I was talking to a white straight male person with whom I am very close the other day and shared that Charlotte is hosting the National White Privilege Conference in 2022. He rolled his eyes at me.
He. Rolled. His. Eyes. At. Me. I’d become That Person.
Yes, I’ve become the person who “always” has to bring up the annoying thing – like white privilege. I’ve become the person who asks new condo owners, “So what was torn down before these new homes were built?” I’m the person who inserts comments like “Where are all the brown people?” and “Why aren’t there women on this board?”
It’s not like I’m the queen of activists. I’m frankly just learning to ask these questions.
The truth is that I have barely made sacrifices in my own life and there is certainly white supremacy in my DNA.
There’s always that person – the feminist, the environmentalist, the activist for the poor – in big church meetings. You know who I mean: those folks who stand up at every meeting and make eye-roll-worthy comments. Eventually everybody else shuts them out. People stopped listening to them.
I never want to be the person whom others stop listening to. And yet, I know that white privilege/white supremacy is an evil we have not conquered. I know that women continue to be seen as less than. I know that women of color are treated even less respectfully. I know. I see it every day. And because injustices are part of everyday life, we have to speak up.
Did people roll their eyes at Jesus when he kept talking about self-righteousness?
Personally I am also trying not to roll my eyes at you when you tell me that – as a white man – you’re tired of being trampled upon. I am trying not to roll my eyes when you declare that you don’t see color. I’m trying not to roll my eyes when you tell me that you have never received special treatment as a white person.
We need to see each other and hear each other and try hard to abstain from the eye roll. But it’s not easy. And especially when we are tired, our response is – at best – just an eye roll and not a snarky comment.
It’s almost that time of year when we gather with friends and family to feast and give thanks. The potential eye roll quotient is high. And yet it’s also a great time to engage people with whom we disagree in gracious conversation. Trying to see each other through the eyes of Christ is a lovely spiritual discipline for these days.
And in the meantime, I don’t know why Anderson Cooper rolled his eyes but I can guess.