Why the Personal is not Political

President Obama explained why policy is such a poor instrument for addressing something as personal as race relations:

But this is always one of the challenges of politics: It can never capture all the complexity and contradictions in life. So you end up having to try to be true in a way that can be consumed for a mass audience, but you’re always missing some elements of it. You’re always leaving some things out.

And that’s part of the reason why race is such a difficult thing to deal with in politics, because the evolution of racial identity, racial relationships, institutional racism, is never similar. The trajectory, I believe, has been positive. But anything you say on the topic of race, there’s a counterargument, there’s an exception, there’s a nuance. There’s a, Wait, hold on a minute, how about that? And that’s part of the reason why, I think, it creates frustration. It’s also why it’s easy to demagogue. It’s also why situations that look ambiguous can lead to people dividing into camps very quickly.

Justice is one thing. Politeness is another.

5 thoughts on “Why the Personal is not Political

  1. cc: Jemar Tisby, Russell Moore, Thabiti Anyabwile , Katelyn Beaty, TGC, Christianity Today
    Bcc: religionnews.com, redletterchristians.cog, redeemer.com

    Liked by 1 person

  2. America. Most prosperous nation on earth. HBCUs full of students federally subsidized. State schools full of white-priv. kids being bussed to events where they can drink and fornicate. Black churches booming. Arab Americans lecturing on American racist fear-,offering. African American entertainers leading the pack. Country singers writing tunes about inclusiveness. Every agency and campus pushing race seminars and LGBTQ love and acceptance. Obamas worshipped as prophets if not saviors. Oprah the superlative TV personality. Kendrick Lamar the new poet laureate.
    Jackie Robinson our new gender safe Bruce Jenner replacement as athletic totem. New judge who is feared attends smart progressive Episcopalian church that majors in mea culpas for white sins.

    And yet race remains some sort of holy hot button issue if radioactive intensity because….?

    Our ancestors were slaves (like those of half the planet, like the Jews under Nefertiti’s family line…) Because someone else has more $ and power than me!!! Because people look at people funny and have attitudes! Because my daughters are scared to study science and don’t get equal field time at the high school. Because the men in church get the plum spots! Because when black men break laws, they are thrown in jail at a higher ratio, just for smoking dope or smarting off to a cop! And because evangelicals have discovered Jeremiah and Amos were really very woke when they weren’t keeping their women silent or stoning gays… and Paul really didn’t care who was born again as long as we all understood the earth was on a fast track for global renewal where we will all get to hang in a celestial room with the likes of Marilynn Robinson, Rob Bell, Meryl Streep, Tim Keller, Ta-Nehisi Coates, E.O. Wilson, Chelsea Clinton … and pinch me, Pope Francis. But until we get a lesbian black pope, the Catholic posturing too is painful. Rome as well as Wheaton and Everytown so white!

    Lord, please help us all to get a (new) life.


  3. And Curt Day, I will only play if you take off your painful sloganeering sweatshirt. Friends tell friends when they have something in their teeth.


  4. JM,
    Odd that you should mention me here since I don’t believe I posted a comment. But it won’t be that easy to get my sloganeering sweatshirt off. You will have to pry it off my cold dead body. The sweatshirt has caused confusion for some and smiles for others. It has also introduced Christianity and the Gospel into some political discussions.


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