Sunday, October 27, 2019

The legacy of slavery and the American church



From "How the U.S. church can confront the legacy of slavery" in the October 14, 2019 issue of America Magazine by Olga Segura

“Open Wide Our Hearts” acknowledges the need for U.S. Catholics to fully reckon with the sin of slavery: “The generational effects of slavery, segregation, and the systemic use of violence—including the lynching of more than 4,000 black men, women, and children across 800 different counties throughout the United States between 1877 and 1950—are realities that must be fully recognized and addressed in any process that hopes to combat racism.” The pastoral letter was accompanied by resources to educate Catholics about racism and its effects on educationemploymenthousing and migrationguides for clergy to lead discussions on race; and educational material for students at all levels.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo - To be a real American you have to be white

Chapter three
To be a real American you have to be white.



DiAngelo bravely challenges the collapse of whiteness into national identity. No less an authority than BeyoncĂ© Knowles recently remarked, “It’s been said that racism is so American that when we protest racism, some assume we’re protesting America.” DiAngelo proves that BeyoncĂ© is right, that the flow of white identity into American identity—of racist beliefs into national beliefs—must be met head-on with a full-throated insistence that what it means to be American is not what it means to be white, at least not exclusively, or even primarily. This nation is far more complicated in its collective self-understanding.

DiAngelo, Robin J.. White Fragility (p. xi). Beacon Press. p.xi

Is being white being American? From our founding this has been the belief. Native Americans and African Americans were excluded from the first centuries of America's existence and still continue to be.

We have seen the rise of White Nationalism with the election of Donald Trump and his veiled election slogan, "Make America Great Again," MAGA, which his supported take to be code for make America white again. Of course with the demographic tide of increasing numbers of "people of color" it is predicted that whites will be in the minority in the United States by 2040 as they already are in many American cities and in some American counties.

America is becoming like South Africa where even if the census demonstrates whites in the minority, they still want their privileges and to maintain them they must maintain their power. To maintain their power they must continue their racist policies and practices.

While racist policies and practices are still powerful in the United States, whites deny them and claim they are oblivious to the advantages which these racist policies and practices provide. As Stokely Carmichael pointed out in the 60s during the days of "Black Power," whites will never give up their advantages and privileges willingly. People of color will have to take them on their own terms, and whites have to learn to be respectful and just.

Mutual respect and justice is the best social arrangement for all parties but this kind of social development seems to happen only with struggle as the "haves" surrender to the fairness and dignity of the "have nots."

Action steps:


  1. Name three ways that people believe that to be American is to be white.
  2. Trace three examples of how white Europeans colonized and oppressed non whites as then engaged in their "manifest destiny" to occupy and thrive on the North American continent.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo - What are the ways of white folks?


White fragility is a truly generative idea; it is a crucial concept that inspires us to think more deeply about how white folk understand their whiteness and react defensively to being called to account for how that whiteness has gone under the radar of race for far too long. DiAngelo is wise and withering in her relentless assault on what Langston Hughes termed “the ways of white folks.”

DiAngelo, Robin J.. White Fragility (p. x). Beacon Press. p.x

Today we continue our study of Robin DiAngelo's eye opening book about racism entitled "White Fragility".

What are the ways of white folks?

They are the ways of privilege which are taken for granted by the dominant group in American society which has a history of genocide in killing off the Native Americans, enslaving Africans, and oppressing other ethnic groups who are not perceived as being worthy of full citizenship and inclusion in the American society.

The ways of white folks include the denial of their discrimination and racism even though it is very apparent in where they live, where they work, where they go to church, where their children go to school, with whom they socialize, and how their criminal justice system operates.

For a higher level of higher justice to be obtained in our society white folks need to become self consciously aware of their ways and correct their abusive practices embedded in their socialization and social practices.

The first step in ameliorating racism is to become aware of its presence in our society, how it operates, what motivates and sustains it, and what can be done to rectify it.

Action steps:

If you are white list three ways you personally have benefited from your whiteness.

If you are non-white, list three ways you have been discriminated against because you are not white.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The day President Johnson upstaged Fannie Lou Hamer.

Fannie Lou Hamer, a civil rights activist, working for voting rights gets marginalized by President Johnson when he calls an impromtu press conference which makes the broadcast networks swivel the TV spot light from Ms. Hamer's testimony to him. This is an example of "dirty tricks" and the power of white privilege.


Monday, October 14, 2019

How does the failure to deal with the DACA program affect the actualization of human potential?



Editor's note: In most states DACA students have to apply for admission to college as "international students" but 23 states allow DACA students who are residents of that state to qualify for in state tuition. New York is one of them. Living in Brockport, NY, I a few students at the College at Brockport who so qualify.

Here is a map of the 23 states which allow in state tuition for DACA students.


The legacy of slavery and the American church

From "How the U.S. church can confront the legacy of slavery" in the October 14, 2019 issue of America Magazine by Olga Segur...