How do we get people to want to know the truth? Reflections from a Ta-Nehisi Coates lecture

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‘How do we get the truth—the knowledge about race/ism—to people?’

This was the question posed by a college student following the lecture given by Ta-Nehisi Coates at Davidson College (November 16. 2015). This particular student, a young man, was excited about what he’d uncovered in his college course regarding anti-racist education. I could tell that he was excited about knowing the true history of how race/ism was intentionally designed and implemented. He was excited to be enlightened and clear. He was clear about how the division, inequality, hate and fear were not an organic, natural occurrence and that people groups are not biologically predisposed for a social economic hierarchy. With clarity in place, he began to hope. Implied in his question, tone and demeanor, was that if we all new the truth, we could all be free and end all this race/ism nonsense.

‘The truth is available. The information is clear. It is written in the constitution. The cause for the Civil War is clearly written in the war document. The laws that secured inequality have been documented. The truth is not hidden. It is available for all who want to know. But people don’t want to know. They benefit from believing the lies.’ 

This was the gist of the lecturer’s response to the young man’s question. So the question is not ‘how do we get the truth to people and make them aware of the true history’ Perhaps the question is…’How do we get people to want to know the truth?’

Dear people who believe that you benefit from believing the lie,

By accepting the false narratives that you have been force-fed and digested, you are pawns in a game rigged for everyone’s demise. Yes, even your own demise. While refusing to deconstruct the lie of race/ism, you continue to be exploited, raped, used, and abused, and taken advantage of. For over 300 years, this system (of race ideology, narratives and discrimination) has counted on your ignorance to perpetuate fear so that it can thrive.  While this system gives you the illusion of benefitting—status, material gain, comfort, self-righteousness—your loss is so much greater.

Unfortunately, your soul suffers a severe loss in believing others less worthy of love than you. You forfeit your right to be fully human as you continue to deprive others of humanity and human rights. By sustaining this nonsense, you lose your opportunity to tap into the divine creative power we all possess to rise up and overcome the weak principality of race. And by allowing yourself to be governed by such a weak principality, you allow yourself to live as a slave. (Ironic, isn’t it?)

Our desire is for you to be FREE, empowered and living in the full capacity for which you were created. We love you and are anxiously awaiting your arrival to the border of Freedom Land. We can’t fully enter without you. In the meantime, let us know how we can help you want to know the truth?

Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Shalom,

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