I was literally just a kid, enjoying a warm and waning San Fernando Valley summer in August of 1965, when a “routine” traffic stop quickly devolved into a full-blown race riot. Violence, vandalism, looting, and destruction were the order of the day.
Threatened citizens in “nicer” neighborhoods checked their weapons and ammunition, if they had them, and hunkered down in their homes. When the dust settled and the smoke cleared, recriminations and blaming ensued.
Sound all too familiar? Little would we know that this scenario, known to us as the Watts Riots, would become a “template” for future conflict in our society and even in our own hearts. Racism did not start that day, and it clearly has not ended in our own.
While we can take some easy comfort (what we call in my line of work “cheap grace”) in the notion that we are not where we used to be, the fact remains that we are not where we ought to be. Dialogue and conversation on racism are in their nascent stages, and the Church, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, has a moral responsibility to bring this conversation to the forefront.
It precedes conversion and substantive change. A significant part of those initial conversations has involved a lot of talk and even heated arguments about Black Lives Matter. It is difficult for some to make the distinction between supporting the BLM organization as an institution with its own ideology agenda on the one hand, and supporting the dignity and worth of every person on the planet on the other.
Black lives do matter, but the talk becomes so strident, ideological, and politicized that, in fact, people turn away with deaf ears. They literally and immediately stop listening. In our Catholic Christian tradition, we have never viewed the dignity of life, the dignity of every single human being, through a political lens. No, it is a deeply spiritual lens that we employ and a prism through which the light of faith — for Christians the light of the Gospel — shines forth and reveals the diverse and multicolored nature of our common humanity.
Recently the California Catholic Conference, a gathering of all the Roman Catholic bishops in California, established a task force on racism and conducted several listening sessions at which a number of Black Catholic leaders were invited to speak. It was sobering, moving and challenging all at the same time. It is eminently clear that, yes, we still have huge problems with race. There are vestiges of damage done recently and from long ago. In all of this and throughout the centuries the Church has been a kind of microcosm of society; no less susceptible to racism and discrimination, overt and otherwise, than some other institutions.
Yet we all need to hold ourselves to higher standards. We find no higher standards than in the Scriptures, which challenge us not so much (if at all) to “feel” good as to be good. The oft repeated phrases, “We are better than that. That is not who we are,” ring true somehow, but are hollow if not founded on reality, on real change and conversion of heart.
We are just beginning to surface the issue, much less really deal with it. We live in a day and age of quick and simple solutions. This will be long, difficult, and messy. In a word, it will be uncomfortable. Speaking of which, let me leave you with a quote from a very challenging book entitled Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America by Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson. He speaks about leaving behind the “… comfort of swift reassurance that while things are pretty bad, in the bigger racial scheme you’re not that bad; the comfort of believing that a few quick symbolic changes here and a few quick personal adjustments there will solve everything; and the comfort that after a few bruising months things will get back to normal. But the racial pandemic, much like the global health pandemic, has changed some things forever.”
The above comes from a Feb. 15 essay in the Fresno Bee by Bishop Joesph Brennan of Fresno.
If the conversation excludes the dignity of the family, where a mother and a father pledged to each other for the wellbeing of their children in a lifelong commitment, then the whole endeavor is an exercise in hot air and futility. The disintegration of the family isn’t the only element in the collapse of the African American culture and the economic and social disparity between it and mainstream culture, but it is the biggest.
African American voices of faith have been decrying this since MLK, but as those problems have been poached and appropriated by a progressive atheist agenda that has other interests in mind, those voices have been ignored.
Summation: you white man are guilty of existing, you children will pay for the so called crimes of your forebears in the end every cultural institution wants you and your family to submit or die… end of story
Does anyone agree with this statement?
I have no shame, embarrassment, or guilt. I take no responsibility for things I didn’t do. I do not apologize for sins I never committed. I am not guilty of anything just because of my race. It’s insane that any of this needs to be said, but it does.
They believe we are guilty just by existing… they want us dead
So am I now required to mention the sins of others when I go to confession? I feel like I am being held responsible for the sins of others.
No. You are not. But you can always review the 9 ways to be an accessory to another’s sin.
Yes Jim we are now guilty of existing this is the Left evil to its very core. They want us dead
Systemic racism and privilege is t about your sin or mine, it is about the advantages we inherited because of the sins of generations before us. You might have inherited a house in a neighborhood that a generation before excluded people of color. You might have attended a university that reserved spaces for descendants of people who went before, during an era in which that school might not have admitted any Black people. Just two examples.
