This has been a difficult week. We have seen the tragic events in Charlottesville unfold before us. We have seen powerful images of hatred and racism, bigotry and ignorance. We have seen the death of young woman trying to protest this terrible evil. And we wonder how things could be this way in 2017. We thought we had gotten so much further on the road to justice for all people, but “we” were mistaken. Of course, from the lens of a white male who is educated and respected wherever I go, life is fine and wonderful. I am not passed over for a job because my name doesn’t sound white but I know some people who have. I am not suspected of being a shoplifter when I go into a store. I can go into a store and browse and not thing anything of it. My black friends feel pressured and watched and realize they best just purchase and leave. I don’t worry that I will be treated unfairly by the police if I get pulled over but I know grown men who begin to shake if a police officer pulls behind them in traffic.
The difference is I expect to be treated with respect and with fairness. I expect to see my nephews and nieces succeed in life and achieve their dreams if they work hard. I would thinking it would be unjust if they worked hard, succeeded and were still treated as “less than,.,” I would certainly rise up and scream out “YOU’RE NOT BEING FAIR.” Yet I think everything is will even though my brothers and sisters whose shade is bit different than mine have worked very hard and still find themselves continuing to struggle to re respected and treated as equal. That’s institutional racism.
How have I become so desensitized? How have I lost my sense of fairness? We have been part of structures that promote racism and Charlottesville has made us look at our “original sin” again. May we step back, pray and be open to conversion in our own hearts.