Mixed Feelings on Race?

Mixed FeelingsAfter hearing about the recent shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling I started asking myself what I might be able to offer to the community in terms of creating an opportunity for transformation. Soon I was supplied with an answer and a subsequent confirmation. On Thursday afternoon as I walked down Pearl Street in Downtown Boulder, CO I noticed a considerable number of mixed couples of nearly every combination. As I walked pass each one I found myself wondering whether or not they would be discussing the shootings that night. I was especially interested in how the black and white couples would handle that issue. Not too soon after having these thoughts, I came across a mother and daughter holding a “free hugs” sign. The mother is white and the father of the daughter was clearly black. For a second I thought about stopping to hug them, but I initially kept walking.

A few minutes later after leaving the bank I decided to ask them why they were holding the sign and they expressed that they, “had to do something to show that love is bigger than all of this.” And with that I hugged them and walked away reflecting on how this woman and her daughter, who looked just like a brown version of her mother, chose to do something, anything to shine a light on the illusion perpetrated by our society that says, “fear is stronger than love”. Suddenly, the sadness that was looming over me turned to hope as I thought of how they offered their bodies as a living billboard for transformation. Even though they were being passed by scores of people who were more interested in shopping and street shows, they smiled into the sea of people and made a difference to me and whoever else was blessed by one of their hugs.

After meeting them I could feel an idea brewing in my consciousness about something I could do to shine the light of love. By the time I came across another mixed couple, I knew what it was. I just came up to them and asked if they thought holding a discussion about race through the lens of people in mixed relationships would be of service.  They said “absolutely”. The husband of the next couple I asked called it “an innovative idea” and another couple said if they weren’t just in Colorado visiting they would definitely come. This got me excited, but I still didn’t really know if I wanted to put myself out there like that. Honestly, you never know who will take such an event as an opportunity to spread dissension. But then the next day I had an experience that told me that it was something that I had to do. Without going to deeply into it, I witnessed a mixed couple struggling to talk about this issue and I could almost see the wall coming up between them as the man almost in tears walked away and the woman’s heart closed down.

Of course if you’re in a relationship, you know that this can happen over any issue. But the hope of an intentional relationship is that it can–through love–overcome this tendency to find a place of agreement. But, if two people in an actual relationship can’t talk to each other openly about these issues, how much more difficult might it be for people who for all intents and purposes have no interactions with each other?  It seems like the cooperation we need in order to shift this insanity is next to impossible doesn’t it? But what if those of us who are already breaking racial, cultural, and other social barriers through our romantic relationships can learn to intelligently articulate what we are learning in our very cells? After thinking about it a little, I started to suspect that we might be surprised to discover that this world might be able to shift a lot faster than we can imagine. The way I see it, the love we need to heal this world in not in short supply. It is just not shared.

That’s why with the cooperation of the church where I serve as Associate Pastor, The First Congregational Church of Boulder, I will be hosting a discussion on race through the lens of interracial and intercultural relationships called Mixed Feelings on Race? It’s my hope that this event will plant the seeds for more of us to learn how to leverage the work we’re doing in the privacy of our homes for the betterment of the planet. If you’re in the are local to Boulder, I’d love to see you there.  If you are outside of this area and you have access to a place to hold a similar dialogue, I encourage you to do so.  Like that mother and daughter showed me, all of us can “do something to show that love is bigger than all of this [hate, fear, guilt, etc.] We don’t have to do it all. We just have to do what we can.

Facebook link for this event – https://www.facebook.com/events/978892222208123/

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9 thoughts on “Mixed Feelings on Race?

  1. Great idea! I have been feeling sad lately reading so many people put down the movement “Black lives matter” as racist, as if the movement is stating ONLY Black lives matter, instead of its intention…which is Black lives matter, too. I’ve read peoples’ comments putting down whatever Obama says in his statements after another tragedy, as if mentioning the need for gun control reforms is being political and undercutting his compassion and support shown for the victims of these tragedies. I read today about Chelsea Manning’s suicide attempt and failure and then her afterwords hospitalization with no access to talk to friends or even her lawyers, with the prison shutting down her ability to reach out during such a tender precarious time to those who support her.

    This lack of understanding or even seeming like the lack of even attempting to be human just hurts my heart. And I work daily doing energy level sessions to make change in this world, to end all this darkness and get us to a world of peace and cooperation. I have hope and trust we will get there, but the meantime is so painful to me.

    Best wishes in your group for understanding and forward progress and understanding.

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    1. I hear you Katelon. I get tempted to give into the sadness too, but Jesus has shown me another way. After being confident that what he teaches is true I’d rather follow him and where he says truth leads rather than give in to the illusion.

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      1. I don’t feel they are mutually exclusive. I’ve fought for the light, (what you label Jesus), since I first incarnated, and believe fully in success and triumph of the light, ultimately. But since my heart and compassion are big for me, that doesn’t preclude emotions for me at times…sadness, grief, anger, etc.

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  2. I truly enjoyed the thought and heart of this article. It caused me to stop and reflect on LOVE as the true source of resolution. I appreciate you Rev Pedro for showing the world how we can make a difference peacefully and collectively. Thanks for your courage and strength to demonstrate a positive solution.

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