Saw the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning drama, Clybourne Park at the Guthrie today. It is a play about that continual American issue- racism- and our American difficulty coming to grips with it. It takes place in two acts 50 years apart. It is about changing times and unchanging humanity. It is about tensions as neighborhoods change. It is finally about how the more things the more they remain the same when we can't even stop and talk about them in ways that recognize the humanity and pain of all involved. It is easier to stereotype and argue, fear and strike out.
This is one more story of what I believe is the basic American failure, the underlying fatal flaw that could one day bring about the greatest difficulties our nation faces. It encompasses our fears and differences; it flows from economics and class, poverty and wealth, and a deep-seated need to judge and place ourselves or others as "different."
When we walked out my wife calmly said,
This makes me tired.I knew immediately what she meant. Both of us have been speaking out on this, wrestling with it, mourning its ongoing undermining of the American ideal for over 50 years. We both remember Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. We have stood up to racism as often as we have been able to. We have struggled to identify our own roots of prejudice that can be so subtle and scary as to throw us into silence as we confess our shortcomings.
Here we are in 2013 with an African-American president- and sitting in the theater seeing a powerful portrayal of how far we still have to go.
Will we ever see it be different?
Please, God, open our eyes, help us all see with openness and humility what we can do and be if we only allow ourselves to be humans in relationship with other humans, all children of God.