Can Bread Overcome Racism?

Racism Bread_edited-1Photography by D.Plasman

First of all, I’m not a racist. That’s what I want people to believe about me, and that’s what I tell my white friends. What I tell my black friends is . . . Wait a minute, I don’t have black friends. If by friends one means close acquaintances in whom I confide and invite to the dinner table or the front porch to sip a local brew or to uncork a bottle of wine, then this is my reality: I don’t know any black people well enough to have them over on a regular or occasional basis!

This is odd, seeing I live on a predominately black street.

Here are some basic (Grand Rapids, MI) demographics concerning the side of the block on which we live and the side across the street. There are 25 houses: 18 houses are rentals, most with 2 units. As single-family homeowners, we are the minority.

This is also true of our whiteness. As far as I can approximate (and this changes monthly as renters come and go), there are 12 white people living on our street, 57 blacks, and 10 hispanics. Including my housemate Jody, I know 9 people by their first name.

Additionally, my unofficial survey reveals there are far too many untethered dogs. I swear, if a certain scruffy, rat-like mutt squats in my tomato patch one more time, the world is going to be relieved of one canine. I will not mourn the loss.

It’s no surprise that racism is alive and robust. As a nation, we don’t seem to be any closer to admitting the causes or addressing the solutions.

I don’t have any answers either. All I know is that I’m tired of reading Facebook posts, and I’m weary of people and pundits talking past each other.

As a modest step in the direction of reconciliation and understanding, we’re going to bake bread. Really good bread. Wholesome bread. Organic bread. Not the Wonder Classic White crap either! Bread that’s even better than the photo I took. Then, we’re going to pass it out to all our neighbors—Blacks, Hispanics, Whites—and let them know that we’re glad we live on the same street with them. Maybe really good bread will contribute to ending racism.

There is only one miracle of Jesus recorded by all four Gospel writers: the multiplication of bread in Galilee whereby several thousand people were filled. Who’s to say such miracles can’t happen again . . . and again?

“Give us this day our daily bread. In our eating and sharing of it, may we starve our racism.”

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  1. donald jiskoot July 16, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

    Now we are talking “being Christian”.

  2. donal jiskoot July 16, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

    Correction of earlier post: Now we are being a FAITH person, whatever belief system, seeing the humanity in others. Right on!

  3. Jim July 16, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

    A few months back, I read a neighborhood chain e-mail conversation congratulating ourselves with our acceptance of many faiths, national origins and sexual orientations clustered in our neighborhood: Many who are maligned in today’s coarse culture. In a variety of ways, we have come a long ways.

    Yet our deeply held conviction that we “get it” ignores the fact that we are devoid of folks in our neighborhoods who live on the edge economically. Multitudes who can’t afford to live in many of our neighborhoods or even commute to jobs efficiently from our tidy privileged locations (outlying miles of roads brought to you in part by subsidized road & highway tax dollars paid in part by those who are economically disenfranchised).

    Maybe we aren’t as diverse or accepting as we would like to believe?

  4. Jean E Murray July 16, 2016 at 4:10 pm #

    What a beautiful idea…..

  5. Alex July 17, 2016 at 11:29 pm #

    Dude, this is a cool idea you’re doing! You have to write an update of people’s reactions/your conversations! Its like a real life Facebook friend request! haha

  6. Marge July 18, 2016 at 8:58 am #

    Taking a risk. Extending yourself. Getting out of the comfort zone.
    Feeding people. Building community.
    Sounds like Jesus to me.
    I use “lemonade and cookies”.