When I was a child, mom used to take me (and later, my little sister and me) to church. We were raised Lutheran, and raised in a very small church; my confirmation class had three people in it, including myself. I continued attending church until I graduated from high school, mostly because it was normal in our house and because I was a part of the choir, which I loved.
I stopped going to church at age 17, and haven’t been since, with unfortunate exception for religious funerals.
One sermon that still sticks with me, one of maybe five, is one of the talents. In this sermon, we were told god gave three people talents (money), and given two weeks to grow these talents. One person buried their talents, one person lost his, one person invested and doubled their original gifts. God was said to love the latter two most of all, because they worked to do something with what they were given
However, this morning I was watching some documentaries (my solution for boredom during my bouts of insomnia), including one (mediocre) called “The One Percent” and one (outstanding), “The Black Power Mixtape”, thinking about privilege. In a lot of ways, privilege is like the old story of talents.
Your skin color, your class at birth, your family of origin – these are things over which we have no control. We do have control over what we do, especially those born into privileged classes, racial strata etc. If you are born white, you can’t change and decide to be born black. You can choose to use your privilege to give opportunity to people who may not otherwise have a voice.
People who think this way need to burn for justice. We need to speak louder, use our place and our voices to amplify those marginalized by oppression. We need to remember our history and learn the lessons of Malcolm X, of Attica prison, of the Soledad brothers, of Angela Davis, of bell hooks. This is not anti-American. This is pro-American people.
When our time here is done, and we are asked what we have done to make this world better with our privilege and talents, how will you answer?