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My fav Martin Luther King, Jr quote, shared during his phenomenal “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, August 28, 1963,
 
““I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
 
If you’ve never heard this speech it’s worth your time to watch it on YouTube.
 

 
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

It’s been a slow build for about 5 years now, significantly faster and more in the last few months, the number of biracial, or mixed race, or interracial couples featured in television or print product commercials. Combos vary, black husband, white wife and vice versa, sometimes mixed-race kids, certainly Latino or Hispanic and white or black, and longer standing back to the overseas wars, white man, Asian woman. 

I like it. Seems like a reasonable, harmless, creative, and now realistic way to acknowledge America’s melting pot. I don’t buy the articles floating around calling this a “war on white men.” I know that exists among the fringes, but this isn’t it. I also reject the racist comments I’ve read about these commercials. Humbug. Ever notice that many (not all for sure) yelling “racist” are themselves racist? 

American society is changing. Of 332M people, 13.1% black, 5.8% Asian, 18.1% Hispanic, Latino, 1.3% Native American, white 76.6%, and while white is increasing at .5%, all others are increasing 1.3% to 3.1%. 

Marriage between two people of different races in America has been legal in all states since the US Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia (1967), held that “anti-miscegenation” laws were unconstitutional. In 2017, 17% of newlyweds and 10% of all marriages involved individuals of different ethnicity or race. 

Again, no problem for me. Despite a sad and checkered history of Christian interpretation, there is nothing in Scripture that questions much less forbids interracial marriage. I’d be more concerned that during COVID-19 lockdowns, divorces have jumped 34% higher compared to 2019, and that’s for any or all races and ethnicities.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Race, racism, and racial politics continue to bedevil America. 

I’ve shared my views of race and racism, and on race, racism, and social justice, as well as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s Civil Rights Movement. I’ve talked about re-establishing order in urban streets and the Defund the Police movement. I’ve been particularly vocal about the danger of “Woke” ideas for American culture, the threat of “Wokeness” upon education, and the growing influence of “Woke” philosophy upon the Church.

I tried to develop a Christian worldview perspective—though I do not claim to be a philosopher or a theologian or anything other than a person who sees through a glass darkly—to avoid partisan views, which I find singularly unmotivating and inconsistent on both sides of the aisle, or even to buy-in to any ideological philosophy, though anyone who actually reads my writing will know I am conservative, little “c”.

For all this, I find it frustrating that some people seem to think they know what I believe, yet apparently have never read my writing, and others who presume to know what I believe based upon some portion of what I’ve said, or, they simply disagree and therefore find my point of view uncompelling. 

A number of things bother me, here in no particular order:

