Holy Post – Race in America – Part 1
Holy Post – Race in America – Part 2
SHORT SUMMARY (with some of my thoughts): These are 2 of the best videos that I have seen on the reality of structural racism in American government policies, debunking many fallacies that critics allege and giving some useful actions that churches can be involved in.
It is a historical fact that American government policies have favored one group above various others repeatedly throughout our history, whether it was whites above minorities or the rich above the poor, corporations above families and many other examples. These are extremely serious violations of Bible and moral principles that all must be treated the same by the government (Numbers 15:15 and many other verses).
This documentary shows in depth that the severe damage to family wealth of minorities, esp. African Americans was mostly due to racist government policies ranging from support for slavery to Jim Crow, segregation and substandard education for the poor and minorities to redlining, the mass incarceration policies, several kinds of government financial aid going almost entirely to white families with others excluded and others. This has destroyed many families.
When Johnson launched war on poverty, the majority of the poor were white. In 10 years, welfare policies and other factors helped poverty among blacks (and similar for other races) went from 55% to 32%. There is no evidence that welfare policies increased poverty or unemployment. Most of the welfare money also goes to white or Latino families.
Why is it that we think the poor are mostly black? Before 1960, 80% of stories about poor people in the media were about white people. But from 1965 on, photos of poor drastically switched to emphasize that the poor were mostly black. In a few years, pictures were 70% black. But the rate of poverty in the 1960s did not change significantly. The big change was
a) a new focus by civil rights leaders on economic injustice and a focus on poverty and the state of inner cities
b) the attitude of some people and politicians was going more negative towards welfare. So the media portrayed poverty more and more as black. This helped some politicians to try to weaken/gut welfare policies and other helps for all families.
Government policies in many ways have hurt minority families more than others, but they do hurt families across all races in the middle and poor classes.
Many people claim that poverty is due to laziness, not being Christian or that we aren’t responsible since we didn’t do it, that Christians should only think about evangelism or that we didn’t directly do injustice. But
1) statistics also show that most of the claims about the problem being due to black irresponsibility are really dishonest.
2) African Americans are more devout Christians in almost every area than white Christians are(more likely to be church members, read the Bible, pray, and have biblically sound theology), so that’s not the problem.
3) WE love to take credit for things our nation did that are good (like going to the moon) when we didn’t do any of the work, but have a sinful tendency not to take responsibility for wrongs done like slavery and racism.
4) God tells us that righteous people care about injustice, wicked people don’t. And Jesus did in his ministry repeatedly (Prov. 29:7; 31:8-9, Luke 4:18-19).
5) Godly Bible figures like Daniel and Nehemiah repented for the sins of their nation as well as individual sins. We should too. America is good and bad, virtuous and sinful, selfless and selfish. We are ALL those things. I am all those things. Let’s own those realities to change the bad and make things better.
Families across the spectrum are being victimized by government policies. But blaming poverty on black families, makes it easier for those in power to victimize everyone. Those who support racist government policies are first and foremost against God and equality, but also are hurting themselves.
This should be opposed by all who claim to be Christians because:
1) In God’s eyes, everyone is equal (Matt. 23:8, Gal. 3:28).
2) God says that government policies should be the same for all people, regardless of national or ethnic origin (Numbers 15:15 and other verses). But they were not and are not now the same.
3) These racist policies do enormous damage to families and children and this does great damage to their success in life.
4) God is the defender of the oppressed, the helper of the poor. Christians are always supposed to help those who are subjected to injustice.
5) A top priority in the Bible is freedom and independence for individuals and families. This is why it advocates land rights as a God given right for all people so many times.
When people are not given this right to land that God required for all, then governments of all kinds are responsible to God to prevent them falling into the terrible devastating abuse of poverty which is the mother of almost all evils and is always directly traceable to greed (see Neh. 5:1-13, Ps. 72, Jer. 12:14-17 and many other verses). Churches should also work hard to eliminate poverty in their ranks as the early church successfully did (Acts 2:42-47, 4:32-35).
God gives the ability to earn wealth (Deut. 8:18) and research shows that ~80% of the salary people earn is because of the family and country they are born into. The early church’s dedication to ending poverty was one of the top primary reasons why it attracted so many members. They saw that the church members had genuine love that extended to how they used their financial resources. This was extremely good evidence and proof that they really believed in eternal life.
What are some solutions that we know work?
