How Inclusive are We?
I am a Star Trek fan. Some have called me a Trekkie - I’m sure mostly because society told them that was appropriate. I really love Star Trek, but I’ve only been to one small convention probably 23 years ago. I don’t wait in line for hours for anything (or anybody – that’s just crazy), I don’t speak Klingon and I wear my regular clothes. All that said, I have always appreciated that in the future space of the Star Trek universes there are people that look like me and sentient beings that really don’t and that is beautiful diversity.
Recently, I watched “The Wrath of Khan” again after many years. I was struck by how in the memorial/funeral given for Spock the notion of inclusivity was really assimilation. (At least the Borg owned their intentions to assimilate.) Kirk eulogized Spock saying, of all the men he knew “Spock was the most human.” Bagpipes played “Amazing Grace” as the memorial pod was thrust into space.
The bagpipe thing has always bothered me. I don’t really understand the perpetuating history behind their use in formal/sacred gatherings. But I’ve accepted it. As a minister, I felt a bit of a gut-punch when I heard Kirk’s words. Spock would have considered it an insult. How did Kirk see it as a compliment? Yes, I know the answer. It’s the same answer that would lead them all to think a Christian hymn would be appropriate at his service – even though the lead actors were Jewish, this act was accepted as normative.
After shaking my head, I still appreciate the diversity I find in Star Trek. I still appreciate that as a blended person – there was room for me in their stories.
Over the years it has been interesting watching the race wars. Interesting because of the automatic defaults for mixed race people without regard for their sense of identity. (More on this in a future blog.) Suffice to say that one of the most liberating moments I’ve had in ministry has been standing in the pulpit and proclaiming my mixed race heritage – that is, being whole before God’s people; not choosing one race over the other; not discarding my mother because society has told me I could only check one box.
I am from chopsticks.
I am from Kleenex and Jell-O and Campbell’s chicken noodle soup with green onions.
I am from quiet spaces and televisions blaring for background noise.
I am from Japanese food on New Year’s Day and an open-minded grandmother named Taki.
I am from boasting about children and being sheltered; from “don’t wash clothes on New Year’s” and “think, think, think.”
I am from Divine Spirituality.
I am from sushi and black-eyed peas; from the journey of 2 worlds, the raising up of independence and the fight for personhood.
I am from God.