It occurs to me that there is an admission missing from this conversation about Charlottesville which is that if we are white citizens of the USA, we are racists.
It doesn’t matter if we consider ourselves to be conservative or liberal, on the right or on the left, alt-right or alt-left. If we are white in the USA , we are racist. None of us like to be called racist but that doesn’t mitigate our responsibility to confront our racism, cop to it, and deal with it.
The collective sin of the USA, the besetting sin of the USA is racism. It is as much a founding principle of our country as is protest. We have been racist since the beginning. The Founding Fathers allowed racism in the USA.
Our whole history is one of racism. Look at what white people did to the Native Americans. Look at how white people treated Asians when they came here. Look at how white people took over the parts of the current USA that was once part of Mexico. Look at how so many of us are treating Muslims among us.
If we are white in the USA, we are racist.
What puzzles me is the fact that all people of color have yet to unite against all of us white people, gang up on us, and take over. It’s really kind of a miracle that they have treated us with such forbearance over the decades.
Oh, I know many of us have families who emigrated to the USA well after the Civil War and we are not responsible for slavery, nor did we have ancestors here who owned slaves, but how very quickly white immigrants to the USA learned to be racists.
Descendants of Irish immigrants who live in Boston are so racist that black people can’t get jobs in South Boston, except at the Boston Globe. Landlords won’t rent to them. Well, I should say this was true of Southie in 1993 when I moved from the Boston area. While I don’t know, I imagine it is still true.
I remember when the descendants of Jewish immigrants exploited the black people of New York City because the Jews were the landlords.
My own grandparents immigrated in the 1920s and quickly learned to hate people of color. My father was appalled when I brought home friends from school who were black or Asian and wanted sleepovers. He was polite enough to their faces, but when they were gone…
We white people of the USA are so racist that we are in denial about our white privilege. We all have it, regardless of our political or religious affiliation.
This is especially ironic if we are Christians because our Jesus, when He walked the earth, was a person of color. He probably looked more like a young Saddam Hussein or a young Yasar Arafat than any of the white actors who portrayed him in films.
If we are white in the USA, we are racist and we need to repent, confess, and make amends.
Some of us are aware of that we are racist, some of us do confront our white privilege on a daily basis, but it is danged hard work because it is so ingrained in us we don’t notice or realize it unless someone, usually a person of color, points it out to us. Let us, in the name of the God we love and worship, receive their words in humility as the grace they are.
P.S. Before posting this, I read it to a friend who is a black woman and asked her what changes I should make. She told me this is what people of color want every white person to accept about themselves.