How the church can recognize the legacy of slavery and move toward reconciliation

Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., at a ceremony to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first recorded arrival of enslaved African people in America, on Sept. 10 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., at a ceremony to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first recorded arrival of enslaved African people in America, on Sept. 10 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Over the past 20 years, Catholic institutions and leaders have made real efforts toward racial reconciliation. Examples include the U.S. bishops’ anti-racism pastoral letter “Open Wide Our Hearts” in 2018; the formation of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism in 2017; individual statements from church leaders, including Bishop Edward K. Braxton’s 2016 pastoral letter on the Black Lives Matter movement; religious men and women acknowledging their history with slavery, including the Jesuits in 2016 and three orders of nuns in Kentucky in 2000; and the U.S. bishops’ 2001 collection of essays Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself.

“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 education, employment, housing and migration; guides for clergy to lead discussions on race; and educational material for students at all levels.

These efforts are helpful, but the church can do more. And this summer, The New York Times provided a template worth considering.

The U.S. church can create an accurate timeline of its history and relationship with slavery—rather than waiting for the secular media to do it.

The 1619 Project was published to commemorate the 400th anniversary of what many historians believe was the first transport of African slaves to the European colonies that would become the United States. That summer, two English privateer ships attacked Portuguese vessels and captured 20 to 30 enslaved Africans. In August of that year, the White Lion arrived in present-day Virginia, and its crew sold several Africans to the colonists as indentured servants. Eventually, more than 12 million Africans were forcibly transported during the trans-Atlantic slave trade, including about 380,000 who were taken directly to North America. By 1860, the slave population in the United States had grown to four million.

The extensive work by Nikole Hannah-Jones, who spearheaded the project, and other writers, historians, sociologists and photographers traces this history. They argue that no part of American life is untouched by the legacy of slavery, from our prison system to our daily traffic jams (the result, in part, of segregationist housing patterns). In an interview about the project, Ms. Hannah-Jones said that it is for “Americans who are not black, so that they could understand this history and ongoing legacy and really reckon with our true identity as a country and who we really are. I wanted to reframe the way that we see this history and the way that we see ourselves.”

The 1619 Project was published to commemorate the 400th anniversary of what many historians believe was the first transport of African slaves to the European colonies that would become the United States.

Black worshipers have always been part of the Catholic Church in the United States and yet, as Tia Noelle Pratt recently wrote in America, there is often “incredulousness that surrounds the very idea that black people are Catholic.” Rather than serve as a safe space for black Catholics, Ms. Pratt writes that the church has become “a place where [racial] segregation is heightened and perpetuated.” She argues, however, that there is still time for the church to show black Catholics—and all black Americans—that it is committed to racial justice.

One way to do this would be by using the 1619 Project as a teaching moment and as a model for the church’s own efforts toward reconciliation. Here are two ways that can happen.

First, the U.S. church can create an accurate timeline of its history and relationship with slavery. While the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops provides great resources, as mentioned above, there is a need to clarify which Catholic institutions had connections to slavery; which bishops or other members of the clergy used enslaved persons as free labor; which Vatican documents were used to condemn or support slavery; and what the official church teaching was on slavery.

In my own research, I have come across history I was unfamiliar with, including the 1452 papal bull by Pope Nicholas V, “Dum Diversas,” that granted Afonso V, the king of Portugal, “full and free power, through the Apostolic authority by this edict, to invade, conquer, fight, subjugate the Saracens and pagans, and other infidels and other enemies of Christ,” language that was used by Catholics at that time to justify the institution of slavery. I also found “In supremo apostolatus,” a decree by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839 condemning slavery. Creating and making publicly available an accurate timeline that acknowledges such history would be beneficial to Catholics and better than waiting for the secular media to do it.

