White Fragility: The Order of Unity

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Any hope for justice must begin with unity first.

I am grateful for the chance to have my writing reprinted in Christianity Today and to have a chance to continue the conversation beyond that first blog. In promoting collaborative conversations, I believe I have charted a path that is scriptural and effective. That path is in contrast to White Fragility as the ideals promoted in that book are unlikely to succeed in producing Christian unity and justice.

I feel obligated to address an issue not brought up in those essays but nonetheless has come to my attention since the original blog. There are those who deny the reality of institutional racism. I define institutional racism as institutional forces that have a negative impact on racial minorities regardless of the personal intentions connected to the shaping of those institutions. Based on that definition there is plenty of evidence that institutional racism continues to exist.

For example, we know that there has not been any real decrease of racial discrimination in hiring over the past 25 years. There is statistical support for “driving while black” fears. Residential segregation still impacts people of color. Finally, there is evidence of racism in the beliefs and practices of medical heathcare providers. Those who deny the existence of institutional racism are either ignorant of the evidence or do not want to know if institutional racism exists.

Now there may be good reasons why we have rules or norms that have a disparate impact on people of color. True. Blacks are more likely, even after controls for individual characteristics, to commit murder. I do not think we want to rid ourselves of laws that punish murder. But we should still factor in institutional racial factors that may contribute to the disparity …

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