My church book club and I have just finished reading America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege and the Bridge to a New America, by Jim Wallis (Braso Press 2016). Sadly, as a result of reading this book, I have discovered that I have been mostly oblivious to the actual reality of racism and white privilege in America. As a child during the civil rights movement, I had believed that wrongs were righted and that things were better, not perfect, just better. I guess seeing more diversity in TV and the movies has also fooled my perception of reality.
The current political climate has somewhat shaken me out of my bubble. The current President, the right-wing media and the events at and aftermath of Charlottesville have led me to question my worldview. I tried to blame the blatant racism that was oozing into mainstream thought on a morally corrupt president and a few misguided extremists. But, I can now see that this is far from the truth.
Since election night 2016, I have been trying to figure out why people were willing to elect an obvious racist (among many other character flaws) to office. The answer is enough people, afraid of a changing America, voted for a person that espoused their fears. White people are afraid of no longer being a majority and giving up their privilege. Within the next 30 years, we will be a nation of minorities. White people will just be another minority that includes people of all hues, cultures and backgrounds, a rich diversity that can make our country great!
As a nation, we need to create opportunity and fairness for all because succumbing to our fears will be the downfall of our democracy. We need a fair justice system, and equality in education, jobs, housing and healthcare. We need to turn from greed and gluttonous materialism. We need to live up to the ideals of a true democracy, of government by the people for the people, all people, not just white people. We have a long road ahead of us and must work diligently to embrace a new America. No one color or any one socioeconomic class can do this by themselves, we can only do this together by helping one another and creating fair opportunities for all.