Sojourner Truth House - Gary, Indiana

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Musings on January 6 Insurrection—2021

We've closed our video series on Racism (Finding the Truth on Fridays), but we will continue to recommend books and movies to help keep the conversation going, a conversation we so desperately need to have with one another. If we didn’t think we need to have conversations around race, the events of January 6, 2021 certainly provided us with reason enough.

As we watched in horror at the violent insurrection at the Capitol, two things became abundantly clear to us. The first is the 400+ years of white supremacy that is the original sin of our country. The second is the power of disinformation, half-truths and outright lies.

It was obvious to many of us that, despite months of warnings, the Capitol police were not prepared for the ferocity of the assault at all. However, if the insurrectionists had been Black, past experience would indicate that there would have been a huge police and National Guard presence as we saw at the mostly peaceful protests of the summer of 2020. Black rioters would have been arrested immediately or even killed. The double standard in policing and response to protest only serve to highlight systemic racism raising its ugly head yet again in our history. We wonder if the phrase “Take back our country” really means that some believe America only belongs to white people. Is this indicative of a deep-seated fear many harbor of Black and Brown and Red and Yellow bodies becoming the majority of our population soon? Where does that fear come from?

The culture of disinformation and lies has come to a head now in this incident, but it has always existed in various forms. Ask Native Americans whose parents or grandparents were placed in white schools to unlearn their own cultures and languages. Ask Japanese Americans whose parents or grandparents lived through the World War II internments camps here in America. Ask African Americans whose history of oppression from the early days of slavery through the lynchings and segregation of Jim Crow to the more modern expression of mass incarceration, wealth inequity and healthcare disparity—ask them if any of that has been included in mainstream education and history books, even in the segregated schools they attended. Why, even today, are some school districts making Black history optional for students? What are we afraid of?

We believe that the unity some are calling for rather lightly cannot be attained without a much deeper accountability than arresting people though that is important. The deeper accountability of acknowledging and actively working to eradicate systemic racism from our laws, from our educational, justice, business and health systems, from our understanding of American history such as it is. By digging so deeply into the reality of what America is, we turn over the soil of what can become our true common ground—our humanity with its many colors and cultures—our history, the horrible and the good, all intertwined so that we can’t help but be on our way to that “more perfect union” which is always evolving, always deepening, always better understanding itself. We pray that all of us, including our leaders, sit with this terrible incident, contemplate what happened, what could have happened and why it happened, and then decide to rebuild our democracy around the “Beloved Community” of Martin Luther King, Jr., leaving the false concepts of race and the culture of lies that protected it for so long behind.

Movie to watch: “Just Mercy” Documentary to watch: “13th”

Legacy Foundation is sponsoring Conscious Conversations on books, podcasts and films around these topics - https://legacyfdn.org/community-programs/conscious-conversations/

Books:

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? 20th Anniversary Edition by Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD
Racial Justice and the Catholic Church by Bryan N Massingale
Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism by James W. Loewen

Articles:

“Not So Black and White”The Sun, April 2019 interview of Dorothy Roberts by Mark Leviton
“White Lies”The Sun, December 2018 interview of Ijeoma Oluo by Mark Leviton

YouTube:

13th
Combining archival footage with testimony from activists and scholars, director Ava DuVernay's examination of the U.S. prison system looks at how the country's history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America.
White Like Me by Tim Wise
On White Privilege by Tim Wise
Racism in the United States: By the Numbers
by vlogbrothers

Movies:

Just Mercy
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Best of Enemies