a position as a society that says “we” will not tolerate racism or bigotry or prejudice of any type. Prayerfully, we can start to listen to each other very intently and in doing so we can get to know each other in new and deeper ways. Optimistically, our intensive listening and graceful communication will catapult us beyond our self-protective, stereotypes, prejudices, past conversations and denial measures. Now, that’s something worth starting a conversation over.