By Ty Kinter | Contributor
James Baldwin, African American writer, once stated, "Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced." Last week in The Echo, there was an opinion piece that argued racism will end if we quit talking about race. Having studied racial issues this semester through my participation in Taylor Theatre's production of "Clybourne Park," I feel compelled to write a response.
One of my main points of contention with last week's article is the idea we should "stop talking about race . . . as if it is something that permeates our society." Take a look at neighborhoods throughout the United States. Redlining, the discriminatory practice of lenders refusing to lend money to borrowers in certain neighborhoods, and gentrification, the process of displacing poor (often minority) community members by affluent (often white) home buyers in poor neighborhoods, have torn communities apart. This is the result of racism permeating our society and laws.
Redlining started the process of division by race by allowing housing loans to only go to families within white neighborhoods, starting with the National Housing Act of 1934. Gentrification continues the cycle of whites having more home improvement resources. Not discussing these issues would only allow the never-ending cycle of segregation to continue.
As a Christian, I have a hard time ascribing to the research that concluded "No one is born racist." While I agree that we are not born racist, we are born with a sin nature that has led us to many racial disputes since creation.
Racial issues did not start with America and slavery in the 1800s, and it will not end anytime soon. Even if we managed to forget the history of racism in our own country, racism would reappear in our society because we live in a fallen and depraved world.
As a white man, I have the luxury to ignore our racial past and current racial divide, but I am choosing instead to engage in the dialogue. Historically speaking, white people have been the primary offenders. I thus need to do my part in the healing process. This is not a simple "I'm sorry"; I can't ask minority communities to forget about the racial abuse from the past that also continues today. The healing process needs to come directly through discussion and reconciliation.
Sadly, racial issues are like a rash on society, but rashes are not normal. A rash is a sign that something is wrong. We as a community need to address the problem, not ignore it. God has created us fearfully and wonderfully, and our diversity reflects the depth and beauty of our creator. Together, we can try to work toward a healing solution.