Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see.
You have two ears and one mouth to listen twice as much as you talk.
Listening is essential. But it has a price. Following the logical implications of what people say to you can be very eye opening. Yes, opening our eyes to things that we wish we didn’t have to know.
Right before the last presidential election, my African American pastor warned his largely African American congregation not to riot if President Obama lost. “We’re better than that.”
Hmmm. Come again?
After pastoring us for several decades, I would hope that he thought a little better of us … than that.
His comment really stuck with me. I wondered where it came from. Frankly I thought the more likely scenario was riots if then Senator Obama won from folks like those at the Palin-McCain rallies. Things got so bad at a few of those rallies that Senator McCain had to call folks out on their racism.
I thought the reverend’s remarks might have had something to do with his taking over the presidency of a seminary of a pretty conservative denomination. But maybe his remarks didn’t have to have that direct a connection. Assumptions about blacks and violence are so widespread they are sort of just in the air. Those ideas are deeply held even by people in the best position to deconstruct the stereotypes.
So that brings me to professional athlete Ray Lewis’s recent remarks. He plays football for the Ravens.
“Do this research,” Lewis said. “If we don’t have a season. Watch how much evil, which we call crime, how much crime picks up, if you take away our game. There’s nothing else to do.”
In this era of cutbacks to schools, parks and recreation, there may indeed be limited options. But there still options. And the immediate choice of suburban dads deprived of an NFL game won’t necessarily be to take to the streets with pitchforks. Perhaps they’ll tackle those honey-do lists.