It has been a little over a week since I got “The News.” At approximately 2:40 a.m. on Wednesday, November 9th, NBC news reported that Donald J. Trump had garnered Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes which put him over the threshold of 270 electoral votes to become the 45th President of the Unites States of America.
I typically do not have a hard time accepting things so my mind immediately shifted to the implications of this news in my daily life. Mr. Trump’s victory puts me in a precarious position because I’m an African American originally from Washington DC and I work as a diversity professional at a predominantly White evangelical seminary in the South. This tension is compounded with the statistic that 81% of Evangelicals voted for Mr. Trump. While I do believe that number is skewed as the term “Evangelical” as defined by pollsters may differ from your definition – so we ought not build an argument on this statistic (See here: TGC. Regardless, Mr. Trump garnered the support of many White evangelicals and some Black brothers and sisters feel betrayed by this alignment).
The racial under currents of the election have caused both black and white believers to come to the Kingdom Diversity staff seeking next steps. Since getting the news of Mr. Trump’s victory, I have wrestled with what to say and what medium to use to respond to the current state of affairs. Although I was seeking the Lord for wisdom and guidance to pass to others, He simply reminded me of things I already knew.
First, He reminded me that I am talking to a diverse audience. I know that Kingdom Diversity is followed by white Evangelicals who voted for Mr. Trump as well a white Evangelicals who felt that in good conscience that they could not vote for him. In addition, Kingdom Diversity is also followed by African American Christians who gave Mr. Trump their vote, as well as African Americans Christians who felt they could not vote for Mr. Trump. Also, I know of many Christians of various races who did not vote at all.
Secondly, any illusion that believers are not divided or that we are living in a post-racial society has been thoroughly dispelled by this election cycle. Considering these two points, I concluded that with tensions so high and division so sharp, social media and the internet is not the best place for a formal response. This is not to say that God cannot work through a blog post, but wisdom directs us to other mediums of interaction this time. The Kingdom Diversity Initiative will respond by continuing to create space for face-to-face interaction to discuss the most pressing issues of our day. It is our hope that we inspire others to intentionally build diverse relationships and learn from diverse voices in order to understand life through the lens of another.
Documentary and Discussion: 13th Film
On January 20th Southeastern Seminary we will be showing the film 13th: From Slave to Criminal with One Amendment. This film discusses how governmental policy has legitimized racial slavery in the present day. It gives context for why many blacks and whites likely viewed this election cycle, and the candidates differently. After watching the film we will have a panel and Q and A to discuss the content and its implications. We have found that face to face interactions and relationships produce more long term change than blog posts and tweets. For more info and to register for this event click here.