I ended yesterday’s DM with a suggestion that we surrender our naivete about racism in American. The response of Americans of all races to march peacefully to protest the killing of Mr. Floyd by policemen and to protest other atrocities in our justice system is a sign of hope, of transformation on the horizon.
We dare not forget or mute our outrage at the fact that an avowed white supremacist has an office in the West Wing of the White House, his salary paid by all of us. Stephen Miller has the president’s ear on a daily basis, even drafts some of his speeches for him, and had lots to do with the policy of separating babies from parents at the border. His own family has disowned him for his long-time racism.
While we are on the subject, have we forgotten that a policy of separating children from their parents goes back a very long way in American history?
Slavery embedded that practice into the everyday lives of black people the moment they were put on the auction block and it only increased as a regular practice as slavery spread and made our nation prosper (economically, not humanely or spiritually).
The same policy played out with Native Americans. Tens of thousands of children were taken from their families and put into boarding schools often located hundreds of miles from their parents (and often run by religious groups and often ripe with abuse). Why? “Becoming civilized” was sometimes the pronounced reason.
My friend Buck Ghosthorse was such a child, stolen from his home on the Lakota rez in South Dakota when seven years old by Mormon missionaries who raised him, cut his hair, forbade him to speak his language and of course forbidding any exposure to his culture’s rituals.
Nor should Mr. Miller’s presence in the White House be ignored when we hear how the current administration has put out a declaration that there should no longer be any racial sensitivity training in our federal departments of the government.*
Just as no one is to use the terms “climate change” in Trump’s government, as of this past week such terms as “systemic racism,” “white privilege,” and “anti-harrassment” need to be deleted from governmental discussions. A workshop on “Structural Racism and Environmental Justice” scheduled at the EPA was cancelled. A leader at the National Park Service declared a “chilling effect” is in the offing.
The realities of racism in American history call attention to the accomplishment of Black Lives Matter which is to awaken us to how racism is baked into so much of American history. It is time to rebel, which is to say, to change course.
Call it “metanoia,” call it “transformation,” call it an historical turning point, call it people voting, call it what it is: An opportunity for America to grow up and be honest about its past so we can build a saner, less imperial, less patriarchal, more communitarian, more caring and more just future.
See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil and Soul and Society, pp. xxxf., 202-206, 209, 273.
Banner Image: What are the values we want our society to demonstrate? Image by Matteo Paganelli on Unsplash
Queries for Contemplation
Who defines “becoming civilized” for us? Isn’t it wonderful that we are living in an historical moment when we are challenging one another to redefine what community means and that racism is not part of the future like it has been of the past? Does this bring a deeper meaning to your own life and work and citizenship?
Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society
Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them.
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science. A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics