Beyond electoral politics: A responses to Commonweal Magazine’s editorial, “After Charlottesville”

by Adrienne Alexander

As a Black (U.S.) Catholic, it was disappointing to read the “After Charlottesville” editorial which managed to repudiate President Trump’s response, while producing a similarly dissatisfying reaction.

For one, Charlottesville is in no way an anomaly: it is a continuation of racial animus and violence that America has never confronted. Being a nation of laws didn’t stop thousands of Black people from being lynched, for example.

It is important to acknowledge that Charlottesville occurred in a context where White identity is growing stronger, along with the feeling that White people are being discriminated against and losing out on jobs to minorities. This cannot be ignored. It is exactly what propelled Donald Trump to the White House. Ignoring this reality and simply placing hope in elections falls short.

As a Christian, I believe strongly in the powerful combination of faith and works. As someone who works in politics, I believe strongly in the power of organizing. And as a Black person, I know that the hard and tedious work of confronting racism is incumbent on White people.

I would feel much safer if White allies acknowledged America often falls short of the ideals they espouse, and began standing up to racism wherever it occurs. Only then will we make progress on racial injustice in this country.

Adrienne Alexander is a union lobbyist in Chicago, IL. She is a former member of the National Council of Pax Christi USA. You can follow her on Twitter @DriXander.

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