Racism

02-23-2017

The history of America is the story of the great struggle between the dream of equality and the nightmare of how equality is defined. All men are created equal, but not poor men, or men of color, or women. Send me the “wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me” … but not if they are Irish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, or Muslim.

The call of the prophet is to call one’s nation to repentance, to courageously expose the hypocrisies and contradictions between dreams and reality. America has to be awoken from the stupor of false dreams. 

Da'Shawn Mosley 02-22-2017

 

Image via NASA HQ PHOTO/Flickr

“Here at NASA, we all pee the same color,” says Harrison.

But this scene never happened. Harrison never took a crowbar to a “Colored Ladies Room” sign. He never solved Johnson’s dilemma of having limited accessibility to a legal bathroom. Harrison’s action is a fabrication framed as history, one that could easily be recognized as an insidious white savior narrative created and advanced by the white people who made the film.

Lisa Sharon Harper 02-20-2017

On the Friday morning before Martin Luther King Day this year I met nine twentysomething Sojourners interns at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall. We collected into a circle, and I told them: “This is sacred ground.” I explained that we would enter the grounds in silence. I instructed the mostly white group to spend 15 minutes examining the memorial — observe — see what they see. Then we would come back together and share what we saw.

Stephen Mattson 02-17-2017

Since the election of President Donald Trump, many Christians are asking: How could so many Christ-followers agree with actions that are so decisively un-Christlike? Many Christians are struggling to understand how two things that are diametrically opposed to one another — Trump’s policies versus following the gospel of Christ — can be possibly reconciled.

Jim Wallis 02-16-2017

Ku Klux Klan parade in Washington, D.C. in 1926.

The only answer to the racial divide among Christians — evangelicals in particular — is to go much deeper into what racial equity and healing will require. America’s Original Sin was written for such a time as this. It is a book written to and for white Christians and white churches — to help lead them to new conversations with black and brown Christians and their churches. It could be that studying racism in congregation after congregation, and especially between congregations across racial lines, could be a fundamental building block for genuine racial reconciliation in America.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

The reporter asked President Trump about the rise of anti-Semitism in America. His answer — or seeming lack of one — angered many prominent Jewish Americans.

“Donald Trump’s inability to simply condemn antisemitism boggles the mind,” said Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc Jewish Action.

Image via Ken Rowland/flickr.com

More than 800 congregations have declared themselves sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants, about double the number since Election Day.

Leaders of the sanctuary movement say the pace of churches, and other houses of worship, declaring themselves sanctuaries has quickened, in the days leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump on Jan. 20.

Cathleen Falsani 01-17-2017

Image via Cathleen Falsani.

Some of the boys involved in carrying out those acts in December we know, and we know their parents. The parents we do know are not frothing-at-the-mouth bigots. We can’t imagine their sons learned racist ideas at home.

But they learned them somewhere.

Racists and bullies aren’t born. They are made.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Randall Hill

Around them, the air cracked with gunfire, Sanders told a jury on Dec. 7.

“There was so many shots,” Sanders testified in the federal government’s case against Dylann Roof, on trial for killing nine congregants at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015. “There was so many shots.”

Image via RNS/Reuters/Andres Stapff

If I’ve learned anything since my time in Rome, it’s that people — not just Catholics — are hungering to connect peace with justice. This is why those of us who traveled to Rome just before the election, accompanied by Stockton, Calif., Bishop Stephen Blaire, and Houma-Thibodaux, La., Bishop Shelton Fabre, are preparing for a regional WMPM meeting in Modesto, Calif., in February.

Reggie L. Williams 11-30-2016

Like many people in the nation, I was deeply disturbed when I stayed up late watching the election results on Nov. 8. This country elected Donald Trump to succeed the nation’s first African-American president — a deed that was in no way coincidental. President Obama’s election was an historic moment: the United States sent a black family to live in the house that slaves built as a residence for the highest political office in the land of their captivity. And with the election of Obama to that high office, the White House became home to free ancestors of the slaves who built it. Obama’s election felt like an earthquake of sorts. When the dust settled, it seemed that some old, terrible things had been demolished, and other things were moved around. From all appearances society had been recalibrated.

Jim Wallis 11-17-2016

We know you are fearful. We know you are still feeling the loss — the loss of a hoped for America that valued diversity, or perhaps the loss of your faith community whose white majority voted for an embodiment of our worst natures.

But we also know that you are ready to resist. You are ready to join the millions who will repeat daily that this ugly rhetoric and dangerous policy proposals cannot become normalized. Racism should not continue as normal, misogyny can’t remain normal, and threatening the well being of those God calls us to welcome cannot become normal.

