July 18, 2013

EDOW: Re-writing the Story

At the Diocese, we are doing our best to cultivate a healthy dialog–as well as an actionable response–to Trayvon Martin's death, the subsequent trial of George Zimmerman and how these play into the much larger, systemic conversation of class, race and privilege in our culture. Bishop Mariann Budde wrote a thoughtful blog post today that you should take the time to read. I also wrote something that tapped into a bit of what I wrote earlier this week. Here's a portion of what I wrote today:
"It's different here."

This is a phrase I’ve heard many times since moving to the east coast in relation to race, racism and cross-cultural exchanges. I grew up in San Diego, CA. While I’ve travelled quite a bit, I’ve lived in that city, and the county around it, my whole life until moving to Washington, DC. For a season of my childhood, my parents owned a small orchard in the rural part of San Diego County. I attended a public school, which was made up of white students whose parents owned the orchards on which brown students’ parents worked. Even in 5th grade the tension was palpable.

For years, I didn’t understand that tension. I didn’t have to. That was part of the problem–I didn’t have to appreciate that not everyone saw the world as I did. Yet, many San Diegans knew that their survival depended on understanding this. As Howard Zinn often articulated, winners write history. Losers live knowing another story while having to embody the winner’s version.

The narrative of Southern California and the mid-Atlantic are different. But they tell the same tale. It’s a story of dominance. A story that establishes a particular group as winners and others as losers–one group as good, another as bad. And once this is settled within the fabric of a culture, it’s difficult to undo.

Read the rest...
There's lots being said about this whole thing online. Not all of it productive. Here are some writings I'd recommend you read: