The Cost Of Listening

In the wake a week where Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and officers Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Brent Thompson, and Patrick Zamarripa lost their lives, I appreciated post after post on social media again calling for whites to silence themselves and listen to the experiences of African-Americans. The kind of listening that comes from a deep desire to understand is a crucial first step. I want to be that kind of listener.

At the conclusion of those three gut-wrenching days following July 4th, my husband and I watched a movie that reminded me that really listening to those who’ve been dismissed, marginalized or abused will inevitably lead us to places that will upend our secure, comfortable lives. Amen. is an English-language 2002 release directed by Costa-Gavras and now streaming on Netflix.

Amen. highlights the work of S.S. Officer Kurt Gerstein, who was tasked to create a poison that would serve as an anti-typhus fumigant. Gerstein develops Zyklon B, which turned out to be an eerily effective anti-human fumigant, too, becoming the poison of choice used in Hitler’s concentration camp gas chambers. [Read more]

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