Beware structures that reinforce racism, says Catholic group

Protesters square off against police in riot gear during a rally for Michael Brown outside the police department in Ferguson, Mo., Oct. 11. Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis urged people to turn away from violence as a new round of demonstrations began over the shooting death of the African-American teenager this summer in the small town of Ferguson. (CNS photo/Jim Young, Reuters)

Protesters square off against police in riot gear during a rally for Michael Brown outside the police department in Ferguson, Mo., Oct. 11. (CNS/Jim Young, Reuters)

As Americans struggle with claims of law enforcement bias against people of color and retaliatory crimes against police, the Catholic Committee of Appalachia has called on white Christians to “open themselves to the voices and experience of people of color to be confronted by the reality of their personal and cultural assumptions and prejudices.”

Lamenting continual violence against people of color by law enforcement authorities, the four-page statement stresses the need to address the systemic racism that persists in the United States.

“That such continual violence against people of color would come from those charged by society with ‘keeping the peace’ should be an apocalypse –- that is an unveiling -– for Americans of the reality of white supremacy and social structures that serve, reinforce and transmit racism in this country,” said the statement, timed for release on the feast of the Holy Innocents this Christmas season.

“Indeed, recent events have revealed to many of us that the faces who represent peace and order in some neighborhoods represent terror and repression in others, especially those inhabited primarily by persons of color,” it said.

“We join with countless persons and communities who explicitly or implicitly invoke the God of life by insisting loudly and clearly that black lives matter and that people of faith cannot merely keep silence at the foot of the crosses of our crucified sisters and brothers,” it continued.

The committee invites white Christians to “conversion in one way or another,” especially conversion which is “both personal and societal, a conversion which confronts our own fears, prejudices and privileges as well as the social structures which express, transmit and perpetuate relationships of domination.”

Jeannie Kirkhope, CCA coordinator, told Catholic News Service the statement is the first on any topic in many years from the committee.

Members had been mulling what to say about the controversial actions of police and decided to speak out because they were not hearing about racism and law enforcement violence from church pulpits, she said.

“The prophetic voice of the Catholic Committee of Appalachia has always been there and we wanted to bring that out again,” she explained.

Speaking out on racism is not new for the committee. In 1990, CCA issued a statement on bias, racism and prejudice and called for respect and reconciliation as a wave of hate crimes swept the country.

 

8 Responses

  1. what politically correct rubbish. The days of trying to intimidate whites to feel ashamed of their colour, heritage and history are over. If you are so interested in racial and religious supremacism, turn your guns on islam and those African countries that refuse citizenship to any without black african heritage

  2. I can’t believe what I am reading.

    “We join with countless persons and communities who explicitly or implicitly invoke the God of life by insisting loudly and clearly that black lives matter and that people of faith cannot merely keep silence at the foot of the crosses of our crucified sisters and brothers,”

    Black men commit more violent crime than any other group in the country and then they persistently resist arrest. It is only in the last few years as video cameras have become ubiquitous that we are even allowed to see the race of perpetrators because the liberal media would not report the race of violent criminals because they were so often black. They don’t want us to know just how bad the race war against white people is. Can’t you people see that?
    I find that absolutely appalling. You’re not prophets You’re brainwashed by the incessant drone of the liberal media that “black lives matter,” so you really think that “white” police are actually devaluing the lives of black men. Just because the president and the attorney general inject themselves into local issues because they are black you automatically assume the president and the attorney general are honest and fair? They are black and cannot separate themselves from their blackness. We now have a trigger in Washington that when pulled can set off black riots anywhere in the country and the powers behind the president are working to centralize power in Washington led by a black president who oversteps his powers all the time.

    I am a Catholic and proud of it and I say “All lives matter.”
    Has anyone decried the fact that blacks so often resist arrest and must be taught to cooperate with the police and submit to them when they are told to put their hands behind their backs? Has anyone made a proclamation that blacks should not provoke black crowds to “burn this f****er down?” Is anyone teaching these young black men how to live in civilized society? Do you realize that good innocent men are dead (a Hispanic and a Chinese policeman in NYC) because this liberal nonsense has encouraged blacks to murder them?
    Black men need discipline and there are good black men out there who know this is true and say it but they don’t have the liberal media trumpeting what they are saying. What black men don’t need is to be patronized by a bunch of bleeding hearts and made to think that violence against innocent white people is a black entitlement.
    The article reads:
    “The committee invites white Christians to “conversion in one way or another,” especially conversion which is “both personal and societal, a conversion which confronts our own fears, prejudices and privileges as well as the social structures which express, transmit and perpetuate relationships of domination.”
    Jeannie Kirkhope, CCA coordinator, told Catholic News Service the statement is the first on any topic in many years from the committee.”

