Before we get into today’s post, I want you to watch this video:

 

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Did you see the gorilla?

I heard about this before I actually saw the video, so it was obvious to me. But I showed this to my congregation, and only about a tenth of the people saw it. They were amazed when they were looking for it, yet there it was, big as day!

We tend to see what we are looking for. We tend to miss things that may be right in front of our eyes, but are not on our radar.

I read through the Bible for years before I could really see all the verses that deal with the Christian community’s relationship to the poor. But once I started looking for it, I saw it was all over the Bible. How could I miss it when it was right in front of my eyes, but then, how can so many people miss seeing the gorilla. We aren’t looking for it. So it becomes invisible.

I have been aware of racial issues all my life. But in these last two weeks, I started seeing things I never saw before. For example, I never thought of myself as having White Privilege. But when I started listening, and I mean really listening to BIPOC (and for the record, that stands for Black, Indigenous People of Color, and yes, I had to ask when I first saw it) it started to become really clear to me.

For example, the neighborhood where I live is fairly multicultural–at least for Medford, Oregon. But I never had a fear that any of my neighbors would not accept me. It never occurred to that someone would be angry about my presence just because of my race. But that is not the case for a lot of people in my community. There have been times when I was looking for a job, but while I worried a little about it, it never occurred to me that I might never find a job. Being a college educated white male, I was a hot commodity. Part of me knew that, but I did not want to admit that as any sort of special privilege. But with Black unemployment at increasingly high rates, I have to question the fairness of the system. The country recently good some good job numbers, at least for some people. While unemployment among white workers fell to 12.4%, unemployment for black workers rose to 16.8%.

The fact is, sometimes it has nothing to do with selective vision. Sometimes I just willfully do not see certain things, because if I admitted I saw it, I would have either willfully ignore it or do something about it. And that is scary.

I know that my eyes need to be more open. What else am I not seeing?

 

About tmrichmond3

I am the pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Medford, Oregon. I believe that faith should be able to sustain us, not oppress us.
This entry was posted in Bias, BIPOC, Black Lives Matter, BLM, Community, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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