urban exile: the silence of the lambs

The latest Urban Exile column has been posted at Out of Ur.  In this column I ask questions about the reticence of many churches to talk about race and racism.  I’m grateful for the helpful suggestions made by the Leadership Journal editors about the content I submit; I’ve learned a lot about writing from those guys.  Here are the first two paragraphs.  You can read the rest and comment at Out of Ur.

urban_exileStephen Colbert doesn’t know his own race. The host of The Colbert Report, a satirical television news program on Comedy Central, claims to be colorblind, unable to discern his skin color. “People tell me I’m white,” he said during one episode, “because I own a lot of Jimmy Buffet albums.” The colorblind approach to race and racism makes for amusing television but is the height of naïveté in real life. Yet for many churches this seems to be the preferred method of talking—or not talking—about all things related to race.

The beauty and peril of our diverse culture is impossible to miss. A quick snapshot reveals a president who shares a heritage with both Kenya and Kansas, a New York Post cartoon of a dead chimpanzee that stirs up memories of racist stereotypes, and teenage pop star Miley Cyrus photographed pulling back her eyes in an attempt to “look Asian.” Stephen Colbert isn’t the only TV personality who finds comedy in this racially charged atmosphere. Michael Scott, the hilariously insensitive manager of The Office, manages to repeatedly offend each of his diverse staff—no one is safe from his absurd stereotypes. A more nuanced primetime treatment of race can be seen on Lost where the island’s castaways epitomize the global, ethnic, and class diversity and divisions of our day. In a society increasingly conscious of race and ethnicity, the silence of our churches grows more notable by the day…

Read the rest at Out of Ur.

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