Homespun Symposium: Racial Reconciliation
What do you believe is necessarry for true racial reconciliation to take place in American society? Does your solution involve coercive governmental remedies? Do you believe that Churches have an important role to play in this process?Frankly, I think what's necessary is for those who seek the profit margin in racial tension to go out of business. I think the conditions on the ground are ripe for a sweeping racial reapproachment, but there are those who have too much money or self-worth bound up in a group struggle that pits black against white. They must be defeated.
The remedy doesn't really involve government intervention except that criminal investigations into various race-exploiting people ought not to be stymied because of political pressures. That includes investigation for extortion, tax evasion, brutality, and voter suppression. Rather, the remedy comes from explicit and sustained denunciation and punishment that comes from the actions political communities take to police their own leaders.
Who are the flies in the ointment? From the Right I offer Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Julian Bond, and whoever wrote/authorized the 2000 James Byrd NAACP ad. I'm willing to hear the list from the Left as well as their objections to this list; I'm also willing to hear additions/subtractions from the Right too.
Part of this will just be generational, I hope; eventually the old guard for whom it is always Selma 1965 will die off. As those with long memories of old grievances (whether remedied or not) exit the scene, the stage will be set for those who have grown up under vastly better conditions to shape events and movements in response to the current state of affairs. By actively seeking to marginalize the professional agitators, we reduce the chance that bitterness and grievance get passed down like a family heirloom to new generations.
(As a result, I think voting habits will change. Indeed, the best thing for the political prospects of black people is for 35% of them to vote Republican in an election that does not involve a black person. That increases their desirability as a swing voting bloc and reduces the influence of those who rely on inflammatory racial rhetoric to keep them a monolithic voting bloc.)
As for churches, I think the part they play in racial reconciliation is largely separate from this marginalization (unless, of course, black churches start publically disinviting Jackson and Sharpton.) Their greatest contribution is to organize cross-racial Christian events (mostly where there is proximity of racial mixes, often in cities) and to enforce Christian discipline on those who try to opt out based on racial considerations. As there is neither Jew nor Greek, nor should there be either black or white when it comes to the Kingdom of God.