No. Systemic racism is that those neighborhoods are still not integrated racially. Systemic racism is in work and educational cultures where people of color feel unwelcome or where an attitude of “We can be diverse or we can be excellent” exists.
White privilege is not really privilege but it speaks to the fact that blacks are discriminated against. We all know the stories of black people who were questioned because when a white person would not have been. Followed through stores, driving while black, police shootings.
A black male with a little blonde girl is considered more suspicious than a white male with a little black girl.
No YFC your crowd want us to submit to your woke ideology or you want us dead.
I’m not a racist. Because I’m white, the left in its “antiracism” ideology considers my assertion of having no racial prejudice as evidence of how deep-seated my racism is. You see, according to the antiracists, if I don’t acknowledge that I am a racist, then that makes me an even worse racist because I either don’t perceive my racism or I refuse to own up to it. There are no whites who aren’t racist, according to antiracism, which is why whites and whiteness must be opposed and deconstructed; why whites must be sent to the back of the bus. You can’t win with those people on their terms. Do you see how evil that ideology is? It divides Americans into good and evil tribes based on race. Terrible to see the Catholic bishops buy into the nonsense that America has a huge problem with racism. Fact is that Obama and the Democrats have cried “racism” every chance they could in order to weaponize charges of racism to the left’s advantage. To the antiracists, being color-blind and treating people equally is racist. For the antiracists, you have to treat people differently based on race in order to achieve “equity,” which is not the same thing as equality. That is, you have to discriminate based on race against whites and in favor of People of Color in order not to be racist so that groups of races have proportionately equitable outcomes in social measurements. It’s a complete contradiction, it disregards individual dignity and responsibility, and it should be appalling to every Catholic. Oh, there I go using logic, which is the white man’s way of thinking, and is racist too. Yes, logic is racist according to antiracism.”
KevinT where do you live? Your outrageous claims are not happening in the United States of America. Not anywhere. How has anyone discriminated against you or anyone you know?
“Your outrageous claims are not happening in the United States of America. Not anywhere” .Annette I guess you have never set foot on a college campus lately, this garbage is all over the place in ivy covered halls of leftist indoctrination mills.
Replying to Anonymous at 1:37 PM: I certainly don’t but I know many here are probably cheering him on.
Wait. Did someone steal your name Kevin? Is this possibly the same person who always comments on his crisis of faith, now spreading ethnic cleansing/race replacement theory?
spreading ethnic cleansing/race replacement theory? Tell me what cultural institutions are not constantly deriding those of white European descent, when crowds cheer the destruction of Western Culture.
Oh, I had not realized until now that bohemond and Kevin T were the same person. That explains a lot. I am of “white European descent ” and am not experiencing anything you claim to be happening. Where exactly are these cheering crowds?
Tomorrow they will be in the White House, and they already control Congress. Amazing how run-of-the-mill Democrats are willfully blind to what their own party advocates and does. Will they learn or wise up?
If the Church would go back to being the Church and teach its true teachings, that would help a lot.
Do I love my neighbor as myself? Do I treat others as I would want to be treated?
Do I speak kindly? Do I forgive offenses? Do I overlook wrongs done to me?
Racism is believing that a racial group is superior or inferior to another racial group.
Racism is a sin.
So is rash judgement. So is false accusation and bearing false witness.
Teach virtue to everyone.
The Church should help teach others how to confront and who to confront. What happens in reality when you refer someone to the Church? How does one do that exactly? Matthew 18:15-17
The bishops document on racism from 1979 is called “Brothers and Sisters to Us” Really? As in NOT US. Kind of says it all about the Church in USA, huh? The new one is Open Wide Your Hearts: A Call to Enduring Love. And this is the problem: How does one love?
It’s examination of conscience seems to be for sins of omission more than commission.
As individuals and communities of faith, examine your conscience. We all
must ask ourselves: Where have I not lived as an example of Christ’s love? Where have
my attitudes or perceptions caused me to devalue persons of other cultures or
ethnicities? When have I been unnecessarily suspicious or allowed a preconceived notion
to overshadow the human nature of another? When have I seen the “other” instead of
welcoming an opportunity to listen to the story of that person’s life, struggles, or joys?
The bishop of my diocese is requiring his priests to lecture, I mean instruct, their parishioners from the pulpit on the evils of systemic racism. Could we be more insulted?
