REFLECTIONS ON RACISM
There is no place in God’s reign for racism or racist nationalism, especially given the new motivation given to us by God to build life together based upon justice, equality, and love.
The problem of the color line and borderline tells us that American Christianity betrays Christ when it clings to the ungodly idea that African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asians are inferior human beings who threaten the existence of national society. The mainline church will be relevant in our divided world to the extent it links the commitment to loving community to human diversity. Mainline churches have a critical role to play in evangelizing culture toward a vision of society that recognizes that the diverse qualities and characteristics of human beings originate in God’s divine being. Rather than keeping silent in the face of racial divisions in American society, mainline churches must more aggressively proclaim the god who crosses all racial and ethnic boundaries and rejects white supremacy and xenophobia.
Harold J. Recinos
Good New from the Barrio
Prophetic Witness for the Church
Our only chance at dismantling racial injustice is being more curious about its origins than we are worried about our comfort. It’s not a comfortable conversation for any of us. It is risky and messy. It is haunting work to recall the sins of our past. But is this not the work we have been called to anyway? Is this not the work of the Holy Spirit to illuminate truth and inspire transformation?
It’s haunting. But it’s also holy.
And when we talk about race today, with all the pain packed into that conversation, the Holy Spirit remains in the room. This doesn’t mean the conversations aren’t painful, aren’t personal, aren’t charged with emotion. But it does mean we can survive. We can survive honest discussions about slavery, about convict leasing, about stolen land, deportation, discrimination, and exclusion. We can identify the harmful politics of gerrymandering, voter suppression, criminal justice laws, and policies that disproportionately affect people of color negatively. And we can expose the actions of white institutions—the history of segregation and white flight, the real impact of all-white leadership, the racial disparity in wages, and opportunities for advancement. We can lament and mourn. We can be livid and enraged. We can be honest. We can tell the truth. We can trust that the Holy Spirit is here. We must.
For only by being truthful about how we got here can we begin to imagine another way.
Austin Channing Brown
I’m Still Here
Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness
Little of beauty has America given the world save the rude grandeur God himself stamped on her bosom; the human spirit in this new world has expressed itself in vigor and ingenuity rather than in beauty. And so by fateful chance the Negro folk-song – the rhythmic cry of the slave – stands today not simply as the sole American music, but as the most beautiful expression of human experience born this side the seas. It has been neglected, it has been, and is, half despised, and above all it has been persistently mistaken and misunderstood; but notwithstanding, it still remains as the singular spiritual heritage of the nation and the greatest gift of the Negro people.
W. E. B. Du Bois
The Souls of Black Folk – “The Sorrow Songs”