Talking about racial biases.
Abe Markman's comments on his (and our) hidden biases were most welcome ("Overcoming Hidden Biases" M/A 2012). White people need to admit such biases to themselves and realize that black people sense them too. Denial may be the final barrier that keeps us apart.
A conscious adherence to the principle of equality for all--without any barriers--may be the essence of whites' attitude toward African-Americans. Yet if white people are honest with themselves, they should take note of the individual as Markman does: A black woman with a white man, a black professor, and so on. This isn't done with animosity but it does happen, even though it's just another member of the species passing by. The brain is hardwired for many things but it is also very plastic. This bit of flotsam that evolution left stuck there can be overcome. With some effort maybe we can cast it out and with it the secret shame that lies beneath our conscious self-respect.
Thank you for your story, Abe. It is also mine.
Sikivu Hutchinson's article, "Black Churches and Blue-Eyed Jesuses," (M/A 2012) reminds me of a conversation I had with a Palestinian Christian in Jaffa many years ago. He and his fellow Christians found the portrayal of Jesus in the American missionary handouts both amusing and insulting. Their Jesus always looked like a long-haired Jeffrey Hunter or Max von Sydow when, in reality, the historical Jesus was one of them and probably looked a lot more like Yasser Arafat. We both had a terrific laugh imagining a loinclothed Ararat figure hanging on a cross in an English or American Episcopal church.
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|Author:||Newnam, Bill; Werdegar, David|
|Article Type:||Letter to the editor|
|Date:||May 1, 2012|
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