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