1) EDUCATION: Support the best education (which is Bible based education) for all children. This is especially important for all young children. Many white people have moved to wealthier areas which have high quality schools for their children. But all children should have the right to a high quality education.
2) NO SEGREGATION IN TEACHING
Students were integrated in the 1960s, but teachers were not. Ranks of black teachers were decimated. We must change this. Black teachers are much better at recognizing gifted black, minority and poor students.
3) SUPPORT MARRIAGE WITH GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND CHURCHES
Families that are healthy and financially stable are one of the strongest supports for life success. So support this at all levels of society.
4) FOCUS ON HOME OWNERSHIP
When people own their own homes, they are far more independent and free and don’t have to pay 30-70% of their income in rent, more for transportation, more for food, and many other things. Support government policies for home ownership. Support and encourage churches to focus on helping the poor own their own homes.
The policies that created the inequality and broken families came from the majority and so the policies to solve it must too.
MORE DETAILED HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TALKS
Holy Post – Race in America – Part 1
Holy Post – Race in America – Part 2
These are 2 really good videos on the reality of structural racism in American government policies that repeatedly violates Bible principles that all must be treated the same. It shows in depth that the severe damage to family wealth of minorities, esp. African Americans, but also others, was due to racist government policies. This should be opposed by all who claim to be Christians because
1) in God’s eyes, everyone is equal and the stamp of God’s image, the imageo deo is on every human being.
2) It does enormous damage to families and children.
Holy Post – Race in America – Part 1
Intro: The average black family has only 60% of the income of the average white family, but only 10% of the wealth. There are some wealthy black people and some poor whites. But even after factoring all that in, the average black family has only 10% of the wealth of the average white family (and the black millionaires mean the average for others is actually even lower and same for whites]. This is crucial because family wealth is the biggest factor deciding what kind of education your children can get and thus their future job opportunities, owning a home, being able to start your own business, how well you can weather a crisis (economic crashes, a serious health problem) and thus keep your home or business) and more.
Let’s look at some of the historical factors that caused this as well as contemporary causes.
1 Vagrancy laws demanded that all blacks without jobs be jailed and many were sent back to work on plantations in conditions even worse than slavery.
3 The Jim Crow laws were instituted and lasted until 1954 and Brown vs Board of education striking down separate but equal.
5 But after that, states passed over 50 new kinds of Jim Crow laws. Many private academies were “segregationist academies” including quite a lot of Christian academies.
4 Majority of Americans agreed that law and order had broken down and blamed communists and negroes rioting instead of the real causes of racist policies in the government.
Federal government made housing policies to help whites gain home ownership, but not blacks. Many homes had deeds that restricted them to being owned only by whites. Until 1950 realtors were prohibited from selling homes in white areas to blacks and realtors could lose their license if they did so. Federal government policies encouraged this.
5 In NJ and NY, out of 67,000 mortgages with low interest given, only 100 went to black soldiers. In Mississippi, out of 3200 mortgages, only 2 went to blacks.
One historian says that there has been no tool to widen the racial gap between whites and blacks than federal government policies like these.
6 Then came the war on drugs which targeted minorities much more than others.
7 Then factories and good manufacturing jobs moved to the suburbs. But blacks were prevented from living in the suburbs by redlining and also because whites would riot when blacks tried to move to white areas. In addition, only 28% had a car and there was no public transportation there so they could not get those higher paying jobs jobs.
8 Drug crises was not treated as a health crisis, but a criminal crisis and the police were militarized.
Republicans dramatically increased prison sentences for crack (a drug used more by blacks) much more than cocaine(a drug more popular with whites). Democrats under Clinton cut funding for public housing by $17 billion and increased funding for prison by $19 billion. In 1980, 41,000 were in prison for drug crimes, now there are 500,000+, more than total 1980 prison population, more than S. Africa did during apartheid. Higher prison rates were driven mostly by drug convictions. From then on, you are barred from politics, many home loans cancelled, fewer education opportunities, fewer job chances. Overall, blacks and whites use drugs at the same rate, but blacks are convicted 6 times more often.
A Georgia drug law was used 16 times more often on blacks than whites. 98% of those convicted under this law were black.
In NJ, 15% of drivers were black, but 73% of arrests were black, while whites were 2 times more likely to possess drugs.
14 Chuck Colson and a number of evangelical leaders have signed a manifesto saying that incarcerating so many people (esp. for minor infractions) does not make us safer.