Second, the church can conduct a nationwide study asking Catholics how well they understand slavery and whether they believe its effects are still being felt today. An example of what such a study would look like was conducted by The Washington Post in July. The poll surveyed 1,025 U.S. adults and found that 67 percent agree that the legacy of slavery still affects U.S. society today a “great deal” or “fair amount.” The study found that younger Americans were more likely to agree, but it did not include data on religious affiliation. The church could conduct a similar study among U.S. Catholics.

Making this kind of research readily available for Catholics would be a concrete way for church leaders to follow up on the call to action they issued in “Open Wide Our Hearts.” By engaging in historical study like this, the church and its leaders can continue to show their commitment to eradicating racism in the United States and, as Ms. Hannah-Jones said, help to “reframe the way that we see this history and the way that we see ourselves.”

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Christopher Lochner
1 year 2 months ago

Let's cut through it. How much money do you want? That IS what we are talking about here after all.

John Walton
1 year 2 months ago

I searched this article for the term "forgiveness" -- it is absent. If confession and contrition are bona fide and truthfully intentioned sin is forgiven -- a fundamental tenet of our Catholic faith.
I can forgive Cromwell for herding my forebears into a church and torching it, I am sure that the Dutch can forgive Phillip II for the Inquisition and execution at the stake. What is it that you cannot forgive?

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

John, the incidents you mention happened 400-500 years ago and each was limited in time (20 years or less in the 1500s and 1600s). There is no rational --- or decent --- comparison to the enslavement in the US of Black human beings from 1619 to 1865 followed by 154 years of systemic, institutional and cultural racism.

John Walton
1 year 2 months ago

Are you a member of the "Church of No Forgiveness" ? Seems inimical to the Church of Christ who died on the Cross to forgive us our sins.

J Jones
1 year 1 month ago

John, it seems to me that it is extraordinarily difficult for white Americans to even acknowledge that slavery HAS a legacy. That is the starting place, John.

Judith Jordan
1 year 2 months ago

So many comments here are about other countries and groups who had slaves or were involved with the slave trade. It reminds me of kids who try to defend a wrong they committed by pointing out that others did it too.

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

Yes. I thought the same

JR Cosgrove
1 year 2 months ago

So many comments here are about other countries and groups who had slaves or were involved with the slave trade

The author brought it up in this article.

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

This article is about the Catholic Church in the United States.

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 year 2 months ago

Judith
Reread the article...the author references those other countries etc.
You seem content to strip the examination of slavery in America from the history and then contemporary views and practices of all the other countries in the world. That is an intellectually dishonest approach. There was nothing unique about slavery in America and the views of American slave owners. The most salient fact the author alludes to but does not press is that slavery in the “Catholic Americas” far exceeded the extent of slavery in the non Catholic United States.

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

This article is about the Catholic Church in the United States.

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 year 2 months ago

J Jones
The Article is about the Catholic Church...it is not limited to the United States as its references to Papal Bulls in the 1400s demonstrates.

J Jones
1 year 1 month ago

Stuart, we agree thatbthr following statement is rude. Reading comprehension teachers just rolled over in their graves.

Judith Jordan
1 year 1 month ago

Stuart--
I am a historian by love and profession. I consider it a sacrilege to be intellectually dishonest or to strip the examination of anything concerning history. What is the purpose of anything without truth?

It just seemed to me there were numerous comments about slavery in other countries as opposed to addressing U.S. slavery more. It is merely an opinion. No need to blast me with everything I actually detest.

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 year 1 month ago

Judith
I believe that the comments about the acceptability and practice of slavery in other countries...especially neighboring “Catholic countries” were made to illustrate that America’s Original Sin was not at all original in any sense that it was unusual or not in keeping with world wide accepted practices. Those references provided genuine context to the American situation.

J Jones
1 year 1 month ago

Those comments provided one of many contexts to the American situation while wholly ignoring or refusing to acknowledge and address this one: to the persons enslaved, the most important context was and is their lives and the lives of the generations that follow and continue to follow. THAT is the context which outraged and offends and must, at all costs, be distracted from by reminding African Americans of other contexts.

