Michelle Higgins: Seeing Past the Color Line in the Bay Area | Notes

The following are a few notes from a talk that Michelle gave at the University of AME Zion church in Palo Alto, November 12, 2016 hosted by TBC. You can see her talk here, read her CT article here, and watch her 2015 Urbana talk here.

I’m not asking you to come along with me. I’m asking you to wonder how I came to my conclusions.

I want you to consider, The Ethic of Disarmament in the Face of Bodies Presumed Armed and Deadly.”

Disarm yourselves of the idea that your wealth is deserved. If we disarmed, would we see each other? Because I see other folk as shielded to me, before they even know me. And thus, we are never able to truly know one another. This is why we are not able to truly love one another.

  1. Tear down the walls.
  2. Audit your spiritual practices.

Jesus doesn’t know who U2 is. Jesus doesn’t know what an acoustic guitar is.

Can you reconsider your 4th of July traditions in your church? Can we honor people without bowing down to an empire?!

Are you ready for God’s Kingdom, or are you just ready for capitalism!?

  1. Change your daily rhythms.

We must be able to confess that we define things everyday that are simply not true. America is a fabrication of white-centered racism. A country that is built upon the bodies of people who owned this land. The United States of America is an experiment, even though it was founded on sheer evil, claiming God as a part of that. That should stun you every day, and it must change the way that you get out of bed. It must change the way you perceive and define law and order. It must change the way you sing the anthem, because I am a member of a country that was ripped from the hands of a people who we put in concentration camps.

How would you feel if someone stole your house and then made you live in the basement?

The truth is that when you can’t agree, you should stay together. The closer you should draw to a person who disagrees with you. When you change your daily rhythms, you’re not changing the deepest part of you.

When you change how you view your world, you will begin to separate the aspects of despising from disagreement. It is possible to disagree without despising. Yet, throughout our country, the two have been intertwined. The end result of disagreement with despising always leads to death.

You will perish by the burden of having to be normal.

We sacrifice black bodies on the altar of paranoia.

The most self-centered excuse. You are utterly lacking in legacy unless and until you love the stranger.

When you begin to relinquish your presumption as to who your neighbor is, you will no longer be armed to the teeth, trying to protect yourself.

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