Emmett, Ronnie, Brandon and Kevin

Heads up:  this post is for White people.

I don’t really have any Black friends.” 

Someone said to me recently and when I asked, “Why not?” she said that they live in different neighborhoods.  They go to different churches. She said that she rarely sees Black or Brown people in her professional circles.

“Do you want to change that?” I asked.  And she said yes but she doesn’t know how.

I don’t know how either except to invite her to get out more, to notice people who might be invisible to her, to educate herself on racism and White supremacy.

We (White people) can educate ourselves about race by reading a number of good books.  We can watch excellent documentaries like these.  And certainly we can befriend actual human beings of all skin colors.

But I also recommend watching Lena Waithe’s amazing show The Chi on Showtime.  It’s one of those special series that captures the drama, humor, love, beauty, ugliness of real life in a neighborhood on the South side of Chicago. What the writers do is amazing in terms of making us care about and even love the characters.  Among the ones I care about most are Emmett, Ronnie, Brandon and Kevin.  (I once tweeted Lena Waithe and asked her not to kill Kevin – ever – and the fact that she didn’t reply is worrysome.  Not that she and I are friends or anything, but please . . . not Kevin.)

My point is that authentic relationships are everything in the 21st Century Church and although television characters are obviously not real relationships, getting to know the fictional characters of The Chi might be a start. It offers a small slice of the intersectionality of race, violence and urban life.  It’s excellent.  It will make you care for people you don’t know yet.

Image of (from top right) the actors Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Alex Hibbert, Jason Mitchell, and Jacob Latimore who respectively play the roles of Ronnie, Kevin, Brandon, and Emmett on The Chi.

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