I am reposting Samuel L. Caraballo’s very interesting post. it was originally posted on his site, samuelcaraballo.com site. Feel free to follow his blog.
“What then must we do?” This is the inevitable question faith communities across the nation face when dealing with racial and ethnic divides within their congregations and in society at large.
If it is true scientifically that there is no such thing as racial superiority, then we should ask ourselves, how is this ideology being sustained? Failing to confront the staying power of the notion of “racial privilege” might lead others to believe that such perceived “entitlement” in fact indicates inherent biosocial advantage, eventually leading us back to social Darwinism. Instead of racial “reconciliation” we might end up promoting racial “remediation”, which leads to paternalism and condescension toward those deemed “unprivileged.”
The uncontested acceptance of “whiteness” as either a social or biological advantage can only be maintained by systemic racial “usurpations.” And by “usurpation” I mean the systematic denigration of those who do not abide by normative racial construct. Therefore, the goal of reconciliation should not be to help the “unprivileged” obtain the assigned social standing that the “privileged” already enjoys, but rather to dismantle the assumptions that led us to the attribution of biological or sociological “prerogatives” to a given racial group in the first place.
From this standpoint there is no racial reconciliation without racial restitution.
By restitution I mean several things. First, restitution entails a change of focus that gives priority to the neglected voices at the opposite end of the racial spectrum, (here I mean that it is a minority-lead initiative). No one can better inform our reconciliation agenda than those directly affected by the lack of it. Second, restitution implies a lifelong process of meaningful exchanges that disrupt the conventional ways in which we treat each other. In other words, our relationships need to strive to understand the “other” and constantly deconstruct our own inherent racial prejudices; (this is mutual) Finally, my rendition doesn’t see racial restitution as merely a human initiative but a Spirit-led enterprise where the supernatural presence of God in the midst of our communion enables us to transform our individual and societal brokenness. And this Spiritual intervention takes place for the sake of honoring the divine image that permeates us all. May the Lord give us the strength to do that which we must do.
[read also: Hope for the Next Generation]
Samuel L. Caraballo is an Latino Minister, committed to the “Great Commission” of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all, everywhere. Samuel is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico. He currently resides in Connecticut with his wife Miriam and children Natalia, Esteban & Antonio. Samuel is a graduate of the Yale Divinity School where he earned his Master of Divinity degree. He has a BA in Biological Sciences from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and a Masters in Public Health from Boston University. He is also President and Founder of All Abilities Inc., (www.all-abilities.org) a ministerial initiative that promotes inclusion and acceptance of people with disabilities in faith communities.