  • When I listen to conservative friends, liberal friends, and a few black friends whatever their ideology, it seems to me they are not listening to one another. By this I mean, for example, that I hear different concerns and the same words used with different meanings.
  • I don’t like it when people use social media in an in-your-face fashion, posting “Blue lives matter” or “All lives matter,” both of which I affirm, not alongside but seemingly in opposition to “Black lives matter,” which I also affirm. Why must these value statements be set up as “versus” rather than “both/and”?
  • There are extremists on both the Left and the Right who seemed to have gained an outsized voice, who are shouting their vitriolic messages so loudly, and who have been given so much airtime in Big Media as well as Big Social Media that other moderate, i.e. reasonable, voices are drowned in the cacophony. This includes groups like Black Lives Matter or Antifa on the Left and Proud Boys or KKK on the Right, along with various white supremacists, militias, anarchists, and others promoting overthrow of the American political system.
  • Black Lives Matter has pulled off an amazing and unprecedented coup gaining alignment and hundreds of millions of dollars from American corporations, universities, public schools, and professional sports associations and leagues. The group has done this in part due to the tragic death of Georg Floyd at the hands of police officers and in part because of the genius of their name. Who can or wants to speak against “black lives matter”? Of course, they matter, but the organization is anything but a simple racial justice advocacy group. It is thoroughly grounded in Marxist theory, promotes anti-biblical values and goals, and whether intentional or not, in much that it does advances a new racism in the name of anti-racism. What’s enormously concerning and frustrating about this is that the supportive corporations, educational, and entertainment organizations noted above are all diving in with both feet, afraid of being labeled anything but supportive, and seemingly doing this uncritically, thus embracing values that can or will undermine their very existence in a free, democratic, and capitalist society.
  • Critical Race Theory, now promoted by BLM and being taught in universities and until recently the federal government, is a dangerous and damaging set of ideas that undermines potential for racial reconciliation. There is no redemption or forgiveness in CRT. No dissent, only submission. MLK, Jr. would not recognize and I don’t think support much of what claims to be heir to the Civil Rights Movement. Support for Black individuals realizing the full measure of their citizenship, for sure. Peaceful nonviolent protest, absolutely. Rejection of American constitutional ideals and free enterprise, No. Promotion of Black justice vs objective, truthful justice as such, No. Violence in the name of justice, No. Identifying race as the end-all-be-all of life, No.
  • “Defund the Police” makes no empirical or even common sense, yet it is being embraced by cities across the country. But it was not long ago that the Clinton Administration touted its effort to put 100,000 more police officers on the streets. What happened to this? School teachers have long been told, “Don’t punish the class because one kid misbehaves.” Yes, bad or rogue or evil cops exist, and they should be discovered and removed if not put in prison for their own crimes. Yes, sad incidents have occurred in which a black person has been killed by a police officer, only later to discover that this was not a “righteous shoot.” But the number of times this has occurred per capita and accounting for the number of incidents and shootings that take place is very small. This is not to minimize or trivialize the loss of life. It is not to argue that racism does not exist in the criminal justice process. It is simply to say that criminal justice reform and accountability for bad cops can happen without defunding police departments. This is an emotional, unwise over-reaction. 
  • I do not agree that “silence is violence,” nor do I agree that all white people are by definition racist any more than I think all black people are racist or possess some other negative characteristic. To argue this is itself racist because it condemns an entire category of people based on an assumption, based on the sin of given individuals. 
  • Race politics in America is in a bad place to say the least. Right now, it’s extremists with the loudest voices screaming at each other on the opposite end of the teeter-totter. No real change will take place until right values are identified and embraced:

                     --That all individuals are created equal and loved by God. No one race is better much less supreme. No one race is entitled. 

                     --What people of all races hold in common as human beings is more and greater than what our minds determine divides us.

The Church needs to speak to the moment, not touting Right or Left but applying the whole counsel of God.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Racism qua social justice has become a front-and-center issue in American society. I’ve written on the topic before, attempting to apply a Christian worldview to the subject, but there’s more to the story.

American culture, at least if Big Media is to be believed, doesn’t seem to have made much progress in recent weeks. Tensions remain high and, sadly, new incidents of police actions involving white officers and black individuals have occurred, which fan the flame of frustration among black citizens in particular. 

And there’s another influence afoot. You don’t have to buy into conspiracy theories to conclude that certain groups, Left and Right, want to keep this issue raging because in their view it helps move them toward their political goals. This perhaps is especially the case in 2020, a presidential election year in the United States.

Insofar as the topic—race, racism, social justice—is raised, comments seem to be one-sided rather than conversations, which may generate more heat than light. Examples might be the broadsides now offered regularly by celebrities and sports figures, whether on social media or covered in “the news.” Some are just virtue signaling. Some hold deep convictions and make strong comments, which is their right to make in a free society, but not much give-and-take is encouraged or is yet possible.

