The Diversity Narrative and 'Identity Work'

I hope and pray that our children do not grow up and learn the racist tendencies of the generation before them and the media narrative all around them

I hope and pray that our children do not grow up and learn the racist tendencies of the generation before them and the media narrative all around them

What will the next great story read like? Who will write it?

Over the past 2 years, the racial tension and the anger that has been presented by the media narrative has been out of control. It seems that when we have reported escalations of events, everything becomes explosive in America. But, when we have rest from the racial tension and anger narrative, the whole country turns peaceful. Relatively speaking.

I'm not saying that racism doesn't exist because it's quiet. Or that it only exists during media hyperbole. It is obvious that we have a long way to go before we are 'a more peaceful union'. But this current media narrative pause on racial tension and anger is welcomed. At least until it happens again in the next few weeks with the report of another incident. And not because the issue has gone away. But maybe because we are dealing with it at the local level. That begs the question.

Are race-relations better served at the local level? Could we see less volatile protests and marches when we deal with our sins together locally without the promotion of a national spotlight? Could race-relations improve quicker because mis-information isn't fueling the problem? Could race-relations improve quicker because they are not being parsed by talking heads and their opinions far removed from the actual event? Could race-relations improve simply because the racial tension and anger isn't in the forefront of our minds?


Or maybe we are dealing with events at the local level in our neighborhoods. Without the help of social media bursts. No, I'm not saying just because racial tension and anger are not on the evening news, that racism has gone away. And it doesn't mean prejudice is gone and our progress is complete. Especially for a white male writing this blog. Who never faces racial tension and anger at racist levels.

But, could America be doing life as we should in an inter-geneRACIAL existence? Maybe we should be dealing with racial tension and anger at the micro-event level that involves only the people who are in the story at any given moment. I have said many times on this blog and live across America in my meetings, that the younger generation in our country deals with racism much better than the older generation. I hear it from thousands of teenagers on a weekly basis across the country. In urban and rural settings. In sub-urban and religious and non-religious settings. I hear a younger generation doing 'Identity Work' and 'Ethnic Identity Development' without the mis-information of the national media.

How badly I wish that narrative were being told. Media silence certainly doesn't remove racial inequality. But, at least it is not adding to it.

Identity Work

The term 'Identity Work' that was introduced recently by Lecrae in an interview with Truth's Table (, is a very important topic. This phrase is a harken back to the term 'Ethnic Identity Development' from the racial tension in the mid-20th century. With Lecrae's loosened ties toward white evangelicalism, John Piper encourages us that this is a positive move for race-relations in the Christian community. I concur completely. For many reasons. But that will be another blog.

I only reference Lecrae's stance to define his role in Christianity as part of the growing solution to the race-relation and anger narrative. That, like Lecrae, all of us need to solve how we feel about racism and ethnic definition on our own with the people around us. Not through a media narrative. Even if it results in rustling the tribe that we do life with. For Lecrae that might look like less church vans attending his concerts. Now, I'm sure Lecrae wouldn't mind that less church vans attended his concerts if it meant that he would attract a more diverse crowd. After all, isn't that the point of the gospel?

Why a post about an increased diversity narrative? Not simply because it is required by events like our divided presidential election, anger in the streets of cities across America, or the latest social media video of a racist event on a train or street corner. But because each of us must do Identity Development or Identity Work on a regular basis. Because we all must define how we feel about red and yellow, black, brown and white every day in California and Minnesota and New York. Not just when the news media begins to talk about it.

The Next Great Story

I hope and pray that our children do not grow up with the racist tendencies of the generation before them or the media narrative all around them. We should all be writing the diversity narrative around us. Let's not leave the next story to people who are not writing about healing. Let's tell the story of the younger generation. I believe they have the next great story on the growing gracism in America.

We should all think and react in love and acceptance daily. To step up our personal narrative of unity and diversity at the park or at the store. To step up our local narrative of unity and diversity in the face of ignorant comments and through intentional conversation daily. Why? Because if we are in a media silence on the issue of racial tension and anger right now in America, maybe the next report will be a positive one of the growing gracism in this younger generation that is bringing healing to one of the most hurtful sins of our nation's history.

#gracism #youthofanation #TheAmericanChristianTeenager #TheNextGreatAwakening

Jeff Grenell