Recently, in a waiting room at a local hospital, I noticed a stack of programs from the Interfaith Center for Racial Justice (ICRJ). The programs were apparently distributed to attendees of the 30th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Celebration, which was held the previous week.
Since I had never heard of the organization, I was curious to see what it was all about. The first page of the program featured a message to the attendees, pointing out that the evening festivities would focus on the message of Dr. King found in his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” There was this quote from the letter:
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all directly.
These are noble words and worth pondering. But they are followed by this from the Center:
We need to examine that garment for voter suppression, substandard education, racial discrimination, immigrant biases, gender biases, and the lack of intellectual curiosity, just to name a few of the mis-stitches in our network of mutuality.
Well, this is quite a list of evils, and they instantly triggered my ‘Spidey Senses.” I was sure I could to determine their source:
- Voter suppression: White people who want to require photo IDs for voting.
- Substandard education: White people (mostly suburbanites) who refuse to provide sufficient funding for inner-city schools.
- Racial discrimination: White people because only whites are capable of racism.
- Immigrant biases: White people who believe that immigrants should be legal and be assimilated into America’s culture and values.
- Gender biases: This one is tricky. It could be mostly white people who believe that genders are not changeable. Or it could be white business owners who supposedly pay women less than men.
- Lack of intellectual curiosity: White people who do not make the effort to find out just how bad things are for minorities in this country and how they (white people) contribute to their misery.
Now before you declare that I am paranoid, let’s look at the program for that evening.
The featured speaker was Jocelyn Benson, the CEO of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE). I know little about this organization, but I do know that Ms. Benson is also a board member of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC is a hard-core leftist organization that describes the U.S. correction system as “the New Jim Crow . . . marred by vast racial disparities–one that stigmatizes and targets black men for arrest at a young age.” The Center also has a database that identifies 892 hate groups, but Black Lives Matter is not one of them. Why? Because “the perception that it is racist illustrates the problem. Our society as a whole does not accept that racial injustice remains pervasive. And, unfortunately, the fact that white people tend to see race as a zero-sum game may actually impede progress.” Can you figure out which group is the problem in America?
Further into the ICRJ’s program we find an article by Pastor Bart Beebe, who is the president of the board of directors of the Center. Pastor Beebe reviews a book by one Robin DiAngelo, entitled What Does It Mean to be White? Developing White Racial Literacy. The good pastor quotes from a what he describes as a key point in the book:
Racism: A form of oppression in which one racial group dominates others. In the United States the dominant group is white, therefore racism is white racial and cultural prejudice and discrimination, supported intentionally or unintentionally by institutional power and authority, and used to the advantage of whites and the disadvantage of people of color.
There those white people go again.
A third article in the program is written by Steve Mustapha Elturk, Imam of IONA and executive board member of the Center. IONA is the Islamic Organization of North America. Imam Elturk entitled his article “Black Lives Matter.” Alturk assures the reader that Islam teaches that all people are equal. This may come as a surprise to non-Muslims who live in Muslim countries. In 2003, the Pakistani Christian Post stated the following:
For many Christians it is a de facto reality of living in a Muslim country that they are thought of and treated as second-class citizens. In virtually every Muslim majority context around the world Christians face social discrimination on a daily basis. They are faced with prejudice and social exclusion.
But I digress. Elturk tells the reader that there is much to learn from the Black Lives Matter movement and that Muslims should “know and understand the injustices the African American community face; the disadvantages they endure, be it education, healthcare, voting rights, law enforcement and workplace discrimination.” Elturk concludes his essay thusly:
Racism and discrimination are rampant and innocent people, be they African Americans, Muslims, Latinos or other minorities, continue to be victims of the structured and institutionalized racism our country continues to harbor and cultivate. We’ve had enough, and it must come to an end.
Well, if all minorities are discriminated against, then one can conclude that the majority is the problem. And we all know who makes up the majority group, don’t we?
There are other articles in the program I could highlight, but there is little point, since they all have an anti-white bias.
Sadly, I have learned in the last several years that as soon as I see an organization that has either the word racial or justice or both, there’s an excellent chance that its basic message is that America is an evil country because it is dominated by evil white people. The people at ICRJ may deny this, but it would be a hard sell given the contents of their own program.
And for those who keep insisting on a “dialogue about race,” why should any decent white person participate when the purpose of such a conversation is neither understanding nor healing but simple race-baiting instead?