    1. To be murdered is to be supremely dominated. I suggest you ask the murderers to stop their method of domination, not the victims.
    2. It should be the last topic the CCA addresses in public given their bad judgment on this one.

  3. When those with civil or moral authority fail to confront a lie they become complicit and partially responsible for the consequence of that lie. Those consequences include burned, looted and destroyed property, the ruined the life of a police officer and the murder of two other police officers. That lie, first perpetrated by an accomplice of Michael Brown, is and was symbolized with a gesture and “hands up don’t shoot”. It is perpetuated on signs and T shirts. Braving threats “Snitches get stitches” reliable witnesses, risking their own lives testified that Michael Brown charged Officer Wilson minutes after he attempted to tried to wrestle officer Wilson’s gun from him and shoot him with it. Officer Wilson’s testimony was corroborated during an exhaustive grand jury investigation . And it was not contradicted or refuted by an extensive investigation by the FBI. Al Sharpton, not willing to accept truth, characterized the grand jury’s investigation as “a travesty of justice” .Michael Brown didn’t have a weapon, he didn’t need one to perpetrate lethal violence against another person. At 6’4″ and 300 pounds he was a weapon, a weapon who had just brutalized a convenience store clerk in a strong arm robbery, a weapon who attempted to remove an officer’s gun and use it against him, a weapon who was again charging the officer like a 300 pound linebacker with the intent of sacking him and murdering him.

    When Cardinal Dolan stands side by side with Reverend Sharpton and does nothing to challenge a lie spoken again and again in words and symbolically what young Catholic would want to become a police officer or teach in an inner city school? My daughter who doesn’t have a racist bone in her body was accused of racism and had her life threatened while teaching nursing in an inner city college. When proven lies are retold and retold and accepted as truth respect for education, our court system, the rule of law, private property and human life is lost. Above all, truth itself becomes a victim. In these circumstances “institutional racism” becomes a trite expression. It looses meaning. It becomes a mockery.

  4. Please see Bishop Blaxton’s reflections on the racial divide. I understand the strong statements that defend our police, but they also reflect a polarized perspective. The Bishop encourages us to cross the divide and reach out to our police. There is also need to recognize the reality of rascism. We are brothers and sisters of God Our Father. Let us pray for one another rather than react with venom.

  5. With due respect to Bp Blaxton’s there are good reasons for the police to talk to someone who doesn’t look like they belong to a given neighborhood. On April 27,2003 a neighbor out for his early morning walk noticed 2 men in a car parked down our street. “They didn’t look like they belonged to this neighborhood.” At 10:30 AM my wife interrupted a home invasion by these same 2 men. They had advance knowledge of the layout of our home and its contents.10 days earlier one of these individuals had committed a home invasion/robbery and murdered a man and his handicapped daughter. In the early morning April 28 2003- one day after invading our home, these men committed another home invasion and brutally murdered a woman,her teenage son and daughter, raping the daughter in the process. Through a small miracle we avoided a similar disaster at our home. My wife and grand daughter testified at the murder trial.Our neighbor did not alert the police of the presence of these 2 men- he didn’t want to appear “racist”. Bp Braxton certainly would have accused him of racism! Call me racist if you want but I hope the next time a neighbor encounters a similar circumstance he calls the police. Next time a miracle may not save this family from disaster but a policeman asking the simple question “Who are you and what are doing here?” might.

  6. Fair bit of bigotry in these responses, very disappointing. Black people don’t need “teaching” anything and it ill behest us to opine they might, whist displaying that of the teachings of Christ (“love one another “, that) we have scant knowledge.
    Listen to black people. Acknowledge them, eschew “colour blindness” for the lazy racism of the liberal, and learn.
    Those of us whites who’ve had a tiny taste of the bitter aloes of bigotry, should know better than to blame those drink from a bucket of it every minute of ever day, and cannot walk away from it, simply because they aren’t white.

  7. In the instances continually cited as police brutality, I note that each officer was responding/reacting to the behavior of the suspect. Since it’s the behavior they were focused on, race would at the very least have been a secondary concern. Even the T. Martin incident was mischaracterized to be a white on black incident, when Mr. Zimmerman was clearly Hispance/Latino. Again there were circumstances that mitigated Mr. Zimmerman’s actions. There may indeed be instances of racism, but better examples are needed.

  8. If black lives matter why doesn’t this group demonstrate in front of abortion clinics which take more than 300,000 + black lives a year in the US? Or at the Democratic convention whose platform supports the continuing that slaughter? The most dangerous place for a black child is in his or her mother’s womb. We have a black president who sees a child as “punishment” “But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.”

    A “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” is about to be introduced into congress. Let’s see how much Rev Sharpton, Rev. Jackson and President Obama really value innocent black lives!

    Mother Theresa pointed to the greatest destroyer of peace and love, “By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, that father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. The father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.” Do we even have to ask , “Why all the violence in our streets?

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: