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Rev. Jim Wallis to White Christians: ‘You Can’t Say You’re Not a Racist if You Accept and Support Systems That Clearly Are’

Rev. Jim Wallis arrested in Ferguson

Source: Huffington Post, Courtesy of the Rev. Jim Wallis

The Rev. Jim Wallis is sending a powerful “wake-up call” to white Christians who are refusing to fight back against a “racialized police system.”

Wallis and other faith leaders and social activists were recently arrested during another slew of peaceful protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

Ferguson has been the site of many marches, rallies and demonstrations after 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot multiple times in August by white police officer Darren Wilson, despite Brown allegedly having his arms up in surrender prior to several shots being fired.

The white theologian said he has had enough of the racist systems in America that have placed targets on the backs of African-Americans, especially young Black men.

Wallis sat down with HuffPost Live on Monday to express his concerns that white Christians aren’t doing their part in deconstructing a racist police system and other racist policies.

“We say we’re Christians, but you know, white Christians, we act more like white people than Christians,” he said. “If we acted more Christian, Black parents wouldn’t be so afraid for their kids.”

During the interview, he explained that he is looking at the situation through the eyes of a white parent who doesn’t have to have “the talk” with his 16-year-old son but knows Black parents on his child’s baseball team have to have that talk far too often.

The “talk” he is referring to is one about how Black youths should behave when in the presence of white police officers and armed white people.

mike brown funeral“Every Black family, every Black parent I know has the talk with their son [and] even their daughters [about] how to behave when you’re in the presence of a white police officer with a gun or a white man with a gun because these new self-defense laws are licenses to kill,” he said during the video interview. “No white parents have the talk. They almost don’t have a clue it’s going on.”

Wallis went on to say that America shouldn’t allow Ferguson to become just another “moment.” Instead, he explained, it needs to become a “movement.”

In order for that to happen, however, white Americans will need to play their part.

“A lot of white people say they’re not racist and they’re against racism intellectually, but they’re not aware of how the criminal justice system is a racially implemented system,” he said.

That’s when he sent a message directly to other white Americans – a message that he hopes serves as a major wake-up call for white Americans who do not understand or see why Ferguson should be a pivotal moment in American history.

“You can’t say you’re not a racist if you accept and support systems that clearly are,” he said.


What people are saying

16 thoughts on “Rev. Jim Wallis to White Christians: ‘You Can’t Say You’re Not a Racist if You Accept and Support Systems That Clearly Are’

  1. Bwire Vincent says:

    Christianity and Islam enslaved us. Period.

  2. Jay Contreras says:

    Yeah, good luck with that. Whites as a collective have always given LIP service to christian principles BUT have consistently ACTED in ways that would make satan blush.…you think these people just came from 'chuch'..or maybe on their way to it? And I bet they didn't feel one ounce of remorse or discomfort while sitting listening to their sunday sermon..sort of makes it clear why the chuch seating is called a 'pew', doesn't it?

  3. Elle Blaze says:

    I wondered where the CONCIOUS 'people' were… #thosewithhearts… why haven't MORE stepped up to compensate for the damage done by their relatives THEN AND NOW? especially when they are CLEARLY aware of the discrepancies… How can MOTHERS of color, TRUST anyone! #killingourbabies…

  4. Saiffeldeen Muhammad says:

    Prove that Islam enslaved "us". No far from here is a statue of "Roots" author Alex Haley with small children that he is telling the story of his ancestor "Kunte Kinte". Kunte Kinte was a Muslim. Who enslaved him? The same that enslaved "us". Remember, they WHIPPED him until the accepted his "Christian" name Toby. They hated Islam and they hate it now. You should read the truth and not believe what Afro centered teachers claim.

  5. Bwire Vincent says:

    Saiffeldeen Muhammad Try looking up, 'the role of islam in african slavery'. It happened, mostly in the East African region. But in general, white man bought slaves from arab trader.

    By your name, I am assuming that you are a follower of Elijah Muhammad. If that's the case, then, I think, you already know that what you practice, is a mixture of both Christianity and Islam. For example the names, Elijah and Louis are christian, and true muslims conduct their worship services in mosques, not temples.

    The Arab Slave Trade had been around, at least 500 years, by the time Kunte Kinte (I highly doubt if that name's even African) was born. While the white man came with a Bible and a gun, The Arab brought, with him, a Quran and a sword.

    It's a fact that slavery still exists in some parts of Africa, where Islam happens to be the dominant religion, like Sudan and Mali. Arabs are just as racist as Whites, if not worse…

  6. John Prewett says:

    Watch the video. Fifty years of ruinously expensive and utterly counterproductive social programs, affirmative action, a "black" president, and here´s some plain-spoken truth from the guys who commit the vast bulk of crimes in America.

