Racial Reconciliation

Stephen G. Marsh 01-17-2013
Stephen G. Marsh

Stephen G. Marsh

Editor's Note: This column is part of a duo of posts commenting on racial reconciliation in light of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Read the accompanying piece, "A Convenient Truth: I Am White."

I am black in the United States of America. It is quite inconvenient to be black in the United States of America. It has always been inconvenient to be black in the United States of America.

My African ancestors were brought to the United States in chains against their will, taken straight to the plantations, and forced into slavery. They did not pass through Ellis Island, as did most of the ancestors of my white counterparts. My ancestors who fought in two world wars were not allowed any advantages of the GI Bill, schooling, the trade unions, or the opportunities of corporate America that white veterans had; therefore, as a black baby I am more likely to be born into a family who is mired in systemic poverty than a baby who is white.

I am much more likely to live in an impoverished neighborhood, receive an inferior education in a neighborhood school, and not graduate from high school than white students my age. Those are inconvenient truths.

Brian E. Konkol 01-17-2013
Brian E. Konkol

Brian E. Konkol

Editor's Note: This column is part of a duo of posts commenting on racial reconciliation in light of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Read the accompanying piece, "An Inconvenient Truth: I Am Black."

I am white. It is quite convenient to be white. In fact, it has always been convenient to be white in the United States of America.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, I am more likely to be employed than someone who is not white, I am less likely to be incarcerated, I am more likely to be covered by health insurance, and I am more likely to enjoy a comfortable retirement and eventually die peacefully in my elder years. I am more likely have a college education than a non-white person, my (white) wife is more likely to receive excellent medical care, my (white) children are more likely to attend private schools with skilled teachers, and my (white) family is more likely to have a roof over our heads, a few cars in the garage, and more than enough food on our table.

While individual cases vary, to be white is – generally speaking – a convenient truth. 

There are countless factors one could cite for the current levels of race-based inequality in the U.S., and many opinions exist surrounding potential solutions, yet there are three points of emphasis that need to be addressed for the advancement of racial reconciliation. 

Jannette Jauregui 11-13-2012
Robert F. Kennedy, Ron Galella/Contributor / Getty Images

Robert F. Kennedy, Ron Galella/Contributor / Getty Images

When I stepped back and really thought about what I was experiencing on election night, I started thinking about the night of April 4, 1968, just hours after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.  Having not yet been born, I thought about the coverage of it that I’ve seen. About how Robert Kennedy found himself in front of a crowd of supporters for a presidential campaign rally in Indianapolis. Many there that night were black and hadn’t heard the news of King’s death. As he did with most difficult topics, Kennedy laid it all out there. The crowd gasped and screamed and cried. Kennedy said he understood the anger and hate each of the men and women there that night would probably feel. After all, a white man had also killed his brother.

“What we need in the United States is not division,” Kennedy told the crowd. “What we need in the United States is not hatred. What we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom and compassion toward one another. A feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country.”

Edward Gilbreath 07-30-2010
The Shirley Sherrod incident, the latest stumble in our nation's clumsy dance with
Laura Truax 06-09-2010
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Sheldon Good 05-27-2010
I'm not a college student anymore, but Dr. Rand Paul just gave me some homework.
Onleilove Alston 04-23-2010

[Read more of this blog conversation in response to the Sojourners magazine article "

Allison Ash 04-07-2010
Looking at me, pale-skinned and blonde-haired, you would not know that I come from a diverse background with an African-American great-grandmother and an American-Indian great-grandfather.
Edward Gilbreath 02-26-2010

I've kind of avoided the topic of Black History Month this year until now, almost the end of the month. The reason is, I've been kicking around in my mind this notion of "Black History Month Syndrome." Now, stay with me a minute.

More Than Equals, co-authored by Chris Rice and the late Spencer Perkins, is considered one of the pivotal books in the Christian racial reconciliation movement that found its greatest momentum in the early and mid-1990s.

Edward Gilbreath 01-12-2010
Racial reconciliation among evangelicals is one of those slippery topics that come and go based on which national leader is currently jazzed about it.
Edward Gilbreath 01-06-2010

As you probably know, one of the big articles making the rounds this week is Time magazine's major report on Willow Creek Community Church and the noteworthy progress being made in evangelical megachurches to bridge the racial divide.

Edward Gilbreath 11-04-2009
One of the toughest parts of being the author of a book about racial reconciliation is that when the latest racial incident flares up, everyone expects you to chime in with your two cents.
Ryan Beiler 10-30-2009
I had starting writing this post last night, before receiving G

Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed more than one month ago, so why, you may ask, am I just now penning a blog about her historic appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court? The answer is easy -- I was scared. I was scared of offending members of the SMA community because of Justice Sotomayor's position on various hot-button issues.

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