So we are reviewing one of many Christian articles on racial reconciliation. And it seems that many of them have one trait, which in reality is a flaw. That flaw is to try to contribute to racial reconciliation by focusing solely on racial discord. Currently I am listening to such a podcast that quotes Martin Luther King on racism without quoting him on other subjects that he linked to racism.
The article being reviewed here is by Mark Galli (click here for a bio) called The Burden And Promise Of Racial Reconciliation (click here for the article). Now this article references another article to which I did not have full access to. However, by what could be read from both articles, the prospect of racial reconciliation is both restricted to just racial issues and is Christianized. And the problem with Christianizing the solution to racial reconciliation is that it provides no such solution to a secular world that rightfully clings to religious freedom along with the fact that part of Christianizing the solution means that we must wait for the Judgment Day before we can expect any significant degree of relief from the plague of racism.
With that being said, the article made one point that is never made enough times. That point is that the founding of our nation was based on racism. In our nation's case, that racism has been against both Blacks and Native Americans.
Yes, the article also talked about both exposing and righting some wrongs. But in the end, a key component to racial reconciliation is never mentioned though it was mentioned a number of times by everyone's favorite race reconciler: Martin Luther King Jr. In the end, the initial steps that lead to racial reconciliation include following the the money. Consider the following quote my King as he spoke out against the Vietnam War (click here).
I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
Here, we should first note that we cannot solve our problem with racism by focusing on racism alone. Racism, materialism, and militarism are also referred to as racism, economic exploitation, and war are triplets, in another speech (click here) are linked together. We should note that materialism and economic exploitation are two sides of a multiple sided object as is war and militarism.
The second thing we should note is that, according to King, racism cannot be solved using a divide and conquer approach. We just cannot solve racism by focusing on it at the exclusion of the other evils. And this is where the current discussions, especially those coming from religiously conservative Christians, fall short and perhaps with good reason. To cure racism, according to King, we need to change our economic system to one that stresses sharing and cooperation as much as it promotes individualism. So we need a new economic system to cure racism (see the speech that used the term 'economic exploitation' in place of the term 'materialism'). We also need to reduce, if not eliminate, our reliance on war and militarism.
In the Vietnam speech, King identifies the general ethic society must adapt in order to eliminate racism. That general ethic consists of society counting people as being more valuable than things like gadgets, profits, and property rights. When we put the two speeches together, we not only are told that we must restructure our society's economic system, society must change its values. But unlike the Christianized solutions to facilitate racial reconciliation, King presents us with civic ethic that infringes on nobody's religious rights unless they are worshipers of Ayn Rand.
Unfortunately, many pretenders will sanctimoniously quote King on how we can eliminate racism. And they do so never having fully read him. Because if they had read him, they would have realized that, according to him, we must address the evils of racism, materialism/poverty, and war/militarism together in order to just make a significant dent in one of them. In addition, not all of the changes needed to reduce racism in this nation will be welcomed changes. To change from Capitalism will result in disrupting the financial and ideological lives of many who passionately embrace a comfortable lifestyle. Why? Because unless one changes one's economic system, the hoarding of resources and the pursuit of the self will only ensure what the statistics continue to say: that wealth disparity reigns over the economic lives of the races and thus at least one race will always feel it is being short-changed by society and its systems (click here). The fruit most often produced by a continuing of such disparities is resentment. And without eliminating race-based resentment, there can be not significant reduction in racism.
After staring into the abyss, many of us better see the need for us to put a major dent into racism. But unless we learn King's perspective on how to battle racism, we will not only fail to battle racism, we will be sabotaging our own efforts. This article fails to view racism from King's perspective and thus it fails in adequately addressing the subject.