A number of barriers stand in the way of conversations about race, racism, or social justice right. In no particular order:

  • Nuance seems to have been lost. It’s all or none. You’re for me or against me. Either you agree with me or forget it, it’s not worth my time to talk with you. Cancel culturecan take over here.
  • Feelings not facts rule the landscape. Much of what’s being promoted on Big Media, let alone Social Media, is about emotion, passion, or “righteous anger” rather than evidence or history (in fact some of the worst arguments are ahistorical, like the idea the USA was founded upon white supremacyand has been ipso facto about slavery from the beginning, which in this view was 1619 not 1776).
  • Reductionism is the prime directive, meaning everything is now about race. This is the erroneous idea that everyone is a racist, and sooner or later racist ideas, generally white supremacy, are somehow involved in the structure and function of American society. 
  • Arguing America, the least racist society in history, is about nothing but racism ignores progress. The USA did fight a Civil War to end slavery, Jim Crow segregation laws were largely ended by the Civil Rights Movement, and the USA elected to its highest office a person from a formerly rejected race. There is now plenty of case law and cultural support for black Americans, such that nothing really stands in the way of any given person working to pursue opportunities. 
  • There is an enormous difference between the Black Lives Matter (BLM) Movement today and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Indeed, the BLM leaders today are not in the same league with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. BLM is an organization given to Marxist ideas, anti-American perspectives, and a comfort zone with violent protest, whereas Martin Luther King Jr’s approach was based upon peaceful resistance and nonviolence. Plus, he wanted black citizens to have access to all their civil liberties as American citizens. He did not want to destroy the American system. BLM does. BLM’s social justice does not ultimately offer justice for anyone.

For example, destroying property is not considered violence by some activists because it can be rebuilt. But what if it’s your house? Your business? A minority-owned business, like many that have been ruined in riots in American cities> 

It’s like state governors deeming some businesses “non-essential,” in their COVID-19 lockdowns. This may be fine for them, but these businesses are indeed essential to the people who own and/or work there and who depend upon them for their livelihoods. Same for property destroyed by riots. It’s violence to those owners.

  • We've been hearing, or seeing on placards, "No justice, no peace." But there is a precursor to this that the wisest political philosophers understood. "No law and order, no justice no peace." It is impossible to have the latter without the former.

No less than Pope John Paul II said the American Founding Fathers “clearly understood that there could be no true freedom without moral responsibility and accountability."

So, people who work outside the law to tear down society tear down their opportunity for what George Washington called "ordered liberty," and thus for justice and peace.

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters," Benjamin Franklin

Embrace lawlessness, jettison moral virtue for the "prevailing acceptable narrative" du jour, and risk losing liberty and justice for all.

  • But if racism exists, can’t we find ways to root out the actual source of racism without falsely accusing everyone of racist attitudes and without tearing down the American system of order and liberty that gives all races the best chance to succeed?
  • Huge problems confront American society affecting all races: children born without a father in the home; female-headed households which in themselves are not the issue, the issue is an associated lack of education, undeveloped employment skills, and limited to no assistance from a spouse earning income; alcohol or substance abuse including prescription medications; poverty; mental illness; child abuse; domestic and sexual violence; human trafficking; pornography; gambling, and more. 

Each of these problems are unforced errors, self-inflicted wounds. Each involve human choices. Each can be avoided, yet they persist at overwhelming levels threatening thousands of families and millions of children. Racism exists. We should combat it based upon facts and time-tested religious values. But racism is not alone responsible for harming personal wellbeing and opportunity. 

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Joe Biden said, you ain’t Black if you vote for Trump. Now Jemelle Hill says you’re racist if you vote for Trump. What you think of the President notwithstanding, isn’t this sort of labeling “racism”?

Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility is, according to John McWhorter, a professor at Columbia University, “one of America’s favorite advice books of the moment is actually a racist tract. Despite the sincere intentions of its author, the book diminishes Black people in the name of dignifying us.” Another critique of this book can be found here.

“Karen” is now being used as a racist slur against white women.

“The white culture, according to the museum, is evidenced by such priorities as the nuclear family, a strong work ethic, rugged individualism, and politeness,” so said the African American Museum in Washington, D.C., until a backlash forced them to remove the chart propounding these ideas. The museum also listed Christianity as a whiteness characteristic; this is a new racism being touted as “anti-racism.”