    Why bust your hump at some job when you can steal?

    Jail´s a walk in the park, no deterrent there.

    Memphis, Tenn. — With Memphis seeing a rash of youth violence recently, WREG decided to ask young people what can stop it. Their answer…nothing.

    Two men, who gave only nicknames, told WREG they thought of the Kroger mob attack as “fun.”.

    “The Kroger attack… That’s just what kids do, our generation, I mean,” one of the men said.

    “Nobody cares about Jail,” the men said, laughing. “You go in, and you get out.

    If you don’t get out, you're in with people you know.”.

  7. Bwire Vincent says:

    '… That’s just what kids do, our generation, I mean,” one of the men said.

    “Nobody cares about Jail,” the men said, laughing. “You go in, and you get out.

    If you don’t get out, you're in with people you know…'

    That's exactly the kind of reaction to expect from someone who, from birth has been raised in a system that keeps reminding him/her, that they belong in jail/prison. I tend to agree with those kids.

    That mayor is a complete buffoon, to say the least. I don't believe, for one single second, that those kids want to be like that, but the system, white america and sellouts, like that sorry excuse of a mayor push them to (Ferguson is a perfect example). I notice that you left out their reasons, for acting that way.

    White America has the rogue police and the biased justice system on their side. So, naturally, any right thinking victim (in this case, Blacks) have to seek other ways and means of defending themselves.

    … ironically, the inventors/enforcers of these biases, ought to have been born in prison, themselves, if American laws were to be taken seriously.

  8. Saiffeldeen Muhammad Beside and beyond the point. The first slave makers, and land "Africa" land takers, and grave robbers were, and are Arabs (Muslims). What do you then say about Ethiopian Female "servants" being hanged upside-down from a ceiling by the ankles, and violently beat by several men with sticks on the legs from just above the ankles to just below the buttocks until they faint, or fall unconscious for the simplest mistake or slight. The time must come to cease the worship, praise, and admiration of our oppressors. It "is" blasphemy whether "you" recognize it or not.

  9. Bwire Vincent Well stated. My sentiments exactly.

  10. John Prewett says:

    Bwire Vincent, Jasmine Williams, Well off successful blacks are in the same "system." Believe or not people make choices of who to heed.
    As AfroAmerican Prof Nathan McCall recorded in his autobiography: ….

    “The most popular among the THUGS was a guy named Jerome Gary.
    His buddies nicknamed him Scobie D and called him Scobe for short …………

    My brother Dwight had told me about Scobe a few years before I first saw him.
    I could tell from the sense of awe and wonder when Dwight talked about Scobe that he revered the guy. Without even seeing him, I admired him, too, and envied Dwight for having the chance to see him, live and in person, every day in school.

    Scobe stood out from the other hoods because he was super baad, meaning he took flak from no man, white or black. ….. He practically ran the school. Everybody, teachers and girls included, feared and respected him. ……. He eventually became known among blacks through-out Portsmouth as the baaddest cat to come out of Cavalier Manor.
    Scobe had an older brother, Arnold, a stocky knockout artist. ……
    Scobe and Arnold set the standard for manliness in Cavalier Manor.
    Guys talked about their street exploits and their persuasive charm with girls.
    Dudes studied them like schoolbooks and imitated their walks and the lispy way they talked.
    Whenever I saw Scobe in the hallways at school,

    I'd stand off to the side and watch, drinking in every detail about him.

    I remember the first time Scobe spoke to me. One day, when my grandmother Bampoose sent me to the 7 Eleven, I saw his buddies and him hanging around in front of the store.

    After I came out, I hung around nearby, listening to them talk.

    Scobe saw me gazing admiringly at him
    and infused in me the fear of God. He walked over, looked deep into my eyes, and asked sincerely: "Don't you think pussy stinks?"

    I was shocked that he had said something to me;

    I was dazed, like the fan who's touched the hem of a rock star's garment.

    [and only miracle of God kept him from dieing a thugs death some 50 years ago] *********

    I tried to come up with a way to respond without revealing myself as a no name lame, but the words stuck in my throat like a chicken bone. So I just stood there, wide eyed, tongue tied, and paralyzed.

    I went away that day, bewildered still by the question he'd asked,
    but proud to have been acknowledged by a hero.

    After watching the older cats, I knew I had to work on getting my act together. Shyness or not, I had to break into the social scene or risk being victimized in some way by it. ……… " end quote

    [btw – At age 28, Scobe murdered his wife and then committed suicide]

    MAKES ME WANNA HOLLER by Nathan McCall [born 1955]
    [Prof Afro Am studies – Emory U] Published 1994 pages 28-29

    Must read for anyone interested in how USA got into its present precarious race relations condition.