Tim O'Leary
1 year 1 month ago

JJ (and Judith) - It is the fixation on "US" involvement in slavery that is unfortunately myopic and damaging to the African-Americans alive today. It has a two-sided insinuation, one against US "white" Americans and an even worse one against US "blacks." It ignores the context that should be more uplifting of African-Americans and perpetuates a stereotype of permanent dependency and deficiency of our brothers and sisters. Furthermore, it implies that alone among oppressed people across the world, African-Americans are uniquely still handicapped, like some child incapable of self-rescue and independence. The Democratic idea of reparations sends the message, against all the evidence, that only further largess from "white" privileged Americans can rescue them. Racial paternalism seems to have never left the Democratic Party. I say the black man is my equal and my brother, not my dependent. He is fully capable of equal partnership and equal responsibility in building up our great American society. Individuals of any race may, through many of life's hardships or setbacks, be less fortunate than me, and I have a duty to all of them, regardless of the color of their skin. Don't forget anybody and please don't perpetuate racial animosity.

Read Thomas Sowell (large opus), Shelby Steele (White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era), Coleman Hughes, Jason Riley, Carol Swain, Armond White, Star Parker, and Michelle Bernard and you will get an of what real African-American freedom means.

Judith Jordan
1 year 1 month ago

Tim O'Leary---

Racial paternalism? I don’t know how old you are, but perhaps you lived through, or read about, the passage of the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s. This was led by LBJ, a Dem; the northern Republicans; and, the Dem Party, minus the southern segregationists, who eventually left the party and migrated to the later Republican Party. Ever since the 1960s, the Dem Party has fought and struggles for black equality. Perhaps you know about the Republican effort to dismantle parts of the Civil Rights Act. Since you strongly support equality and not dependence for blacks, I assume you will join us Dems in our fight to stop laws that have a discriminatory impact on blacks.

I have read some work by the people you cited for your sources. Some of them have some good concepts. However, I find it strange that conservatives always present the same group of people to support their views. It is like a convenient little kit for them. I invite you to expand your research beyond this small group and discover all the scholars (there are many, many more of them than your group) who have researched and written about the systemic racism that still exist.

As one of them stated, “You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, ‘you are free to compete with all the others,’ and still justly believe that you have been completely fair. Thus it is not enough just to open the gates of opportunity. All our citizens must have the ability to walk through those gates.”

Tim O'Leary
1 year 1 month ago

Judith - you make too many assumptions. I was always a supporter of MLK and it was southern Democrats who opposed him. More Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act as a percentage than Democrats did (see link below). So, the Democrat party has to deal with its sordid legacy. I also supported JFK then. The big problem today is that the Democratic Party has abandoned MLK's approach of judging people as individuals (he said "character") and not groups. The Democrats are hell bent on identity politics and it is absolutely clear that they want to judge people by group membership (as in the color of their skin: white or black or brown, etc.) rather than as individuals. Tragically, they are perpetuating racist thinking. Their legacy is still being tarnished when it comes to racism.

https://www.countable.us/articles/17557-fact-check-republicans-voted-civil-rights-act-percentage-democrats-did

J Jones
1 year 1 month ago

Tim, you are ignoring (and misconstruing MLK on) institutional and systemic racism and white privilege which result from and in attitudinal, behavioral and relational racism and white privilege.

Tim O'Leary
1 year 1 month ago

JJ - it is you who are misinterpreting MLK. If you have never heard or read MLK's speech on the Mall, you should do so (link below), or again if you did at one time. It is legendary. It is fabulous. It is powerful. It is religious. It has no theory of "white privilege" It is a demand for the rights promised in the Declaration of Independence, in the Bill of Rights, in the same treatment of peoples irrespective of the color of their skin. This is all the opposite of the modern Democratic Party, where there is a new Jim Crow plan that just reverts the colors, with its reparations talk, its affirmative action, its self-segregation in schools and university graduations, its "no-white-man-need-apply" gatherings, its double-standards, its inability to see & judge someone without a racial lens.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. (My Lord) I have a dream today."
https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/i-have-dream-address-delivered-march-washington-jobs-and-freedom

