Race and Jesus on This American Life

NPR reporter Sonari Glinton recalls how Sr. Rosemary Brennan, the principal of St. Philip Neri Catholic school in Chicago, helped to show students how Jesus related to them on an episode of This American Life:

Sonari Glinton tells the story of how a Catholic nun teaches an entire school on Chicago's South Side that we are all truly made in God's image.

Sr. Rosemary, recognizing that the students in the once white neighborhood were now predominantly black, sought to make some images in the classrooms more relatable to the students.

Click here to listen to the story.

VINCENT CUSHING JR
4 years 11 months ago
I am a white teacher who taught grades 6-8 in an all black school outside Washington, DC in 1994.  I remember a student who ridiculed the Pledge of Allegiance , especially the line about liberty and justice for all. And I didn't have an answer for him. But I also brought in a manger scene during Advent to put on my desk.  I had painted all the faces dark brown.  One of the students picked up the baby Jesus in amazement-"Look!  A black Jesus!"  And I also answered, "I'm sure Jesus looked more like you than like me."  I hope it had an impact on that young man and the others who witnessed the exchange. 
4 years 11 months ago
Brilliant and beautiful. I listened to this, by chance, just after reading a poem by Langston Hughes, ''Children's Rhymes.'' 

    By what sends / the white kids / I ain't sent: / I know I can't / be President.
    What don't bug / them white kids / sure bugs me: / 
    We know everybody / ain't free. 

    Lies written down / for white folks / ain't for us a-tall: / 
    Liberty and Justice - Huh! - For All?

This story reminds me that hope lives in the small things, in Christ's love shared and witnessed - more in small deeds than in big words! - from person to person.

Thank you for posting Michael.
Cody Serra
4 years 11 months ago
"Use words only when necessary".  The sister's action had all the meaning in the world. Kids could understand the message. We are all created in the image of God.

Full of grace.
Jim McCrea
4 years 11 months ago
We all know that Jesus was a blond-haired, blue-eyed neo-Nazi Nordic Aryan!  Every piece of painted artwork shows us that.  Would our betters lie to us?

The good sister is just preaching pinko commie trash.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

John F. Kennedy’s austere brand of patriotism still shines.
John J. ConleySeptember 19, 2017
Pope Francis greets people as he arrives to visit the Shrine of St. Peter Claver in Cartagena, Colombia, on Sept. 10. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
A Colombian Jesuit reflects on the visit of Pope Francis to his country.
Esteban Morales Herrera, SJSeptember 19, 2017
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., left, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., right, talk while walking to a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington in July. Senate Republicans are planning a final, uphill push to erase President Barack Obama's health care law. But Democrats and their allies are going all-out to stop the drive. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
“The health of the American people is incredibly important...you just don’t railroad something through, something you’ve just whipped together in the last couple of weeks.”
Kevin ClarkeSeptember 19, 2017
The absurdity of "BoJack Horseman" offers an unrelenting, often devastating look into our own humanity.
Eve TushnetSeptember 19, 2017