“Blackness” and “Whiteness” are now finding their way into public school curriculums

Going to National Parks is White, and racist?  According to a segment broadcast on ABC News, Yes.

PepsiCo, which owns Quaker Oats, announced plans to retire Aunt Jemima from packaging on its brand of syrup and pancake mixes because it's "based on a racial stereotype." Owners of Uncle Ben's, Mrs. Butterworth's, and Cream of Wheat also announced their products' packaging would be reviewed. Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream said its Eskimo Pie brand would be renamed. Trader Joe's will remove 'racist packaging' of brands including Trader José's, Trader Ming's.

Two great narratives about Black and White are presently in a Cold War.

If calling someone the “N-word” is a terrible racist slur that should not be used, and it is, why isn’t calling someone a “White supremacist” in the same category?

Describing businesses as “white-owned” or “black-owned” is not now simply descriptive but a way of promoting racial division, or what we used to call “segregation.” Something we worked to set aside in the 1960s is now resurrecting in 2020, in the name of anti-racism no less.

Identity politics in one source of this movement and at its worst identity politics is about class or ethic/racial warfare, which argues for inclusion but by definition is exclusionary, often arguing for silencing other views, rather than about ideals, constitutionally enshrined human rights and civil liberties for all. MLK, Jr worked for the latter and would not recognize much that passes for racial justice today, at least not as promoted by Black Lives Matter the organization.

One authority called racism a “mental illness.” Sorry. Not so. It’s sin. Medicalizing or psychologizing the problem won’t make it go away or make it any easier to understand, and certainly not resolve it.

Racism is wrong no matter who expresses it.  Substituting a new racism for the old is not a solution, nor is re-segregating America.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

—Church attendance is not OK (C-19 threat); Protests are OK (no C-19 threat). The illogic on this one is astounding.

—Government orders re COVID-19 pertain only to the virus and produce no collateral damage. Political leaders eager to lockdown states in the name of public health seem to believe their actions don’t have any ripple effects or unintended consequences, but unfortunately, they are wrong.   

Somerville, MA city ordinance (likely the first) legally recognizes polyamorous domestic partnerships, changing the definition of a relationship as an "entity formed by two persons” to an “entity formed by people." 

—Human beings are reducible to race, and racism is the root of every problem, so the solution is to re-segregate America.

Critical race theory promoting identity politics and racist ideology, criticizing traditional families as sexist or oppressive, and leveraging victimhood as a tool to power is good for society.

—American patriotism is passé, or worse, evil, because America is morally illegitimate.

—Lawlessness should not be prosecuted if it fits a “social justice” narrative. 

—Historical illiteracy or revisionism (a.k.a. falsehood) is credible if it advances a “social justice” narrative.

—“People will do what they do” passes for political leadership.

—Silence is violence. This one forgets this is a free country wherein people can choose to speak or not to speak as they see fit.

—To be White or “Whiteness” is ipso facto to be racist, or actually to be fragile and supremacist. Using or calling someone the "N-word" is considered a horrible expression of racism, and I agree, but why then is it OK to call people "White supremacist," also a racist designation?

—“Colorblind” is racist. Contrary to Martin Luther King, Jr’s vision for Blacks to realize their full rights and position as American citizens, many of today’s anti-racist agitators are propounding decidedly racist views.

—-Defund the Police. This is the most irrational idea currently getting traction. It’s about ideology not statistical reality and I am afraid for the cities buying this fantasy. 

In none of this am I suggesting racism does not exist or that we should not work toward liberty and justice for all. Nor am I saying everyone who cares about racial injustice embraces these ideas; they do not. These ideas represent extremes, though right now the extreme seems ascendant in media and public discourse. 

What I am saying is that much that is currently argued in the street and in media propounds failed and dangerous ideas that if adopted will result in more racism, less liberty and justice, and the destruction of liberal democracy. 

This is a substantially more threatening plague than C-19.

In the meantime, the absence of wise adults in the public square is taking an emotional toll on us all.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.