I’ve been hesitant to say anything about the recent protests and nationwide conversation about American racism and policing that erupted from the horrific murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. This is partly because my expertise, to the extent that I have any, is in religion and science. I don’t see how it helps the cause of racial justice for a religion-and-science “expert” to rush to express an opinion about such a massively complicated, painfully raw topic. At the same time, I increasingly worry that my own demographic – over-educated white people – is taking up a disproportionate amount of room in the movement for racial justice, not to anyone’s benefit. So I thought I would say a brief word about that.
Over the years, I’ve been very consistent on this blog (when it came up) that racism, including police brutality towards black Americans, is a serious problem in, and a moral stain upon, the United States. Racism didn’t magically disappear when Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, and it didn’t evaporate with the end of legal segregation. Things may have improved on many fronts, but the United States has not somehow wiped clean its moral slate by having, say, twice elected a black president.