Are you insulted when someone insinuates that you might be a racist? Most likely, because you are not a racist you are offended. You might even join in with those that spread the conspiracy theory that they are coming after you, what ever that means. Not being a racist, however, doesn’t mean that systemic racism doesn’t exist in the US. Where you might ask? It exist in a society where being non-white is looked down upon by whites. Its in school districts that don’t provides equally qualified teachers to every neighborhood school. Its when we are expected to live “with our own kind.” Its when people refer to our neighborhood as the “Black part of town” or the “Cambodian neighborhood” or the “Barrio.” Its when the KKK is still an underground force in the Southern county. We didn’t create a racist society, but we may unconciously be perpetuating it. I remember, not so many years ago, when a Black person moved into a “white” neighborhood, that the area wasx described as “turning.” The For Sale signs went up all around. I remember when affirmative-action was described as taking jobs away from white people, as though there are white jobs and black or Hispanic jobs. I see evil people with anti-semite and anti-Black tee shirts overtaking our Capitol, I see armed white supremicists staking out the homes of government leaders. No, each of us may not be racists, but we don’t protest racism enough, do we ?
I’m not offended because I know it’s untrue. I also know that calling someone a racist is 99% of the time unjustified and is simply a rhetorical tactic by the lazy-minded left to get the opponent to capitulate in order not to be perceived as “racist.” This country was doing fine until Obama gave us eight years of constant race baiting attacks. Now we are about to have Obama’s third term, and it will get worse.
Kevin, you feel that Obama attacked you? How? When? He baited with race? How about the chants, “We shall not be replaced”. You don’t suppose that is a race-baiting chant, by men who fear that the country is becoming “e puribus unum”? We ARE many. Whether we become ONE is up to us.
Bob One and his bloviating dissertations. By his logic all whites are inherently evil and racists. “Its when people refer to our neighborhood as the “Black part of town” or the “Cambodian neighborhood” or the “Barrio.” No Bob One these are facts, just like Chinatown and Little Italy, and just so we are clear those Catholic ethnic were some of safest and protected places in America at the time, before they were broken up the Federal government via urban renewal and forced integration
I sincerely appreciate His Excellency’s comments and pray that more Americans learn how the Church’s teachings truly apply to bettering our society today.
ie: You are hoping for the destruction of the White Working Class
bohemond, Really? “White Working Class?” What is that? Are you implying that only white people work, that all the good jobs belong to white people, or that white people are better than other people. I haven’t heard that term in twenty years. That statement alone is racist to the extreme. Keep in mind that St. Joseph wasn’t of the “white working class.” Keep in mind that Jesus wasn’t of the “white working class.” It is time that we start to live up to the creed of our country, that All Men Are Created Equal. E Pluribus Unum – from one many.
Anon, your response is why I detest white leftists
bohemond must not believe that all men are created equal. I assume that he knows that anon is a white leftist? I heard a sermon once that stuck with me: We are all born as God’s children. If God is our Father, then we are all brothers and sisters, not cousins or aunts, etc., but brothers and sisters. It is not good to detest your brother and sister.
Hey Bob One, I believe leftist are inherently evil and there is no sin in hating their evil.
Anon, yes he White Working Class, whose jobs were shipped to China in the name of “free trade,” who are mocked and scorned daily and nightly be the media and entertainment cults, who are suffering through an opioid epidemic and laughed by people at NY Times and other centers of leftwing propaganda. Yeah the White Working Class, the only people in the country who can be a focus of derision and cheered by the elites.
Hey Anon tell me where one part of my above statement is wrong…
I agree, tyquan. For if Catholics learned and applied the Church’s teachings to bettering society, no Catholic would ever vote for a Democrat again since the Democrat Party is the party of evil, anti-Catholic policies.
Ezekiel 18: 20-21: ‘Only the one who sins shall die. The son shall not be charged with the guilt of his father, nor shall the father be charged with the guilt of his son. Justice belongs to the just and wickedness to the wicked.”
We are all responsible for our own actions and no one else’s unless we encouraged or took part in their crimes.
Racial Pandering – the new opium of the people.
Watts was no template, just a repeat performance, the usual. And Brennan hasn’t a clue.
The author that Brennan recommends is a whiny radical black marxist. Surprised?
It’s not about race or even crime per se. It’s a morals issue, but the bishops are no longer in the morals business.