J Jones
1 year 1 month ago

Tim, Martin Luther King Jr was assasinated in 1968 in Memphis during the Sanitation Workers' strike because he was addressing systemic and institutionalized racism and its twin sin of white privilege (though that phrase did not exist then). A tug 2019 tug of war over MLK between two white Americans is repulsive in the context of an article about historical and ongoing institutional and systemic racism in the U.S. Catholic Church. I am not going to pursue it with you.

Systemic and institutional racism and white privilege, regardless of the impact on the African American community, are unjust. Your comments are part of a narrative which seeks to convince African Americans and other Americans that efforts focused on addressing injustice is a vote of no-confidence in African Americans. It is dishonest. And the ultimate aim is to place the onus on African Americans to eradicate by pretending the irrelevance of racism and white privilege perpetrated by institutions and systems and narratives which remain overwhelmingly white-dominated.

Tim O'Leary
1 year 1 month ago

JJ - the resilience of your white racism runs deep. Like the white man's burden of Rudyard Kipling, it is actually a form of white supremacy in that you are convinced only whites can save the world from racism. Your dismissal of MLK as dead and gone fits this mindset. You will be shocked at the racial/tribal problem happening in South Africa today (where blacks are telling Black Nigerians "Go back to where you came from"). But, I know your avoidance excuse - "don't distract me from my gazing at my white privileged belly button" https://qz.com/africa/1705349/how-south-africa-xenophobia-attacks-on-africans-is-driven/

J Jones
1 year 1 month ago

Tim, this entire comment is a distraction from the article.

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 year 1 month ago

J Jones
Ms Segura urged a “reexamination of history of slavery” in the Catholic Church and especially in the new America ...the how ,what ,why and when.
No one denies or deflects the horrific experience of slavery. What Ms Segura has called for requires context...... historical context to achieve her stated goal. ...such context does not denigrate the experience of Slavery but it does inform as to why slavery was undertaken without moral scruples.

J Jones
1 year 1 month ago

Stuart, again you distract from "the legacy of slavery" which is institutionalized racism and institutionalized white privilege, the latter of which includes the privilege of telling African Americans how to respond most appropriately to that legacy.

Judith Jordan
1 year 1 month ago

Stuart---
Many of us do not view the concept of America’s original sin as a notion that history and other counties had slaves before we did. Everyone knows that slavery existed for centuries before the founding of the American Republic.

We view America’s original sin as having to do with establishing a country that proclaimed our values as “all men are created equal,” with “unalienable Rights” to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” We placed freedom and equality at the heart of the American experiment. The U. S. Constitution, a document revered by many Americans, directly protected slavery.

Our values contradicted our slavery. From the beginning, Americans have been trying to reconcile our values of freedom and equality with the original sin of slavery in this country.

When speaking about slavery, Thomas Jefferson said, “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.”

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 year 1 month ago

Judith
The point was very simple there was nothing original about America declaring equality and freedom while slavery was existent.....It happened allover. Napoleon waged war all over Europe under “liberty fraternity and equality”.....yet he reinstituted slavery in I believe 1804....reversing its abolition some 10 years before.

Jefferson may have trembled but he kept his slaves during his lifetime.
Abraham Lincoln himself did not emancipate ALL the slaves.....just those in the Confederate States in rebellion.....Indeed Lincoln in the Lincoln Douglas debates stated he believed slavery was a matter for each state to decide...the only issue was the Territories where the Federal Govt had sole control.
Further there were no substantive differences between slavery and the serfdom in countries where liberty and equality were revered ideas of the enlightenment. The physical brutality of slavery varied from culture to culture as did the conditions of serfdom.

J Jones
1 year 1 month ago

Distraction distraction distraction.

