July 18, 2019 Editor

It Has Long Been Past Time To Take A Stand

July 16, 2019

by Henry Karlson

image above: GDJ: Stop Racism / Pixabay

WN: Trump is doing great evil in America and across the world. Every Christian pulpit in the nation — and beyond — should be declaring with Amos, Micah and Jesus:

Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese, 1760–1849), “Misty Kirifuri waterfall at Kurokami Mountain,” ca. 1833. Woodblock print on dyed paper, 37.6 x 27 cm. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.

Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living. — Amos 5:24

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. —  Micah 6:8

But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. —  Matthew 23:23 (Jesus quoting from the Micah passage)


On April 4, 2001, for the 33rd anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr, Cardinal George released his pastoral letter on racism, Dwell in My Love, which he celebrated in 2011 with a 10th anniversary edition of the letter. Recognizing at the time that explicit forms of racism was readily condemned, Cardinal George pointed out that the influence and power of racism continued in four different forms:

In examining patterns of racism today, four forms of racism merit particular attention: spatial racism, institutional racism, internalized racism and individual racism.[1]

Spatial racism, according to him, was the way in which our built environment, our cities, are planned to often promote white privilege. Institutional racism is where such privilege is found promoted and reinforced in the traditions of our institutions. Internalized racism is how people see and understand each other through the lens of the dominant culture within society, not being allowed to have their own cultural heroes outside of those promoted by those with racial privilege. Lastly, individual racism promotes racist attitudes and stereotypes, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously. All four forms of racism can be shown to work together, reinforcing each other. What is important for us to realize is how society as a whole creates the conditions for such racism, especially in and through various structures which govern and control society. This is where institutional racism comes into play, helping to reinforce and propagate racism:

Racism also finds institutional form. Patterns of social and racial superiority continue as long as no one asks why they should be taken for granted. People who assume, consciously or unconsciously, that white people are superior create and sustain institutions that privilege people like themselves and habitually ignore the contributions of other peoples and cultures. This “white privilege” often goes undetected because it has become internalized and integrated as part of one’s outlook on the world by custom, habit and tradition.[2]

What began as a campaign against the other – against immigrants – has quickly become a campaign against the other within the United States, against those who challenge Trump’s privilege. David Graham is right in saying, “By attacking the black and brown women of the squad, he is not just pitting citizen against immigrant, but citizen against citizen. This is a significant shift.”[3] It is, of course, a shift which was to be expected. Trump’s internalized racism would not be mollified by his abusive actions against immigrants. He, and his base, do not want to make America Great for everyone; rather, they want to return to old ways in which elites benefited at the expense of others, the America which, as John Blake explained, had no problem destroying those who were seen as inferior because of their race:

These two Americas have long co-existed.

One is the country represented by the Statue of Liberty, and its invitation to poor and tired immigrants “yearning to breathe free.”

The other is the one that virtually wiped out Native Americans, enslaved Africans, excluded Chinese immigrants in the late 19th century and put Japanese Americans in concentration camps.[4]

Catholics [all Christians] must look to the common good. They must stand with those unjustly oppressed by racist ideologies and policies. They must speak up against Donald Trump and his constant embrace of supremacist ideologies. The supremacists get it, which is why they continue to applaud what he is doing.  What was once hidden has now come to light.

Racism remains a dark and deadly power in the United States.

It is not only time to take a stand, it has been long past time to take a stand. Because the people of the United States, because its religious leaders, because its religious adherents have been distracted, the dark underbelly of America’s racist past has returned and shown itself in power. It cannot be allowed to remain.

Please click on: Long Past Time to Take a Stand

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.