15 In education, white teachers recommend black students for gifted programs only half as much as whites (black teachers do it equally). Black teachers do it most equitably.
16 In summary, the American government told blacks where they could live and then moved most good jobs where they couldn’t live. The increase in poverty predictably resulted in depression, drug use and crime.
Then we compounded the injustice by skyrocketing the number of blacks sent to prison and militarizing the police.
So a white boy has a 1 in 23 chance of going to prison, while a black boy has a 1 in 4 chance. That is why people are angry.
Holy Post – Race in America – Part 2
The family is crucial. Many stats about non-marital birth rates show that the breakdown of the family in all races is basically traceable to higher levels of poverty.
4 Americans in mid 1900s had a lot of good jobs and could support families. But factories have closed, moved overseas, or slashed pay. So many men don’t have any way to support a family and families collapse. The root of the problem is NOT a loss of responsibility. It’s a loss of opportunities and a loss of hope.
9 Did welfare increase black poverty? No, In 10 years it went from 55% to 32%. Other factors helped, but it seems welfare policies were one significant factor in reducing poverty. Welfare policies were not perfect and had some problems. But there is no evidence that welfare policies increased poverty or unemployment for blacks.
12 The idea that black families were doing fine until welfare is entirely false.
13 We forget that when Johnson launched war on poverty, the majority of the poor were white. Most of the welfare money also goes to white families.
Why is it that we think the poor are mostly black? Media also plays a major role. Before 1960, 80% of stories about poor people were about white people. But then something happened. From 1965 on, photos of poor drastically switched to emphasize that the poor were mostly black. In a few years, pictures were 70% black.
In 1960, ~25% of America’s poor were African America. In 1967, it was less than 30%. So no major changes.
One big change was a new focus by civil rights leaders on economic injustice and a focus on poverty and the state of inner cities. In just a few short years, media swung from poor whites to poor blacks.
15 As the attitude of some politicians was going more negative, the media portrayed poverty more and more as black. This helped some politicians to try to gut welfare policies and other helps for families.
16 Reagan kept on emphasizing welfare quite that was black. Talked a lot about welfare queen. But it was based on one woman, Linda Taylor who was a dangerous criminal..and she was white.
17 From 1970 to 1990, ~60% of media about poverty was African America, even though they only made up ~30% of the poor. In 1982-3 media again focused on poor white families, white poverty spiked up to 70% of media, because of recession. To generate sympathy for white poverty, media focused on poor white families. After recession, journalists went back to portraying poverty as a black issue.
18 Only about 30% of poverty is black and only about 1/3 of funding goes to black families. 70% of spending on poverty is to white and Latino families.
19 The sad reality is that the more we think poverty is a black problem, the many people want to help.
But Christians are told time and time again to care for the poor. So this is a tragic sin of our society.
WHY ARE YOU SAYING WE CAUSED SLAVERY/RACISM? We say we put a man on the moon, defeated Hitler and don’t protest. But if we as a society did something bad, we object.
The Bible talks about both individual sin and repentance, but it also talks about societal sin and repentance. In Daniel 9, Daniel repents for the sins of his forefathers and in Nehemiah 1, Nehemiah does the same thing.
20 America is good and bad, virtuous and sinful, selfless and selfish. We are ALL those things. I am all those things. Let’s own those realities to change the bad and make things better.
21 What are some solutions?
a) Preschool for children is really important for life long success.
White people moved to suburbs and gave enormous funding for white schools.Must support high quality schools for all students.
b) Hire more black teachers increases recognizing gifted black, minority and poor.
Students were integrated in the 1960s, but teachers were not. Ranks of black teachers were decimated. Need to change that.
c) Encourage, not penalize marriage. Families are very strong supports for success.
d) Help people buy their own homes. His family fell apart in childhood. But mom owned a home and that helped fund a second chance. Later when she was doing better, she used some of a retirement fund to help a minority family buy their own home. Churches can do this.
22 Shouldn’t we focus on evangelism…God will take care of justice.
23 African Americans are more religious in almost every area (more likely to be church members, read the Bible, pray, and have biblically sound theology. The most devoutly Christian group is black, not white.
24 Families across all races are in trouble in America, esp. among the working class. Let’s support church efforts on supporting families strong. Welfare programs did not create the programs we have today. Don’t blame them. The policies that created the inequality and broken families came from the majority and so the policies to solve it must too.