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Racism, Inc.

The grievance industry fans racial flames that had been dying for decades

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If you want to keep the subject of racism alive and well, and to ensure that we don’t forget about race for a single minute, here is what you do: Start a racial reconciliation adult ed class in your church. And not just a one-off hour on one Sunday to exhort the flock on how to love their neighbor, but a weekly class that is drawn out for months and even years—rather like the Depression-era dance marathon in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

Have the meeting always begin with an icebreaker like the one that kicked off an adult ed class I recently attended: “A Barna Group survey says that less than half of white Christians agree that historically the U.S. has been oppressive to minorities. Discuss.” Notice the ­obligatory reminder that white people are problematic. This is the proper foot on which to start the class.

In this manner you will make sure that no one stops thinking about race, racism, and past slavery, and that no one stops having bad feelings toward white people (though our schools and universities already amply ­reinforce that). Because, you know, left to its natural course, the inconvenient fact is that most people, once they have felt remorse upon learning of past slavery, will tend to move on with their lives.

In one of his testier letters to protégé Wormwood, Screwtape writes, “We fight under cruel disadvantages. Nothing is naturally on our side.” The demon is frustrated because his tireless work to make things bad for humans is always bucking against nature, which is to say, against reality. His diabolical campaigns can never succeed on their own unless they are artificially propped up.

This is my sense of the racial industry in America. Whether it be CRT or racial reconciliation Sunday school classes in church, their desks are covered with crumpled papers and half-drunk cups of coffee as they labor sleeplessly to keep racial conflict front and center in the cultural consciousness. But their cause appears to me like a hospital patient on life support: Without constant, inventive grievance infusions, it would fade away.

I know that because I saw it fading away for decades. I am old enough to have lived through steady improvement in race relations, till racism was almost gone from most people’s daily lives. I have seen “systemic” racism extinguished to the point that it has swung in the other direction, namely, systemic “affirmative action.” Over the course of my life, American racism shrank and shrank like the basement monster in the children’s book Harry and the Terrible Whatzit after a few brave whacks with Harry’s broom.

But forces of dubious agenda have revived racial injustice as a national scandal. See them daily picking away at scabs that had been healing well. Never mind that 365,000 Union soldiers died (and almost 300,000 more were wounded) in a great war to end slavery. What would those men think?

On a recent Monday at Aldi, a burly black man two shoppers behind me in the queue called out loudly, “Good morning, how y’all doin’?”

Surprised but not displeased at his neighborliness, a few of us smiled and reciprocated the greeting. Then he said, “Y’know what the good news is? The Eagles are goin’ to the Super Bowl!” My anticipation was mildly deflated, but he wasn’t finished: “Y’know what the ­better news is? Jesus Christ died for our sins!”

I and the white, middle-aged woman behind me said a hearty “Amen.” It was a mini-taste of heaven. A finer vision than that cast in adult ed class. The simple gospel. “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory” (James 2:1).

In spite of the best efforts of the race baiters, at these Monday trips to the market where the patrons are a diverse lot, we smile across the produce aisle and shake our heads together at the price of eggs, just like we’re fellow humans, nothing more and nothing less.

Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is a senior writer for WORLD Magazine. Her columns have been compiled into three books including Won’t Let You Go Unless You Bless Me. Andrée resides near Philadelphia.


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