The above is an adapted quote of a faculty ally to the Committee on Racial Equality at YDS.

I choose to beleive that this is a rhetorical question, with a strongly implied no. The reminder of civlity is an invitation to transgress, a reminder of the incivility and downright brutality of white power structures. The choice between transgression and reconciliation is a false one, because real healing occurs on the otherside of rupture.

A friend and I spoke for some time afterwards, of our fear and cynicism about any response to racism in this context, if it would have enough fire, enough energy to really get anything done. But ultimately, that isn’t an external question.

Will you be polite? This is our charge.