Opinion: Now Is Not the Time to Chastise Those Grieving the Fire at Notre Dame
Kellee Knighten Hough
April 18, 2019

Ok, y’all. I get it. Trust me I do.

Yesterday while watching Notre Dame in flames, I felt the dichotomy of being a Black American of Christian faith culture.

I felt the anguish of watching a historic symbol of our faith, during Holy Week no less, being destroyed by fire. I thought about all the people in France who worship there, who pray there daily, who had plans to honor the sacrifice of Jesus Christ there Thursday through Sunday.

I also felt anguish thinking of the three Black congregations in Opelousas that have nowhere to worship this week, because their churches were burned down purposefully in an act of domestic terrorism, yet news coverage on that has been NIL. I thought about the history of Christianity, how the Old Testament was abused to justify the enslavement of my people, and how the New Testament is something most White Christians only reference when convenient, because they surely don’t seem to live by it.

I thought about posting something driven purely by righteous emotion, not taking into consideration the very real pain and grief people are feeling right now.

Then I thought about how it would make me feel if, when I was grieving, someone posted something that chastised me for grieving; that invalidated my grieving; that flogged and beat and berated not just a symbol of my faith, but my love for my faith by extension; and although the things posted would be 100% right, true, and valid—I thought about how it would make me feel.

It would make me feel angry. It would make me feel defensive. It would make me feel like I needed to double down on protecting whatever is being attacked. It would make me tune out the truth being presented and never give it validity again, because it will be forever associated with proliferating the pain and grief I felt that day.

And that’s how you lose allies and potential allies.

Timing, y’all. It’s all about timing. Give people a minute to grieve, THEN EDUCATE. Nobody is learning anything while they’re in pain. People don’t remember what you say, they remember how you make them feel. Please, for the love of humanity, let’s try to be considerate of each other moving forward.

Remember: There’s no prize for being the first woke asshole.

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