“Building the Bridge Together” was the aspirational mantra for Accord1, i.e., accord1.wordpress.com, my initial foray into the online communication world. At its inception in 2011, I was trusting in existing systems, highlighting “The Church” to be the mechanism to accomplish this divine goal. The belief was indeed aspirational at best.
On the surface, we had that Bridge well under construction. There was the first-ever black president in the White house. Turnout for people of color hit record levels, and it seemed as though the “Arc of the Moral Universe” was indeed “Bending Toward Justice.” Justice turned quickly to “Just Us” as a vocal minority began to raise those familiar shackles of division and hatred of the very prospect of a multiethnic democracy.
Cries rang out in the streets, on media platforms, not to mention on Talk Radio. These cries articulated a burning desire among the purveyors to return to the darkness that blurred the red, white, and blue lines from the beginnings of America and beyond back to the incipience of the European occupation of the North American Continent.
“We want our country back,” were those cries. An even closer look into what was being said was that “we want a country where whites were on top, headed by the patriarchal white male. All others of increased melanin levels were to remain in their place, separated and beneath those of the hierarchal ruling class.
In 2016, the construction of the metaphorical Bridge was stopped to make way for a wall. Building the Bridge Together became “The Bridge To Nowhere” (Our June Theme.) The election brought back into view the ugly manifestation of segregation. From walling off the so-called Mexican rapist and murders to the Muslim Ban, the moves to roll back and create an end-around to the fair housing act of 1968 have brought Brown vs. the Board of Education back into question. Racial segregation has been the American default from the beginning and is rooted in white supremacy. Default reactions include spreading the replacement theory, dummying down our children from critical thinking by calling any such attempts indoctrination or Critical Race Theory, etc.
Scripture strikes a contrast to the segregationist mentality.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28 (NKJV)
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands” Revelation 7:9 (NKJV)
However, the authors of a study issued an important caveat: Diversity is a one-way street. Blacks are joining predominantly White congregations. Few Whites join predominantly Black churches.
“According to the study, which will be published next month in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, the number of multiracial congregations across the United States grew to 16 percent in 2019, up from 6 percent in 1998. Multiracial congregations were defined as those in which no one racial or ethnic group constituted more than 80 percent of the congregation’s participants.”
“The percentage of Black congregations bringing in White worshipers is less than 1 percent,” said Kevin Dougherty, a sociologist at Baylor University and one of the study’s co-authors. One reason may be that Black churches are typically smaller and poorer, with fewer programming options.”
“These spaces can actually create a good deal of pain for people of color,” said Korie Little Edwards, a sociologist at Ohio State University who wrote “The Elusive Dream: The Power of Race in Interracial Churches.”
Study: Multiracial churches are growing, but racial unity may be elusive
By Yonat Shimron November 13, 2020
In reality, [the most segregated hour of the week remains 11:00 AM on Sunday morning.] as stated by the late Dr. Martin Luther King over a half-century ago.
Ultimately the American church is a reflection of or, in some cases, an opaque for society in general. Often spiritual values are discarded for political or structural determinations. White Hegemony underpins the pain experienced by African Americans involved in white-majority churches. It either explicitly or implicitly impedes African Americans and other people of color from ever entering the power dynamics as equals in society.
“The concept of white hegemony, the dominance associated with whiteness as a racial category in the United States. It is a dominance rooted in social institutions and cultural practices, yet largely invisible to those benefiting from it.” Korie Little Edwards,
Bridge Building is a multifaceted endeavor that involves all sides of the cultural divide to engage. Fearmongering terms such as socialism creep into the conversation when one speaks of racial equity. In contrast, the whole concept of every person for themselves is unbiblical and reinforces tribalism and, therefore, segregation. The segregation is magnified when the tribe can be identified by skin color.
Racial Segregation is killing America.
“The world’s richest economy scores dismally no matter which health care measures we examine. One reason the U.S. ranks so poorly globally is that health outcomes for certain racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups fare so poorly domestically. African-Americans, Latinos and the economically disadvantaged experience poorer health care access and lower quality of care than white Americans. And in most measures, that gap is growing.”
Racial Segregation’s Bridge to Nowhere is not a great epitaph for such aspiration.
“Let us build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Rather than borders, let us look at distant horizons together in a spirit of acceptance, helpfulness, cooperation, peace, kindness and especially love.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
By Kevin Robinson Founder/Editor, Publisher of Three-Fifths Magazine