Judith Jordan
1 year 1 month ago

Stuart---
We all know what you stated.

I maintain my position about what America's original sin was about. And like Adam's original sin, people are still suffering over it today.

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

I remember a CCD class when I was six or seven and growing up on a war mobilized Air Force base in the deep South in the late 60s and early 70s. My off base elementary had been integrated in the last year or two, when I was in first grade. Our CCD teacher - surely an Air Force wife and mom - told us we were going to color. She passed out boxes of crayons, having asked those of us with brown eyes and blue eyes to raise our hands. We received crayons only if we had brown or blue eyes. Our teacher put the leftover boxes of crayons on her desk at the front of the room and told us to begin. It took very little time before our small group became upset and angry - my memory is that a lot of us cried - and, having failed to get out teacher to pass out the rest of the crayons, scooted our desks together so everyone could color. The teacher turned a basic school activity (coloring) into a privilege and a bunch of little Catholic kids instinctively knew it was wrong and cruel and, in very little time, established a just and Christian response.

My parents told me later that, after we solved the inequity (after we brown eyed and blue eyed six and seven olds rejected our privilege), the teacher passed out the rest of the crayons.

Privilege SHOULD be painful to people conscious. Privilege SHOULD be uncomfortable for Christians. Privilege SHOULD be rejected by Catholics.

Rhett Segall
1 year 2 months ago

In 1966/67 I taught history at a Catholic HS near Baltimore, Md. 10% of the 900 students were African American. In the lunch room the blacks would sit together. Trying to nudge towards integration, I asked one of the blacks if he might encourage his friends to mix with the whites. "Why?" he said. "We like to sit together." That's when I realized that social engineering is not a wise approach to the issue of racism.

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

Rhett, did you ask any of the 810 white kids if they might encourage their friends to sit with the Black kids?

Did you spend time with the
Black kid to get to know why?

Rhett Segall
1 year 2 months ago

I see your point about challenging the white students. No, I didn't ask the whites to sit with the blacks. I was surprised that there was spontaneous separation. The time I spent with blacks and whites was the normal interaction that circumstances presented. I realized my modest, but important, contribution was to teach clearly from the perspective of history the facts of racial interaction. Holding students accountable for understanding them and treating each student with respect is the teacher's roll vis a vis the home, the Church, the government, etc.

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

Thanks for your response, Rhett.

Tim O'Leary
1 year 2 months ago

The idea of group blame and group contrition and group privilege and group reparations and group superiority and group hate is the central flaw that underpins racism (and antisemitism) . Martin Luther King Jr. felt this was anathema to justice, as this dragnet punished the innocent with the guilty. J Jones and Judith and Sunny and Olga and most Democrats are unwilling to follow MLK's dream because they really have no interest in ending racism or finding justice. Their identity politics mission is all about a power and money grab. The great tragedy is that they are fomenting racial animosity and hurting the very people they claim to care about.

Judith Jordan
1 year 1 month ago

Tim O'Leary---

I have to “rise to speak” as my grandmother used to say. Conservatives opposed Dr. King’s work and his peaceful marches; conservatives arrested him in GA and only a phone call to GA from a Democrat, JFK, freed King; conservatives opposed a national holiday for King after his death; and, conservatives generally found great fault with him. Now you have the audacity to use Dr. King to condemn the Dems and me.

I am a 76 year old, white grandmother. From the beginning I supported civil rights, marched peacefully in protest, was non-cooperative with segregation laws in the South, etc. But you have decided I have “no interest in ending racism or finding justice.” It is difficult to know how to respond to such a low level of attack.

