When I began this blog, I never intended to weigh in on political or social issues. But for my final blog of September, I do not feel like I have a choice. I live in Charlotte, North Carolina—between uptown and the NODA arts district. I’ve lived in Charlotte for the last half-decade, and she—the Queen City—has been a conduit for my growth and learning throughout my twenties. Though I’m a Hoosier at heart, Charlotte is home to me. I am committed to her. She is committed to me—well, she is committed to challenging me, at least. I am hardly the person I was when I moved here five years ago. And I have her to thank. And my friends have her to thank because I think I used to be a real ignorant jerk back when I thought I had my worldview figured out.
As you probably know, my city has been the talk of the country (and the site of CNN’s live coverage each evening) since law enforcement’s shooting of Keith Lamont Scott last Tuesday, one week ago. When the shooting occurred, I happened to be up in Winona Lake, Indiana, at my alma mater, Grace College, watching my sister play collegiate tennis. Needless to say, it was strange to be in that quiet, utopic community on the lake and lay in my hotel room, wide-eyed, watching the television on Wednesday night as rioters busted down windows at the Omni and looted the team store of the Charlotte Hornets, a mile from my home.
And yet, it was also eerily symbolic. In his song “White Privilege II,” the great theologian Macklemore writes to white listeners: “Your silence is a luxury.” And I have indeed been able to remain silent on these issues because they hardly affect me. I can live comfortably in my quiet utopia while the people of this country, especially my black brothers and sisters, cry out for justice.
But now these issues have come to Charlotte. The protests and riots have unfolded a mile from my townhouse. And each night, I go to bed listening to the helicopters hovering over my city, and it is as if they are singing to me a gospel lullaby: “A change is gonna come.” It is impossible to ignore the noise, the song. And it is a reflection of perhaps the main lesson I've learned—whether it be spiritually or socially or politically—since moving to Charlotte five years ago: I must listen more and learn more.
When all of this unfolded last week, I sent a text to my Charlotte friend named Spencer.
“I’m sure you’re tired of white people asking you this,” I said, “but what are your thoughts on everything going