Sunday, 2 December 2018

I am a well meaning male white liberal....

....and it doesn't help.

I've been there and done that with the best of intentions.  But it's scarcely made a thimbleful full of difference to a stinking ocean of bigotry.

Yesterday I browsed the pages of the local Episcopalian Diocesan magazine/newsletter.   The back page of the magazine bears a photo' of the Diocesan Clerics, some one hundred of them, clad in their fine array for a group photo'. Apart from the instantly recognisable Presiding Bishop, the Most Revd. Michael Curry finding back or brown face in their serried ranks is more difficult than finding that proverbial needle in ten hay stacks.

There are maybe less than a handful of black or brown skinned clerics in this Diocese, none amongst the movers and shakers. 

It reminded of the words of  C.O. a Jamaica born woman who was a member of the Vestry at St. James's in Cambridge., the only black skinned person in a Vestry of white skinned people. "Of course" she said "I know that I am a token".  We didn't like it, but she was right

 To have C.O. on the Vestry made us feel good.

 It reminded her of our unthinking but real condescension

One article in the Diocesan Magazine announced that a parish not far from Sarasota is slating a weekly (for six weeks)  programme American Racism: Yours, Mine and Ours.

Good for them of course,  or maybe not.  I can well imagine the dark skinned presenters looking out at a white skinned audience (with a sprinkling of black faces), and thinking "When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?"  

I've been to such workshops and led some of them.  What a great accomplishment, to ace Racism 101 and feel good about it, until from deep within in my soul comes the troubling question: "When will I ever act, when will I act?"


To be well meaning may salve the conscience of white liberals, but it is inadequate.  Worse still it is delusional and dangerous.  It is like placing a band aid/plaster on the arm of a person who suffers from the ravages of cancer and thinking "that should make her/him feel better".

The cancer in the soul of America is racism.  That cancer began with the genocide of native Americans and with the enslavement of  African human cargo in slavery.

It is embodied in our woefully compromised Constitution, (the 3/5  "solution").  Anti-black racism was the fountain-head of the so-called Jim Crow laws -  De-Jure in the former Confederate States -  De-Facto in the Union States.

Abraham Lincoln emancipated Slaves.  He did not and could not emancipate white skinned people from their fear and their subsequent anger.

Their fear.  White skinned Americans are terrified that the "Blacks"  (and people of Hispanic origin) will take over - hence Senator Mitch McConnell's determination that President Barack Obama should be blocked at every turn. McConnell won.  

Post the 2018 election McConnell is already dissing the New York State Representative in Congress-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She has a suspiciously sounding Hispanic sounding name.  

Their fear and anger.  Pres. Donald J. Trump has tapped into the (white) nativist fear of "the other" (in this case people of Hispanic origin).  Hence his determination to build a wall. We all know that his wall has nothing to do with the two U.S.A borders with Canada or with the entre-ports of our many air and sea ports.

I know that in the face of this deeply rooted and systemic white supremacist racism,  being a well meaning white liberal is not enough. It is the system which needs to be changed.

Well meaning parish programmes on anti-racism are all well and good. but they can never cut the mustard.

"Racism 101" parish courses may be more harmful than good when they inoculate well meaning white liberals from endemic racism: the soul killing disease which is at the heart and centre of American political power.

I am a well meaning male white liberal.  Pshaw that's such a feeble cop out. When will I ever learn  and act?

The Racist in Chief
His ally and best buddy, the Senate Majority leader,

The essential gad fly in the new Congress. All power to her!

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