Jim Geraghty described this as a must-read, and he is right. David French of the National Review writes an open letter to his seven-year-old black daughter, in response to Ta-Neshi Coates’ book, Between the World and Me.
But not everyone. Not all the time. And these small moments — like the elderly woman who demanded to know what you were doing in the neighborhood pool, or the little boy who told you that his daddy won’t let him go to neighborhoods where black people live — are bringing me, inevitably, to tell you about the big things: about things like the Middle Passage, the overseer’s lash, the Klan (founded not too many miles from your own home), Jim Crow, redlining, and the progressive “science” of eugenics.
These are things that happened — painful things that you’ll find so difficult to believe, especially as you prepare for a future where anything is possible, where college and careers open before you, where your private education gave you advantages you won’t understand until much later, and where your intact, loving family brought you a sense of peace and stability that sadly too few kids understand. Your life is a place of possibility. The past looks like a place of pain. So that’s why we’ll ease you into an understanding of the truth. That’s why we’re not going to dump all of life on you all at once. As we tell you the truth, we will never forget to tell you the larger Truth — that man is fallen, prone to evil. Yet God is holy, prone to redeem. And you can never forget both realities. This is the Bad News and the Good News that represent the past, the present, and the eternal future.
There are ideologies driven by rage and anger, for sure, on the left and on the right. It is so easy to fall into Us vs. Them mode, especially with the horrific and infuriating news we get every day. But when we remember, as French so beautifully says here, that this world is not our home and the construction of the ideal society or the good life now is not our goal, but rather the hope of eternal life in Christ, that permits us to disengage from the hatred that so easily comes from a focus on the evils of the day, and simply show others the love that Christ showed us. Thank you, David French.