Tim O'Leary
1 year 1 month ago

Judith - you make too many assumptions. I was always a supporter of MLK and it was southern Democrats who opposed him. More Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act as a percentage than Democrats did (see link below). So, the Democrat party has to deal with its sordid legacy. I also supported JFK then. The big problem today is that the Democratic Party has abandoned MLK's approach of judging people as individuals (he said "character") and not groups. The Democrats are hell bent on identity politics and it is absolutely clear that they want to judge people by group membership (as in the color of their skin: white or black or brown, etc.) rather than as individuals. Tragically, they are perpetuating racist thinking. Their legacy is still being tarnished when it comes to racism.

https://www.countable.us/articles/17557-fact-check-republicans-voted-civil-rights-act-percentage-democrats-did

J Jones
1 year 1 month ago

Systemic and institutional racism and white privilege which, regardless of the impact on the African American community, are unjust.

Judith Jordan
1 year 1 month ago

Tim O'Leary--
I make too many assumptions? You accused me of having “no interest in ending racism or finding justice.” I did not assume anything about you. I never wrote anything about you and King. I merely talked about my experience with civil rights because you so cavalierly accused me of not caring.

Are you under the impression that King did not talk about groups and condemn them? Read more of King’s speeches and writings. It was because of some groups’ bigotry that he hoped we would arrive at a level where we would judge people by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. By reading some postings, you can see we are still a long way from that dream.

Your comments about what Dems believe do not come from the Dem. Party. It is nonsense spewed by the right wing. Dems are not judging people by group membership or the color of their skin. It is just silly to say that. We do condemn people who are racists or try to enact discriminatory policies. There are some whites who work to promote equality, some whites are indifferent, some whites are racists, and some whites are… We could hardly place white people into one lump group.

You are buying into the mantra from the right wing when it talks about liberals. They have also said we hate American and are anti-God. Perhaps you recall when Dems did not continually applaud Trump at his first State of the Union Address. He accused us of being un-American and that we must be guilty of treason. He is trying to make loyalty to him synonymous with loyalty to our country. Of course, since then he has accused numerous Americans of being guilty of treason...a new low for a president.

I have a suggestion. Rather than reading about what the right wing says about us, why not read what we actually promote.

Tim O'Leary
1 year 1 month ago

Judith - you just made another unwarranted assumption about me - that I haven't read other of King's speeches and that I get my ideas from "the right wing." wherever that is. You say we are "still a long way from that dream" where "we would judge people by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin." EXACTLY - please stop doing that and be part of the solution and not the problem!

Some examples of refusing to do that is to argue for reparations, which HAS been endorsed by several of the Democratic Presidential candidates and which by definition requires a racial test. Or to persist with race-based affirmative action, race-based classes in some colleges, race-based graduation ceremonies and painting all Americans of European descent with the derogatory "white privilege" brush (even those who have just arrived or have just been born). Just stop supporting this racist stuff and we will get closer to MLK's character criterion.

J Jones
1 year 1 month ago

Judith, I respect the fact that you are a historian. And, yet, Stuart and Tim are interested in engaging in rabbit hole distractions from the reality of systemic and institutional racism and its twin sin of white privilege from the inception of slavery through today. They distract to international history; they distract with - in this context - picayune histories of two political parties dominated for the whole of U.S. history by white American men. I cannot articulate it just now as I prepare for a work trip but there is (in Tim's effort to insist that African Americans are infantilized and hobbled by the identification of and call to dismantle ongoing racism and white privilege in the U.S.), a permutation of the effort to blame African Americans for the harm done by institutional and systemic racism and white privilege.

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 year 1 month ago

J Jones
I know you will acknowledge the following : you comment is utter poppycock, balderdash nonsense resorting to the White Privilege Meme which has become a crutch for those with the lack of a coherent argument.
Life long Democrats have a very difficult time reconciling the 100+ year history of the Democrats following the Civil War. ...best to avoid it or denigrate it entirely by your calling it “picayune histories” and injecting male domination too boot!
If White Privilege has any validity as a concept it is only because the Democrats initiated it. Judith tries to deflect by blithely referring to those Democrats as “conservatives”.....(.Have you ever bothered to look at Robert Byrd?)

J Jones
1 year 1 month ago

Stuart, I leave the argument about U.S. political parties to you and others. It is a distraction here. It is one more way not to talk about the focus of this article.

