Black­face, Liam Neeson and Adi­das — they’re not the real prob­lem

Chicago Sun-Times - - OPINION - Rev. Michael L. Pfleger, Faith Com­mu­nity of Saint Sabina

In the last cou­ple of weeks, we have watched Vir­ginia’s Gov. Ralph Northam and At­tor­ney Gen­eral Mark Her­ring both ad­mit to wear­ing black­face; ac­tor Liam Neeson talk about go­ing out and look­ing for a black man to kill; and Adi­das hav­ing to pull back a Black His­tory Month shoe that was “all white.” Re­ally?

While I think the gover­nor and at­tor­ney gen­eral should re­sign, I also think it is easy to box in our anger at these in­di­vid­u­als and at Adi­das and miss the deeper is­sue. If we only tar­get our anger and en­ergy at them, it can give cover to the real prob­lem and make Amer­ica feel good — as though she has stood up to the prob­lem of racism.

I be­lieve that’s why Mr. Trump and so many oth­ers tried to tar­get Colin Kaeper­nick and claim his stance was about dis­re­spect to vet­er­ans and the flag, so we could refuse to deal with the real is­sue of racial pro­fil­ing and the killing of black men in Amer­ica.

The truth is the gover­nor, the at­tor­ney gen­eral, and Neeson are sim­ply the fruit of a na­tion with racism and big­otry in its DNA. It is the same DNA that al­lowed a pro­claimed Nazi, Art Jones, to re­ceive 25% of the vote in last year’s con­gres­sional elec­tion in Illi­nois. Un­til we have the courage to deal with the roots of a coun­try birthed in geno­cide and built on slav­ery, and to ex­pose our racism, we will con­tinue to see new fruit come forth time and time again. Amer­ica, like South Africa, needs a “Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion,” and faith com­mu­ni­ties need to once again be­come the moral com­pass and prophetic voices that con­front racism and ex­pose it from our pul­pits.

So yes, let’s deal with this present fruit that is be­fore us, but let’s use this mo­ment to go to the roots of the tree. Racism, big­otry, priv­i­lege, supremacy and en­ti­tle­ment are the orig­i­nal sins of Amer­ica. It’s time to re­pent and be healed!

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