Here’s the idea: Every white corporate CEO who thinks racism is ingrained in our culture, every white journalist who thinks racism has infected every facet of American life, every politician who thinks this is a fundamentally racist country — all of them should voluntarily give up their jobs, on one condition: that they be replaced by qualified African Americans.
I’ve said it before: if you want to make an American really vein-bulging mad, tell him or her the obvious. If you look at the comments, and see the virulent reaction to this idea, you’ll see what I mean.
Renunciation of any kind is an impossible sell in this country. Much of the fault for this, beyond ordinary human nature, can be laid at the feet of Protestant Christianity in general and Evangelical Christianity in particular, who have taught that renunciation is unnecessary, even though it’s a central part of Jesus’ message.
This reaction mirrors a more polite form of this debate I had last summer with a prep schoolmate about a piece he wrote entitled “Renouncing Privilege.” I actually put forth the idea that renunciation meant what it said, and his reply was as follows:
Many of the students were, and probably still are wealthy, still privileged. I would not try to make the point that the young men became followers of Gandhi, just that they recognized an abusive power that they had the means to abolish and voted accordingly.
Maybe that’s why they’re howling to remove Gandhi’s statue…