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.
“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.