Reparations and Absolution

Anyone with even an introductory understanding of the egregious predations of racism in American culture would conclude that we have a collective duty to engage – now – in the repair effort.

Financial reparations will acknowledge and redress the Black/White wealth gap – the denial of opportunity, the theft of assets – beginning with slavery through succeeding generations of Black families. The vast scale of the debt puts it squarely in the domain of the federal government.

For many Americans, the challenge is to know how to contribute to ensuring payment of that long-overdue bill within a movement riven by militant disputes.

Closure is another matter. After four centuries of relentless systemic marginalization of Black people, our society cannot pretend that closure can be fully achieved.

In the face of such profound damage, absolution may neither be given – nor received.

Perhaps closure is not about forgiveness.

It’s about transforming our relationships going forward.

It’s about welcoming those connections we can have, where trust is the fragile bridge we all must cross, where the paths that open are maintained with humility and courage.

It’s about allowing our knee-jerk attitudes to be laid bare, and taking our lumps, and moving ahead wiser and more loving for the effort.

As with so many critical human endeavors, women can and should lead.  The bond we share derives from withstanding the millennia-old subtle, overt, violent, disorienting, undermining, objectifying ways of men. The cultural encoding exempts no one.

Women are uniquely capable of achieving the scale and depth of such a cultural change. But only if we gather ourselves together. Only if we agree that no more time will pass without validating our lived and spoken truths in the endeavors we jointly create.

We can sit back and wait for the haters to die off, or we can seize the opportunities conferred by joining and elevating a sisterhood. Therein lies our power. It’s high time to gear up.

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