Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mike Pasquier on White Catholics and the Perduring Sin of Racism

Time Spent on book: Don't ask
What I did: Blarg
Grade for the day: I hate grades


Over at America, my friend Mike Pasquier has written a powerful piece on race and Catholicism

He lives and teaches in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, so his proximity to recent events there gives him a unique perspective, to say the least. This article is refreshingly insightful and honest, while at the same time well-informed and historically nuanced.

Read it. Share it. And bring it in to your conversations.

The article begins....
Two years ago, at the age of 7, my daughter developed an interest in the biographies of famous people. We started with a children’s book about Amelia Earhart, followed by Walt Disney and Anne Frank. Next up was Rosa Parks. The book opened with Parks as a girl growing up in rural Alabama, watching white kids ride buses to white schools while she and her black friends walked to black schools. The moral of the story was clear: Racism is bad. When we finished the book, my daughter said to me, “I go to a segregated school.” It wasn’t a question. It was a statement of fact. 
My children attend a Catholic elementary school in Baton Rouge, La. My spouse and I send our children there for obvious reasons. It’s connected to our parish. It’s seven blocks away from our house. We both attended Catholic schools as children. My mother taught at Catholic schools. My wife works in the parish office. 
What can I say? We’re Catholic. 
We’re also white. 
In describing her school as segregated, my daughter was simply calling it as she saw it. The children she encountered every day—in the classroom and on the playground and at birthday parties—were white. I couldn’t disagree with her, but I tried to explain why. I said things like, “Most Catholics in the school district are white, and only people who live in the district can go to the school,” and “Most of the people who go to our church are white, and only the people who go to our church can go to the school.” Remember, she was 7. So she replied, “Well, that’s too bad.”

Read the rest here...

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