And so we make this commitment to you: We at Sojourners are all in for whatever is required over the next four years and beyond, as a publication, as a resource, as a community, as a network of activists. Here’s how we get started.

Hussein Rashid 11-17-2016

Image via RNS/Reuters/Sandy Huffaker

The high school I went to, on Long Island, taught me a lot about race. I learned about overt racism, and what we now call microaggressions.

Over a quarter of a century later, I am under no delusions that we live in a post-racial society.

Ilyas Wadood, right, of the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix talks with a demonstrator during the "Freedom of Speech Rally Round II" on May 29, 2015.  Photo courtesy of Reuters/Nancy Wiechec

Though Jews remain the most frequent victims in America of hate crimes based on religion, the number of incidents against Muslims surged in 2015, according to newly released data from the FBI.

Hate crimes against Muslims spiked 67 percent from 2014 to 2015. That represents 257 anti-Muslim incidents.

Robert McCaw, government affairs director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the jump in anti-Muslim incidents continues to rise and even accelerated after the Nov. 8 election.

Layton E. Williams 11-11-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

Trump has painted a picture of America where walls loom, refugees are banished without a merciful glance, families are torn apart, people of color are killed more frequently and with even less consequence, and the suffering are left to suffer all alone. I find myself praying for a presidency that is only bad rather than catastrophic. And I find myself resolved with a new certainty to never let the vision Trump has painted come true. 

Da'Shawn Mosley 11-10-2016

Image via Joseph Gruber/Shutterstock.com

Stop telling me to fight. Stop saying on your social media platforms, and in your blogs and your op-eds, that everyone should dust themselves off and get up and fix this. Stop saying that addressing this issue is everyone’s duty, because I can’t even begin to explain to you how far from the truth such a statement is.

But I’ll try. I will overcome my exhaustion and explain this to you as clearly as I can, and you can thank me later, if you’re so inclined. Let it be known that I like Edible Arrangements.

John Fea 11-10-2016

Image via RNS/Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

I am upset by the results of the election, and I am particularly saddened that 81 percent of white American evangelicals got into bed with a monster on Nov. 8. But I am also encouraged and have not lost hope.

Here’s why:

Around 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, my 15-year-old daughter, frustrated by all she was seeing on the television, stormed out of the room and announced: “Dad, I am going to bed. I am embarrassed for my country.”

Jim Wallis 11-03-2016

So I am writing this to you, the pastors and spiritual leaders of congregations of Christians all across America. I am asking about your pastoral and prophetic responsibilities as we approach this historic election with potential consequences that we have never seen before in our lifetimes.

Karen Gonzalez 10-07-2016

Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado. Image via /Shutterstock.com

I don’t mind being associated with the meaningful work that people like my abuelita do every day, whether it be housekeeping, landscaping, or childcare. What I do mind is being dehumanized by a racist, stereotypical assumption that robs me and other Latinxs of our dignity as image bearers of God.

Kathy Khang 09-29-2016
Ongala / Shutterstock

Ongala / Shutterstock

THE CIVIL RIGHTS movement. #BlackLivesMatter. Racial reconciliation. It would be easy for me to imagine the words of Eliza in the musical “Hamilton” and sing, “I’m erasing myself from the narrative.”

At first glance, those statements, movements, and conversations might be mistakenly boiled down to division and brokenness between two Americas—one black, one white.

But I’m neither. I’m “yellow.”

I didn’t choose to erase myself in history, but it’s what I learned. Asian Americans weren’t erased from American history as much as we just didn’t exist in the Plymouth Rock story of East Coast immigration, with its emphasis on Europe’s poor and hungry “huddled masses.” We learned that “assimilation” was as much about becoming “white” as it was about becoming “American.” We learned that the civil rights movement was a fight for equal rights for black Americans, with little connection to “others” like myself. There was no category for someone who looked like me unless it was Oriental, chink, or gook—racial slurs I first heard as a child on suburban playgrounds (and still hear as an adult), slurs tied to a history and wars I knew very little about. In America, race is a social construct divided most simply between black and white.

I also learned that the best I could hope for was to become a model minority, an “honorary white” who would never be considered a “real” American.

So I just didn’t become one. In an act of rebellion, I chose not to become a naturalized U.S. citizen until a few years ago. In the process I learned what it means to opt into a binary conversation with a different, clear, defined perspective. I needed to learn who I was, created as a Korean-American woman carrying God’s image. I needed to learn that Jesus, Mary, Martha, and Esther weren’t blue-eyed or blonde.

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