    SOUL ON ICE by [the late] Eldridge Cleaver also sheds light on how current American racial relations came to be. He explains how raping White women is good “freedom fighter” activity. “Payback” for sins of Whites going back to slavery days.

  11. John Prewett says:

    Bwire Vincent , Jasmine Williams,…. if you blame "elites" going back centuries and still dominant today for the policies that brought us to this unpleasant racial state of affairs, then we have no disagreement.

    If you blame all white people in general, then we disagree. It's about that simple.

    "all have sinned and fallen short " …..

  12. John Prewett says:

    Bwire Vincent "which one to trust".
    Do you mean between "liberal or conservative" ?
    Or between Democrat or Republican ?

    Jim Wallis, author of this article, is basically saying one must be a hard left wing liberal "progressive" Democrat in order to be a "Christian."

    I read the three articles you gave link to.
    I’m in harmony with the “FreeRepublic” critical analysis of the Kennedys.
    I’ll end this post with a link that if you read to the end will tell you what I think of JFK. I expect it will surprise you.

    The third article is of a man who preaches against interracial marriage.
    Well, “bottom line” is that the NT Jesus does not condemn nor even discuss interracial marriage.

    I’d only note that there is also a significant segment of blacks who find fault with interracial marriage and like the whites who oppose it, these blacks are relegated to the fringe of society. MSM positively TEACHES the black man and white woman that they are just meant for each other. Never mind that the MSM touting of black man/white woman coupling exacerbates racial animosity. Just never mind that.

    Hillary Clinton, subject of your second article, is firmly in the Jim Wallis camp.
    Such as Wallis and Hillary fundamentally think that the goal is to create heaven on earth, and that temporal government is the tool by which to create heaven on earth. That to be a good Christian one must be a political activist always pressuring worldly government to “give more to the poor” … forever telling the poor they should have more and that the reason they have less is because those who have more are stingy and evil. Except of course for the rich liberals. Since rich liberals espouse the “correct” political views, they are exempted from being deemed stingy and evil.

    A corollary of the “poor are good and deserve more” is the explanation of why blacks in general have less money. The left adamantly insist that personal choice, personal behavior, personal ambition mean NOTHING. They insist that “racism” of the well off [who they note are mostly white] is the only meaningful explanation of why some [mostly black] are “poor.” 1 of 2

  13. John Prewett says:

    Bwire Vincent 2 of 2
    Exceptions like scads of poor whites. The fact that Fed Government has in fact discriminated against white men [“affirmative action”] is brushed aside as nothing. Any expression of resentment about this state of affairs by a white is deemed “racist” and any black [“conservative”] who shows any sympathy for the white man POV is deemed an “uncle Tom – sellout –race traitor” worthy of death.

    Who to trust ? I’m betting on Jesus.

    Read to the end of the first page and you’ll find out what I think of JFK.

    Discussion welcome. Best Wishes, JP

  14. Bwire Vincent says:

    John Prewett
    Sounds like we agree on the fact that, the Democrat and the Republican are brothers, from the same womb. Blacks have been voting democrat, for I don't know how long, yet, very little has been done to alleviate their suffering. Which tells me one thing; Dems are the biggest pretenders in the scenario.

    At least, 'liberal' and 'conservative'' are broad terms; we don't have to share common interests to be on the same camp. For example, just because a White conservative hates Blacks, doesn't necessarily, mean that a Black conservative should hate himself for being Black.

    That's where the preacher, comes in; he is entitled to his opinions, as a White, religious conservative…

    As for Jesus, that's a topic, by itself…

  15. Akbar Lewis says:

    Unfortunately as with most articles that do not challenge the victims to do something, but the dominant white group, will not gain many readers. That right there is your elementary clue as to where we will be in 100 years from now with regard to race and privilege. To think that we can solve evil is to say that we can solve racism or solve why an apple seed produces apples over and over again but not one orange… ever! When you do not have to care about something, it is human nature not to care. Well-meaning white people will never feel compelled to do that much work for the cause of racism because they deny it exists and therefore do not see the long term benefit for them or their children. If you add a college fund incentive then you will get them out its what they understand best financial security. That is scary because it is exactly what the slavers where thinking about American slavery, building a financial future for their progenitors.

    Racism is now systemic, meaning whether you are against it or not the outcomes of the past where whites have access to resources, control what drives the overall American culture and how it thinks, control the education systems and what is considered educational, will be the same no matter who is the committee chairperson or president.

    Anyone protesting the study of European history is silenced, even though it does not motivate Black students to learn, studying somebody else' history and not their own. This is considered the norm and not seen as anything inconsistent or racially motivated. The secret to systemic racism is to normalize it and make anyone challenging it to look like an isolated trouble maker…

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