The power to exclude is the power to include. The power to deny is the power to approve. The power to punish is the power to reward. The power to demean is the power to dignify. The power to discriminate is the power to privilege.

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 year 1 month ago

J Jones
Clearly you feel the burden of what you declare as White Privilege....fine you are entitled to your own pinion and the burden it imposes . But not content with that you then declare and presume to assert that others must bear that burden as well. Beto O rourke (a guy whose family is worth about $4 Million) constantly apologizes for his “White Privilege “ and advocates for all sorts of Social Welfare programs to relieve his guilt and the guilt of his listeners who of course must have the same White Privilege burden . Yet check out Beto’ s Charitable giving for the past 10 or so years.....$1166 In 2017 ...and averaging less than 1% of his income in prior years. What’s the point ?: Declarations of White Privilege are just virtue signaling ...devoid of real content

J Jones
1 year 1 month ago

White privilege is systemic and institutionalized in conjunction with institutionalized and systemic racism.

J Jones
1 year 1 month ago

Stuart, I don't "feel guilty" and I don't "feel the burden" of the privilege granted me because of my white skin. I simply do my best to refuse to participate in racism when I recognize it and to refuse privilege when I recognize it. Example: I joined a Catholic ministry with the understanding that I would be sharing a volunteer leadership role with an African American woman who had successfully performed the role for 2 years. I had been on the project one week when the monthly management/board meeting happened. The all white board asked me to update them on the program. I declined and deferred explicitly to my colleague, her tenure, her expertise, her update. I informed the board that I was learning a great deal from my colleague and that she and I would notify them when she and I agreed that I was fully oriented and prepared to alternate with her the task of providing program updates at board meetings. After my colleague updated them, a board member stated she had picked up the non-profit's new credit cards, checks and other banking documents. She handed me the bank deposit bag containing those items. Without comment, I handed the bank bag directly to my colleague and looked around the table, silently waiting for the next agenda item.

THAT is what I am talking about. A refusal to participate in their racism toward a trusted, tenured African American volunteer leader and a refusal to accept the privilege they extended to me, a volunteer leader about whom they knew very little and who had been around a matter of days.

No guilt. No burden. Simply a just refusal to participate in their racism and a just rejection of the privilege they offered me.

Judith Jordan
1 year 1 month ago

J Jones---

Thank you for your comments. My frustration is often when talking to conservatives or right wingers. I don’t understand how anyone can discuss a subject without already informing themselves about both sides of the issue from credible sources.

I am often horrified or amused to find out from the other side what Dems believe. Often, they are things I have never heard of. It takes me back to the anti-Catholicism before JFK was elected. The anti-Catholics would tell me all kinds of wild tales about what Catholics believed. I would try to explain that they misunderstood and I would explain our beliefs. They never believed me and insisted they knew our beliefs. I confess, I would go home and we would all be entertained with the crazy stories I heard. I still do that with nutty stories about the Dems.

Of course, with Trump we have millions of people believing things that are not even close to being true. I think the man would lie when the truth sounds better. I have never seen a president even coming close to his behavior. His supporters say he says what he thinks. Yes, but so does a toddler.

Have a safe and successful trip.

J Jones
1 year 1 month ago

Judith, running out the door after watching the morning's news. (Side note: yes, the dishonesty of this President and his administration is profound and reflexive. And I knew Mike Pompeo would eventually prove himself to be typical of those in Trump's closest circle, when this happened: https://mobile.twitter.com/senmarkey/status/1022225187864018949).

I pray America's editors continue to publish on this topic.

appreciate your contributions here.

E.Patrick Mosman
1 year 2 months ago

The 1619 Project is misidentified as this year 2019 marks the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the first slaves in the New World, a landmark that has caused many to look back on the legacy of slavery in America.
https://usslave.blogspot.com/2013/06/florida-history-built-on-slavery.html

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