Racism

8-23-2016

Should Donald Trump’s racist comments, since the inception of his campaign, be morally disqualifying for him to become the president of the United States?

Anna Panzo 8-03-2016

Image by JP Keenan for Sojourners

I want to encourage us to consider the ways we can engage our neighbors beyond an effort to provide a sense of comfort or peace. I believe we are called, in whatever small way we can, to not only accompany them in their grief, but also to acknowledge, validate, and recognize the injustice or atrocities that occur — and to seek to take action to address this within our own sphere of influence. 

Moral March in Raleigh, N.C., in Februar 2014. EPG_EuroPhotoGraphics / Shutterstock.com

Since the summer of 2013, we have called this law — which the 4th Circuit struck down on Friday — a monster voter suppression bill. It was the first and the worst of many voter suppression measures to pass through state houses since the Supreme Court’s Shelby decision stripped the Voting Rights Act of its power to guarantee fair elections in this country. In many ways, it performed the new Southern Strategy of James Crow, Esq., which attempts to hold onto power as white voters become one among many minorities in this country. It is a strategy that necessarily depends on old fears, racism, and divide-and-conquer tactics.

Julie Polter 7-29-2016
The Third Reconstruction

The Third Reconstruction

DURING A  FRACTIOUS election year marked by “how low can you go?” rhetoric, a hopeful word about democracy can be hard to find. When our civil society and citizenry seem evermore splintered by issues of race, immigration, wealth inequality, women’s health, guns, and ideology, who would dare speak with sincerity about finding common cause and increasing enfranchisement?

Rev. William Barber II, for one. In The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement, he argues that “fusion coalitions rooted in moral dissent have power to transform our world from the grassroots community up.” He believes that people committed to different causes, of different races and faiths and no faith, can come together to advance broader justice and perhaps even revive a democracy that has seen better days.

He believes this because he’s seen it: He helped forge the 2013 “Moral Mondays” protests in North Carolina that brought more than 100,000 people to rallies across the state protesting voting restrictions and corporate-funded extremist legislation, and had sister rallies in several other states. But this wasn’t a spontaneous eruption—the broad-based coalition behind Moral Mondays first formed in 2007 to advocate for expanding voting rights.

In this book Barber, a Disciples of Christ pastor and president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, uses autobiography and U.S. history to root the story—the successes, failures, and wisdom gained—of the work that led to the Moral Mondays campaign and beyond.

As a young pastor, Barber learned valuable lessons when he participated in a failed effort to unionize a textile factory in Martinsville, Va. In the aftermath, he meditated on Psalm 94 (“Who rises up for me against the wicked? Who stands up for me against evildoers?”) and found there the spiritual mandate for sustained moral dissent, even when political victory is out of sight. But he also took an honest look at his strategic failings; a key one was not bringing white pastors and workers into the effort, allowing the white factory owners to divide and conquer the workers along racial lines. His wariness from his own negative experiences with white people had tripped him up. He writes:

Screenshot via YouTube.

Disability is an incredibly salient and important part of this story, particularly in the reporting – portraying Kinsey as a hero simply for working around disabled people, or framing the situation as horrifying because it involved a disabled person, as though we are innocent from reality.

the Web Editors 7-21-2016

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

Police shot a black man who was taking care of an autistic patient who had wandered into the street, reports the Miami Herald.

On July 18, an unnamed officer shot the caretaker, Charles Kinsey, 47, in the leg with an assault rifle. Video footage taken before the shooting shows Kinsey lying on the ground with his hands in the air, telling his autistic patient to cooperate and lie on the ground as well. Kinsey was not badly injured and is scheduled to be released from the hospital July 21.

Onleilove Alston 7-20-2016

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

As I looked through my Facebook newsfeed I saw many of my African-American friends asking, “How long, oh Lord?” This question is not just one we asked after Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were added to our great cloud of witnesses as the latest victims of racial violence, but this is a question our parents, grandparents, and generations have asked as they faced oppression.

I didn’t know whether to stop. I turned the corner and noticed you first, before I noticed the police cars and the flashing lights and your car crammed full of stuff. You were standing there, jeans and hoodie. Hands in pocket and hood over your head. It was cold and you did not have on a coat. I was in my warm car, and you were standing in the January cold. 

