I, Racist
John Metta

Is it simply my whiteness that makes me complicit in the racial problems that still exist? What about the white members of my Congregationalist church who went to Mississippi in 1965 as freedom riders and did other volunteer work to eliminate segregation and other injustices during that time? What about the fact that I enrolled my son in an all black preschool to counteract the racism against blacks he was learning from his hispanic father? How about my talking to my black friends about their experiences around race? And, I guess it doesn’t count that when another white person reacted to a Facebook post about police violence against people of color by saying that there was no institutional bias, I challenged his comments and referred him to CopWatch.

I suppose all those white people moving away from areas with high crime rates (which unfortunately all too often happen to be black neighborhoods) into areas with less crime are, as stated in your sermon, participating in racist behavior. What about African Americans who move away from those areas for the same reasons? Are they racist too? What about the anger many blacks have about white people moving INTO traditionally black neighborhoods, and accusing them of forcing blacks out through economic means.

These are complex social problems. To categorize all people of any race, religion, ethnicity or gender is an ism that needs to be addressed and eliminated. I do not in any way deny that there are still enormous systemic problems around race in this country. I, like many other whites, wept over the recent church shootings/burnings because in my heart of hearts I do not want to live in that kind of world. It pains me enormously that there are still those who would do those kinds of things.

Accusing me of being racist because I’m white, while failing to acknowledge the ways I’m truly committed to eliminating racism in what are sometimes transparent ways, is an alienating reaction. This simplistic approach is parallel to the racist ideology so many of us, white and black, are consciously working to eliminate. Let’s see the good in each others actions, hearts and minds, and not base our judgments on the color of their skin. Thank you.

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