Despite Progress, Racism Persists

Sep 24th, 2016

“During the past 40 years our nation has made significant progress in the struggle for racial justice. There is a greater appreciation for the value of racial and ethnic diversity and a greater willingness to condemn blatant and overt forms of racist behavior. Important legislation has been passed that officially protects civil rights and promotes greater racial equality. For many people of color this has meant an opportunity to make important advances in terms of economic and social wellbeing. 

Yet, as is evident in the examples I cited above, racism is alive and well today. It remains in our midst as one of America’s and Minnesota’s most serious unresolved evils. It divides us in fundamental ways, and it threatens the lives and dignity of millions of human beings. 

The faces of racism are many and varied, but the evidence is all around us….At the same time, the facts and figures of contemporary life demonstrate the disturbing economic and social gap that exists between white people and people of color….When we see these extreme disparities in 

social and economic outcomes for people of color as compared to whites, we need not agree on the precise cause of these inequities. The very existence of these disparities based on race is an offense against the basic norms of social justice. For these extreme inequalities are clear signs that the principles of human dignity and human equality are not being fully realized. They are a clear call for us to respond and to undo these injustices, even if we have not personally and directly caused them. 

Experiences and facts such as these convince me that racism is a continuing problem for all of us. It is a social evil in which we all share and from which we all suffer. If we are to grow spiritually as individuals and socially as a community, then we all need to do more to come to grips with the sin of racism in our own hearts and within the institutions that make up our church and our society.” 

~Archbishop Harry J. Flynn, In God’s Image: Pastoral Letter on Racism, September, 12, 2003 http://www.archspm.org/pastoral_letters/gods-image-pastoral-letter-racism/ 

Peace & Justice Committee