We fool ourselves if we believe racism is no longer a problem in our communities, our nation and, yes, even in our churches.
I run into evidence of persistent racism and racist attitudes frequently.
The "N" word is alive and well in our culture.
I watched a debate last Saturday on CNN about the use of that offensive term. The debate arose in response to a defense attorney's argument that his white client, on trial for beating an African American person, could not be accused of committing a hate crime simply because he was shouting the term during the attack. The man's lawyer referenced the frequent use of the term by black people in daily speech and in popular music, calling it a "term of endearment."
As a white person, I can never see the term as anything but evil. When I hear it, I cannot remain silent, nor can I ignore it.
I know and I remember where the word came from.
There was nothing endearing about Jim Crow laws and culture.
Racism is evil. Always.
And, let's be clear. Racism is not the same as simple prejudice.
Racism is personal prejudice coupled with the power to impose the determinations of that prejudice on others and on the community. This is the story of Jim Crow.
It is out of this power matrix that the "N" word originates. It is around hateful power that it does its unjust and evil work. Don't be fooled about the importance of this word.
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Rising from Ashes
Larry James' Urban Daily
A repository of ideas, resources, commentary and opinions concerning the issues facing low-income residents of the inner cities of the United States and how mainstream America largely forgets or, worse, ignores the day-to-day realities of urban life for the so-called "poor." Written and edited by the President & CEO of CitySquare. Please visit CitySquare.
Today and throughout 2013, we need your support to continue our life-changing work in inner-city Dallas. Every day hundreds of our wonderful neighbors arrive at our doors seeking our assistance, offering their help and prepared to pursue a better life. Frankly, the folks we "serve" make essential contributions to the scope, nature and soul of the work we attempt. At CitySquare we honor and recognize the amazing value and richness of our low-income neighbors. During 2012, almost 55,000 different people received the benefit of our wide-ranging services designed to assist in the process of building better lives. We need your help TODAY as we continue to respond to the needs of our community. Even more, we need you to become our PARTNER in the work of compassion and community renewal--work that continues day after day at CitySquare.