Wednesday, December 24, 2014

So, This Is Christmas …

by Rev. Lou Kavar Ph.D.

It was quite unexpected. Her mother fell on a patch of ice the week before Thanksgiving. The broken hip was a concern, but following surgery she was admitted to rehab. It seemed as though all was well. But then there were complications. She died about a week ago. The family gathered for the funeral on the Saturday before Christmas.

Three adult sons are living with their mother. One had spent time in jail for a drug related offense. Another, well….the neighbors said that he was “a bit slow.” The third left a failed marriage. They were trying to get by on mother’s social security and working various jobs in big box stores and fast food restaurants. They were good neighbors and helped others, including doing yard work for those who due to age couldn’t keep up with the work. Just last week, the notice went up on the front door: the bank was going to foreclose on the mortgage. What would be next for them?

I met for coffee with a man I know. In his 40’s, he’s a successful business man … and white. His wife, working in government, is African-American. They have two teenage boys nearing adulthood. While the boys are mixed race, most people identify them as African-American. The man tells me that he’s afraid for his sons. “What will happen if they are in the wrong place at the wrong time? What if they have a run-in with the police? I don’t know how to help them.” Yes, it’s a problem Black parents face, but this white man finds himself confused and troubled on how to sort out his own experience of “white privilege” while being a good parent to young African-American teenage boys.


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