RACE IN A POST-OBAMA AMERICA: The Church Responds. Edited by David Maxwell; Foreword by Otis Moss III. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2016. Xix + 139 pages.
Racism is referred to as America’s “original sin.” It is a sin that led to the genocide of much of the Native American population. It was expressed in chattel slavery of persons brought to this continent from Africa. It was also expressed in laws that denied persons from Asia from either immigrating or gaining citizenship in the United States. It has also been expressed in the treatment of Latinos/as—a community of peoples, many of whom trace their ancestry to a time before much of the Southwest was part of the United States. The ramifications of these original sins remain with us. We might like to believe that all of this lies behind us, but the truth is, racism remains a scourge on the American psyche. Many hoped that the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States would mark the dawn of a new post-racial era. While his election was an important milestone in American history, the past seven years has seen not the decrease of racism but an increase in its public presence.
Even as attempts are made to build relationships, educate against racism, and reform institutions change has proven to be slow. Indeed, the names Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown that gave birth to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, along with the rise of the Birther Movement, and growing Islamophobia are all signs that there is much work to do. Simply claiming to be color-blind will not suffice.