Lisa Sharon Harper 7-09-2016

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

It had been a while since the hashtag of a black man, woman, or child killed by a cop had burned across social media like wildfire. Rather, it seemed the nation had transitioned into a new phase of the struggle — the trial phase.

the Web Editors 7-07-2016

President Obama’s comments come just as the world saw Sterling and Castile, both black men, killed by police officers over the course of two days. Sterling was shot early on July 5 while pinned down by cops outside a convenience store, an incident captured on video. Castile was shot July 6 while sitting in his car, and video taken after the shooting shows him moaning in pain and covered in blood as a police officer brandishes a gun outside the window.

the Web Editors 7-07-2016

"Blood is crying from the ground and let it trouble the very soul of America until justice is a clear reality."

Lisa Sharon Harper 6-30-2016
JP Keenan / Sojourners

Rev. Yvonne Delk blesses Dr. Larycia Hawkins at Sojourners' 2016 Summit for Change.

Jim turned to me and said: “We’re greedy — seeking a second blessing.”

I smiled wryly: “This is my third.”

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

The nation’s second largest Presbyterian denomination has passed legislation repenting for “past failures to love brothers and sisters from minority cultures” and committing its members to work toward racial reconciliation.

The “overture” (or legislation) was approved overwhelmingly June 23 at the national meeting of the Presbyterian Church in America. The issue had been deferred from the previous year’s meeting, where there was a lengthy debate on similar legislation.

the Web Editors 6-27-2016

Best known for his role in "Grey's Anatomy," Williams stole the show on a night featuring a surprise performance by Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar.

the Web Editors 6-23-2016

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

"The race-conscious admissions program in use at the time of petitioner’s application is lawful under the Equal Protection Clause," said the court.

Lisa Sharon Harper 6-20-2016

What if these were not our foundations? What if these foundations did not lay the groundwork for philosophical and legal frameworks that created separate and unequal schooling for the next 150 years? What if they did not lay the foundations for racialized de-facto exclusions from the Homestead Act and the G.I. Bill. And what if they did not lay the foundations for environmental and climate injustice that causes heightened hardship in communities with less healthcare and fewer resources. And what if they did not lay the foundations for 1.5 million black men to go missing from black communities, families, churches, and civic structures — prized booty of America’s racialized Drug War and a new source of near free labor for American corporations within state and federal prisons.

Jim Wallis 6-20-2016

The most important political fact in America is that, in just a few decades, we will no longer be a white majority nation but a majority of minorities. The milestone historical realities of that fundamental demographic shift are underneath everything else in American politics. Race is an intersectional issue in our political discourse today.

As Christians, our response to the changing demographics of America should be two-fold: a renewal of our baptism and a renewal of democracy.

Michael Burke 6-17-2016

Dylann Roof. Image via REUTERS/Jason Miczek/RNS

It’s been one year since nine black parishioners were gunned down in the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, murders that then-21-year-old Dylann Roof — who is white — is accused of committing. Last July, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced a 33-count indictment against Roof that charged him with federal hate crimes for the June 17 attack, alleging that he sought to ignite racial tensions across the United States with the massacre. Friends of Roof have said that he wanted to start a race war. His trial is set for Nov. 7; prosecutors will seek the death penalty.

Jenny Yang 6-16-2016

The idea that you're "the other" means that you often are treated differently, often treated as less deserving, or less worthy of respect and protection — both from your surrounding community and often from the law. I've seen the "othering" of not only Asian Americans but also of Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans, Muslims, and countless others. The political construct of race, and — in an international context “othering” — serves and protects those attributed in-group status. It allows the in-group to keep those deemed “outsiders” at a safe distance to lessen the threat presented by their presence — threat to internal value, threat to safety, and threat to resource access.

REUTERS/Brian Snyder 

The Southern Baptist Convention, born in 1845 in a split over its support for slavery, passed a resolution calling for Christians to quit using the Confederate flag.

“We call our brothers and sisters in Christ to discontinue the display of the Confederate battle flag as a sign of solidarity of the whole Body of Christ, including our African-American brothers and sisters,” reads the resolution adopted Tuesday at the convention’s annual meeting in St. Louis.

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